Pam Dudding Contributing writer
Many changes and adjustments have been mandated in the last several months due to the COVID-19 virus.
Craig County schools have been intensely affected as well as the local childcare center.
Still, administration and teachers strive to provide the best schooling available for them all.
Teresa Oliver, Craig County Child Care Center’s (C5) Executive Director, said, “Even though Craig County is a very rural area with limited economic resources, that does not mean that our early learners must accept substandard educational services.”
Most families agree that choosing an early childhood program is one of the most important decisions they can make.
By voluntarily participating in Virginia Quality early learning programs, the C5 shows their staff, families and community that they are committed to quality for young children.
Their statistics show that, Quality Rating and Improvement Systems exist in most states across the country and are a proven strategy to systematically improve the quality of childcare and early learning programs. The quality rating set the standards for quality improvement.
There are five quality levels. The criteria define what the program will be assessed on, and the required activities define the quality improvement activities that will be available to help achieve the quality improvement required for moving to the next level.
There are four main factors that determine what makes a successful Virginia Quality site: child to staff ratios; teacher-child interactions; the learning environment; and staff education, qualifications, and training. These standards have been selected because of a thorough review of the research literature and best practices in other states.
- Basic Health & Safety – The program is in compliance with requirements of state and local regulatory agencies
- Education & Qualifications – The program recognizes the importance of having teachers who have or are working towards formal education in child development or early childhood education
- Curriculum & Assessment – The program works to use curriculum, child assessment, and intentional teaching that promotes children’s development and incorporates state early learning guidelines
- Environment – The program strives to have children engaged in meaningful learning and play by offering them a variety of materials and activities throughout the day
- Interactions – Daily, supportive interactions between teachers and children form the foundation for social and cognitive learning, significantly impacting school readiness
Virginia records show that there are currently 82 licensed childcare centers in the piedmont region that have voluntarily entered the Virginia Quality Rating process. Of those, 19 have received a level one, an additional 19 have also received a level two, 27 participants have received a level three, 15 have demonstrated the requirement to reach level four, and only two have accomplished the level five standard.
Oliver shared that the Craig County Child Care Center also participates in the Virginia Quality program.
She added, “The staff and facility at the Craig County Child Care Center (C5) have met all basic health and safety, educational and qualifications, curriculum and assessment, environment and interaction standards.”
Congratulations were due, as on December 28, 2020, the Craig County Child Care Center was awarded a level four performance quality rating.
“I am immensely proud of all the hard work that the staff has committed to achieving this level of quality educational services. C5 staff has gone above and beyond to reach this goal; they have gone back to school, taken online classes, done numerous trainings and accomplished many hours of certifications,” Oliver said. “Several are enrolled to further continue their education through a registered apprenticeship program.”
Oliver and the C5 also wished to recognize and thank those who have assisted them in this endeavor: TAP Early Head Start / Head Start, United Way of Roanoke Valley, and Craig County Youth & Community Services Board members for all their dedication and support they have given which has greatly helped the Craig County Child Care Center achieve this accomplishment.
“Now we can proudly say the children who attend the childcare center will be equipped with the tools needed to be successful learners and leaders,” Oliver added.
The Craig County Child Care Center is located at 100 Brooks Street in New Castle and can be reached at (540) 864-7700 for any additional questions.