SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC News) – Finding childcare in Central New York is a struggle for families because of the lack of childcare providers in the area. According to the Center for American Progress, majority of central New York is in a childcare desert because there are so many families that need caretakers for their children.
Jessica and AJ Hines struggled with finding childcare for their four children, which caused Jessica to quit working and become a stay-at-home mom.
“So, I have not always been in childcare. As a mother of four, we had to I did have to go back into the workforce. It made it extremely difficult with the lack of childcare options, even to find an in-home private sitter,” said Jessica.
To continue to make an income, Jessica decided to start her own childcare business out of her house, which eventually turned into the idea of opening their own daycare.
Before Jessica and AJ even opened Tic Tac Toes Daycare, they had an entire waitlist of people that wanted to sign their children up. Once they opened, their waitlist almost tripled because the need was so great in the community.
“We saw a huge need, especially after opening up our first one, when our waitlist literally replenished within the first week of opening,” said AJ.
On top of helping parents with childcare, they also focus on social emotional learning that allows the child to express their emotions and feelings during the day to the teachers there. This creates a safe space for the children to learn and grow with their classmates and teachers.
At Tic Tac Toes they also provide testing for special needs. The Hines’ oldest daughter has Autism, which has inspired them to care for every child, regardless of the amount of care they need. Since the children are there each day with the Tic Tac Toes staff, they can pick up on things such as delayed speech, that can be early signs of these special needs. This in care testing allows parents to not have to take extra time out of their week to go get their child tested.
Since there was such an immense need for childcare in the area, Jessica and AJ have decided that they are opening Tic Tac Toes Two this summer.