Today we’re spotlighting one of our many child care heroes supporting our communities. Tonya Muhammad is a local Los Angeles child care provider and the owner of Daycare Chronicles 101, which is the name of her consulting company, which can be found on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube Channel & Tik Tok page, that provides a daily chronicle of things that happen in daycare on a daily basis.
At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent “stay-at-home” order from the state, Mrs. Muhammad was faced with the difficult decision all child care providers had to make. Does she close her child care business due to COVID-19 or stay open and risk exposure?
“Child care has always been essential,” said Tonya Muhammad. “This wasn’t anything new. If I couldn’t provide for these parents, how could they go to work? If it weren’t for the child care providers supporting them, they wouldn’t be able to care for COVID patients.”
As the pandemic surged, quality protective equipment and cleaning supplies dwindled. Providers like Mrs. Muhammad had to be creative and resourceful in how they acquired supplies.
“It was really the community as a whole that helped get through those rough months. Grocery stores couldn’t stock their shelves fast enough to provide for us child care providers, and it’s really thanks to the local businesses that provided much of the PPE that we needed. We were buying toilet paper and cleaning supplies from our neighborhood liquor stores. I would have people sending me direct messages on my social media accounts letting me know which stores had certain supplies available. Community-based organizations, like Crystal Stairs, provided essential supply distributions weekly for providers. Everyone helped to keep providers afloat and care for the kids and families that needed our services.”
Access to high-quality child care has always been a key issue and value of Crystal Stairs, Inc. When kids are supported early in life, they are better prepared for future success. In the early weeks of the pandemic, many child care providers and early childhood organizations took an important step in declaring their commitment to stand with Black communities against systemic racism and police brutality in response to the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Tony McDade, and countless others.
“I remember a few days after George Floyd’s shooting, I was supposed to post a funny chronicle, and it just got to me. I told my followers, ‘Today I’m not publishing a chronicle.' As a black woman, it just made me take a step back. Seeing this kind of thing happen over and over again, and now the whole world was watching and finally understanding the injustice. For those of us who care for children, we need to address inequity and approach diversity and inclusion better.”
“It’s so important that child care providers take an active role in promoting equity, diversity, and inclusion. At my daycare, we celebrate our racial differences and cultures,” said Mrs. Muhammad. “The children at my daycare come from various beautiful backgrounds and cultures, and I make sure that we make a point to celebrate them and their cultures. We learn about one another, talking about our backgrounds, sharing food, stories, and songs so that we can love each other and our differences.”
Racial and cultural diversity are hallmarks of the Los Angeles region and the work Mrs. Muhammad and many other child care providers do is so important to the next generation. Mrs. Muhammad has many role models in her life that played a part in her approach to child care.
“One of the major figures in my life is my grandmother. She always encouraged me. When I was unsure of opening a daycare since there was one on almost every block, she told me ‘Go for it! Your daycare will be different!’ She inspired me and encouraged me no matter what.”
“I also have to say that my sister, Dr. Ayana J. Boyd King, is a source of inspiration. This intelligent, driven woman, who didn’t have the means to go to college, found a way to get into medical school and become a triple board-certified critical care pulmonologist. She knew she wanted to be a doctor at a young age and to see her achieve what she has and to have come from almost nothing, gosh....She is pretty much my daily inspiration. I have to thank her too because she’s the one who helped me keep my doors open. She helped me figure out and write my COVID-19 policy to keep my business open caring for children.
“Lastly, I’d be remiss if I didn’t include Michelle Obama as one of my role models and inspirations. To see how she handled those two terms as First Lady with President Obama, and to see what she’s done in her own career....She just stands alone. She has definitely been an inspiration for me.”
Crystal Stairs, Inc. is proud to promote and highlight the work of our child care providers and community advocates. In honor of Women’s History Month, we will continue to showcase the amazing work of incredible women of color. We applaud Tonya Muhammad for all she has done to keep our children safe and providing the highest levels of quality child care. She is one of many incredible child care providers in our network. We applaud all of our child care providers for all the sacrifices and challenges they faced last year, and we will continue to support the work you do on behalf of the families of South Los Angeles.
To learn more about Tonya Muhammad, visit her website at https://www.daycarechronicles101.com/services or on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Tonya-Muhammad/e/B082TNYVDL
You can also follow Tonya on Social Media at:
YouTube: Daycare Chronicles 101