A local child care center and two child care professionals were honored Monday night by the Richmond County Partnership for Children at the 11th annual Child Care Professional Appreciation Banquet.
Romper Room Daycare was named Child Care Center of the Year; Katie Fox of Margie’s Treasure Chest was named Outstanding Teacher, and Nancy Shaw of Kidz Konstruction received the Kathy Alexander Positive Attitude Award.
Romper Room was nominated by Kelly Maree, who has two children attending the center.
“At home, (my daughter) talks about her teachers and experiences at daycare constantly,” Maree said. “She comes home with something new everyday. I believe that from her experiences at Romper Room, she will be more than prepared when she starts kindergarten this year.
“As a parent, it means a lot to be able to go to work and leave your children with someone who will take care of them just as you would yourself,” she added in her nomination.
In nominating Nancy Shaw for the Positive Attitude Award, Vickie Easterling said, “Ms. Nancy is one of the most friendly people you could meet.” Although Shaw had illness and a death in her family recently, “she forgets about herself to care for others … . She is a strong person with a positive attitude.”
Owner Margie Jackson nominated teacher Katie Fox for the Outstanding Teacher award.
“There have been people come and go through the years, but Katie was always there no matter what was going on,” Jackson said. “Katie Fox is truly loved by the children and the parents.
“We know that Katie has potty trained over 300 children who have passed through her class,” Jackson said. She has taught ABCs and 123s, as well as other developmental skills, then waved goodbye as the children moved up to preschool classes. “For days, on break, she walked over (to the older classrooms) to be sure they were OK and happy.”
More than 140 teachers attended the annual banquet, which also recognizes teachers who advanced their child care education as well as child care facilities that raised their star ratings in the last year.
“Child care in Richmond County is quality child care, and the increased star ratings of the child care facilities and the increased education levels of the teachers prove it,” said Martha Vance Brown, executive director of the Partnership. North Carolina uses a five star rating program to evaluate facilities on program standards and staff education.
Four Richmond County child care facilities increased their state ratings during the last year. Kidz Konstruction went from three stars to four stars, Kidz First went from four stars to five stars, Pride and Joy went from three to four stars and Washington Street Pre-K received a four-star license.
“We’re proud that our facilities are dedicated to providing the best care to children whose parents cannot be at home during the day,” Vance Brown said. “These facilities and their teachers provide loving care to our children so that parents can work outside the home. Parents have to be comfortable with the people who are giving daily care to their children – who are, in essence, substituting for them during the day so they can work.”
Five teachers were honored for educational achievements during the last year.
“We encourage teachers to further their education, to improve the quality of teaching in Richmond County child care centers and homes,” said Michell Kocan, administrator of Child Care Avenues, a program of Richmond County Partnership for Children. “But going to school while working full-time is very difficult, and we want to salute our teachers’ efforts to gain higher education and a better understanding of children’s needs.”
Earning associates degrees in applied science early childhood education were Monica Terry (Romper Room), Latoya Brewington (Kid’s World) and Sheena Knight (Little Kingdom).
Achieving the North Carolina Early Childhood Credential were Britany Birdsong and Ashley Smith, both from Little Kingdom.
Richmond County Partnership for Children is a non-profit organization that distributes legislature-allocated funds in Richmond County. The Partnership collaborates with local agencies to fund and promote programs that enhance the health, education and quality of life for children birth to age 5 and their families. For more information on the Partnership, call 910-997-3773.