A daycare and preschool center in Bakersfield, California has recently initiated a new scheduling model which will expand their current hours of 6am – 6pm, to 24 hours, 7 days a week. The bold, expanded hours was implemented to meet the needs of swing shift workers and parents looking for sitters on weekends. The daycare center, Lil’ Explorers Preschool Academy, puts a large emphasis on academics and socializing. According to their website, they keep baby chicks, invite celebrity sports players to their center and have a mega birthday party once a month complete with a bounce house. The center cares for children 6 weeks – 6 years.
The facility’s administrator, Dawn Holleman, told KERO 23 News that one of the center’s owners went to medical school and found it nearly impossible to line up care for her children, “When she was in medical school, because the shifts are so long, she would have to provide care with two or three people for a 12-hour period.”
Lil’ Explorers isn’t the first daycare center to hop on the all night bandwagon though. Daycare centers around the country are starting to follow suit. Sunny Skies Preschool in Brooklyn, New York is expanding their care service to stay open on holidays. With more and more retailers being open on Thanksgiving and Christmas and Internet companies providing 24/7 service, the demand for extended child care continues to increase.
One New York mother who works as a cook told the NY Times, “No one works Monday through Friday, 9 to 6 anymore. No one.”
The Times also reports that around 40 percent of American workers currently work odd hours including evenings, nights, early mornings and weekends.
According to Roger Neugebauer,, the publisher of Exchange Magazine, a childcare trade magazine, the 24/7 daycare offering is the wave of the future. He attributes the need to the changing economy.
Other factors may also include the increase in single family households.