“When I first started exploring the possibility of becoming an Early Achievers childcare center, I put the question to my staff: Do we want to take on all his extra work?” said Tabitha Vance, YWCA Director of Childcare.
She explained to her team that the accreditation process would mean having observers in classrooms for two hours or more, watching their every move. It would mean more training and reams of new record-keeping. And it meant striving to provide the very best experience for every child in the program.
“What makes me so proud of this staff is that they were behind the effort 100 percent. And they are determined to get to the next level!” At their first evaluation, Tabitha and her staff were thrilled to earn a three-star rating. The next evaluation will be this spring, and the staff hopes to maintain this level and eventually add a fourth star.
Early Achievers scores address three areas: child outcomes, curriculum and staff support, and family engagement. “We are really strong,” said Tabitha, “in engaging families. We have a great collection of brochures, games, books and DVDs for our parents that address a wide areas of needs.”
One of her favorite books to recommend is Ignore it! “It’s about knowing which behaviors are OK to ignore. Making an issue of annoying behavior can actually reinforce it. Sometimes it really is OK to look the other way!”
The center has also had great success with family parties and open house events. “Parents appreciate the chance to meet other parents and also to meet a favorite teacher they’ve heard about but haven’t met. We’ve had some good times!”