Our Prototyping Journey
How we are testing our idea
Danbury is testing ways to make home-based childcare safer and more affordable by offering development screenings and opening a commissary kitchen to prepare bulk meals for childcare providers. The city is discussing the idea and possible incentives with potential daycare providers.
"This grant will enable the City of Danbury and the United Way to partner with entrepreneurial and driven residents looking to start a business and make themselves self-sustainable. The benefit of this program is not only lifting families up, but also helping children gain access to affordable and quality childcare." Mayor Mark D. Boughton, Danbury Patch
What we're discovering through testing
The Danbury team initially believed that the quality of home-based daycare providers could be improved by giving them access to health services and the convenience of meal delivery services for the children. Since interviewing the majority of Danbury’s home-based providers, they’ve learned that the most valuable support they can provide to incentivize providers is help to recruit new families and better training/development opportunities for staff.
It’s really exciting to see all these providers in one room and hear their stories. I wasn't expecting them to be so open and engaged!Megan Chrysler, United Way of Western Connecticut
The team hosted a community forum with local parents where they captured qualitative data about what parents think “quality care” means for their children. During this test they discovered gaps in parents’ knowledge - parents know what quality looks like, but were less familiar with the long-term benefits.
What we've learned
At the beginning of this process, the team thought the project would be programmatic - that they would build daycare centers and help with the startup costs. However, the testing phase has taught them that it's more important to foster relationships with providers and partners. The team's NGO partnership has been crucial to its success, by helping to build trust with the largely immigrant community. This has allowed them give residents a role in co-creating solutions.
What we’ve learned is that it’s going to be okay from now on, when we have an idea, to start small and change and grow.Stephen Nocera, Director of Project Excellence