Child Care is Essential: Celebrating Provider Appreciation Day® May 7

April 13, 2021

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Celebrate child care professionals on May 7! Join Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA) in saying thank you to providers for taking care of our nation’s children. To say that being a child care provider this past year has been challenging would be an understatement. Providers were essential long before COVID-19, but the pandemic has underscored how essential child care is. Child care provides opportunities for families to go to work, children to learn, businesses to operate and the economy to grow. Child care providers are “opportunity makers.” Child care providers are brain-builders. They are among our nation’s unsung heroes!


“I think early childhood education providers are opportunity makers. . . . [E]arly childhood education providers make opportunities for all of us, not just children. By giving children these brain building experiences, they are opening opportunities for all of our futures.” Toni, Connect CCR&R, WV

History of National Provider Appreciation Day®

Over two decades ago, a group of volunteers in New Jersey decided to set aside a day to honor child care providers, teachers and other educators of young children who have dedicated their lives to caring for and educating young children. Since its inauguration in 1996, National Provider Appreciation Day® has been celebrated every year on the first Friday of May before Mother’s Day.



How do you plan to celebrate Provider Appreciation Day®? Join CCAoA in recognizing the important work of child care providers and say “thank you” to them for making a difference in children’s lives.

Check out the tips below for celebrating National Provider Appreciation Day. Also, pass along these ideas to families, community organizations and businesses so that we can all say thank you with one big voice!


Ideas for Families

  • Send a thank you card to share words of appreciation.
  • Get together with other families to give a special gift.
  • Submit a video testimonial thanking your provider.
  • Have children draw pictures to send to providers.
  • Buy a children’s book or something for the provider’s learning centers.
  • Give your provider a paid day off, a raise or a bonus.
  • Record a video of your child saying thank you to your child care provider.

Ideas for CCR&Rs and Early Childhood Organizations

  • Share messages of appreciation on social media to child care providers.
  • Use #ThankYouChildCare to post on social media.
  • Share a certificate of appreciation.
  • Share self-care ideas.
  • Organize a contest/prize drawing for providers. Reach out to local businesses to donate gift cards and pampering gifts as prizes.
  • Ask government officials to sign a proclamation.
  • Send a press release to your local newspaper.
  • Create an agency “thank you” video with a message of appreciation for providers. Embed on agency website or share on social media

"My team and I created an awesome video thanking Providers for all of their amazing work!" Mayra, Child and Family Resources, Inc., Arizona

CCRR Arizon Provider Appreciation video

"Our executive director . . . sent out a thank you letter and a certificate of appreciation to providers and we made a video of her reading the letter and posted it on our website. . . . The early learning coalitions throughout Florida posted videos and different types of “thank you” notes or letters on their websites and on social media." Sunny, Florida’s Office of Early Learning, Florida

Ideas for Businesses

  • Provide a special hero discount or coupon
  • Offer a freebie or gift card
  • Hang a poster or sign on the window or door thanking providers
  • Create gift baskets
  • Share a “Thank You” through a letter, email or social media post
  • Donate supplies/groceries for a child care program or classroom
  • Donate pampering / self-care gifts
  • Honor providers as essential workers
  • Adopt / Sponsor a child care program

For more information and to download free resources, visit

Topics: Business Operations for CCR&Rs, Family & Community Engagement, Brain Building Tips

Kandi Novak

Written by Kandi Novak

Kandi Novak is the Technical Assistance Specialist for the Vroom Partnership initiative at Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA). Her work focuses on providing technical assistance and training to child care resource and referral agencies on integrating science-based resources and tools that promote early brain development into their outreach and services to families, child care programs, and community partners. Kandi brings experience in child care resource and referral, early childhood mental health, and early childhood education along with a BA in Psychology and a MA in Human Development and Family Studies.