ST. CLAIRSVILLE The upcoming school year isn't the only new being embraced by the staff at Valley Christian Childcare Center in St. Clairsville.
During a recent open house celebrating the facility's one-year anniversary, Jessica Harr was formerly introduced to visitors at VCCC's new administrator, Jessica Harr.
Harr, who started as the afternoon program coordinator at the center's inception, is tasked with implementing VCCC's new curriculum and making sure the facility and its staff maintain the rigors necessitated by being labeled as a Step Up to Quality facility.
T-L Photo/MIKE HUGHES
Front row, from left, are: Elizabeth Scuerman, Maggie Cox, Emily Mellinger, Kayla Lanthorn and Lindsey Bowman. Back row, from left, are: Holly Miller, Luenda Lallathin, Jessica Smith, Ann McFarland, Heather High and Jessica Harr.
Step up to Quality is a rating system for the State of Ohio for early care and education programs. Facilities can be either a 1, 2 or 3-star program.
Valley Christian Childcare Center is currently a 1-star program, but Harr hopes the facility will gain 2-star status here soon.
"We are going places and have a bright future ahead of us," Harr added.
To qualify at any level, a facility must adhere to guidelines regulating everything from lower student-to-teacher ratios, extra training for its teaching staff, a more comprehensive early education experience and a focus on continuous improvement. It also takes into account the staff itself, necessitating that staff members be provided benefits.
Schools in Ohio will be required by state law to participate in Step Up to Quality by July 1, 2018 but VCCC is trying to stay ahead of the curve.
Its curriculum for students is a two-pronged approach, incorporating both the Creative Curriculum and he faith-based Abeka curriculum.
"There are some things that the Creative Curriculum leaves out and that is the spiritual side of education," said Rezin Howes, who is co-owner of the facility along with his wife Christi. "And that is what sets us apart from other programs."
The facility's hours is another aspect that sets it a part.
VCCC's open early, stay late approach provides greater flexibility for working parents utilizing its day care services. VCCC is open from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m. It also offers full and part-time rates, as well as a drop-in rate for those unplanned moments.
VCCC is also a participant in the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), which makes it easier for the facility to provide healthy meals for its students.
Howes also touted the ongoing work to VCCC's unique playground.
Utilizing a grass surface instead of asphalt or mulch, the grounds will feature a miniature St. Clairsville, complete with scaled versions of various buildings, like the court house, a grocery store, Lowe's, etc.
Each house will have themed play that will allow the kids to learn and investigate various aspects of life.
Howe's also wanted to remind the public that military personnel and veterans, along with police, fire and EMS workers receive a 10 percent discount to all services provided by VCCC.
For more information, visit VCC online at www.valleyccc.com or call (740) 699-0411.
Hughes may be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org