Ohio University

Student Success: Kaitlynn Kirkpatrick

Student Success: Kaitlynn Kirkpatrick

Kaitlynn “Kaity” Kirkpatrick, a junior Early Childhood Education major, has been working at the Francine C. Childs Early Learning Center in The Plains, Ohio, for almost three years.

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, Kirkpatrick’s workplace has been deemed an essential business, and she continues to work full time at the COVID-19 approved daycare center.

“Many parents rely on daycare, especially if their job is essential,” said Kirkpatrick. “We have police officers, medical personnel, and other important citizens that have to contribute to our society. Without daycare, they would be forced to stay home instead of helping our community.”

Governor Mike DeWine announced on Sunday, March 22, that all daycare centers looking after  the children of essential workers are allowed to operate under a “Temporary Pandemic Childcare License,” according to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. Approved establishments must follow precautionary mandates, like keeping a maximum of six children per room.

In recent months, Kirkpatrick has been working 11-hour days. She arrives around 7 a.m. to bleach and sanitize her classroom, and then makes sure the children wash and sanitize their hands after they arrive.

“After that,” said Kirkpatrick, “the kids are split up based on relation, in order to contain any spread of illness.”

She then proceeds with her normal schedule, which includes daily lesson plans and “lots of outside time” for the children. Her workday typically ends around 5:30 p.m.

“Adding online classes on top of long days can be challenging, but everything is worth it,” Kirkpatrick said. “I love knowing that in some way, I am impacting these children.”

In addition to her Early Childhood Education pursuits, the Ashville, Ohio, native joined the Air National Guard in 2018. She sees herself stationed full-time after she graduates in 2021.

“I'd love to go on a few deployments with the National Guard before I officially settle down with an education job. There are so many opportunities, and I want to take my time finding the right fit,” said Kirkpatrick.

Until then, she is focused on her studies, as well as making a difference for the children under her care at the Francine C. Childs Center.

“I have the chance to make school exciting,” Kirkpatrick said. “Although I am only a small part of their learning, I help build their foundation for the next few years. I love it!”