Since she joined the child care profession in 1980, Tammy Wachter has cared for more than 500 children, ages 6 weeks to 10 years, in four states. That’s a lot of snuggles, scraped knees and story times.
“I really love watching children reach their full potential and become the marvelous little people they are destined to be,” Tammy said. “In order for this to happen, I take my supporting role with their families very seriously. Children must be supported and nurtured by every important adult in their life.”
For the past 27 years, Tammy’s family has resided in the close-knit community of Spicer, where she owns and operates Kidsville Family Child Care. Tammy chose this path because she saw a need for more child care providers, and it has become her calling in life.
Tammy’s love for kids is equal to her commitment to quality care and professionalism. She owns TKW Consulting and provides early care training to more than 1,000 people each year at conferences and workshops. She also does personal training, conference planning, educational consulting and peer networking with and for child care providers.
“The right kind of child care can be a wonderful opportunity to enrich children’s lives and help them realize their full potential,” Tammy said. “I feel so strongly about this that I am now trying to be an influence on the lives of many more children by providing support and education opportunities to other early care providers and by trying to improve the public image and community support for our profession.”
At Kidsville Family Child Care, kids benefit from Tammy’s drive to give them the best. Currently, she is finishing an associate degree in early childhood development at Rasmussen College. She also holds nearly a dozen certifications and designations for quality and proficiency in the child care field, including a 4-Star Parent Aware rating, which shows Kidsville is using best practices to prepare children for kindergarten.
Children in Tammy’s care follow a preschool program with daily activities connected to The Creative Curriculum, a comprehensive, research-based resource that helps teachers and caregivers to be their most effective, while still honoring their creativity and respecting their critical role in making learning exciting and relevant for every child. Tammy is also sure to give out lots of hugs and attention. Her kind nature means many of her charges have a special spot in their hearts for her. She’s been invited to their dance recitals, sporting events, confirmations, graduations — even a few weddings.
Alongside the highs of child care, there are many things that make the profession challenging at times: “The isolation can be hard,” Tammy said. “A family child care professional is usually providing care by themselves and spends most of their time talking to small people with limited interactions with adults. I make sure when I train these wonderful individuals that I encourage them to reach out in their communities and enjoy the company of other adults, especially those in this profession.”
But in Tammy’s opinion, the biggest hurdle facing the family child care professional is the public’s general lack of knowledge and support for this important and valuable occupation. She talks about its value every chance she gets. To her, child care is one of the best jobs there is.
“My plan is to continue in this profession as long as I am able, and give every child who walks through my door and becomes part of my program — as well as my heart — my commitment and support so they may succeed to the best of their ability,” Tammy said. “Childhood is the most important time of life. Every child deserves the best.”
Tammy was one of nearly 400 providers we celebrated on National Child Care Provider Appreciation Day May 11 as part of Southwest Initiative Foundation’s work in support of rural child care solutions. Find out more about the celebration.