‘Star-studded’ childcare

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 24, 2003

AHOSKIE – Gathered together inside the two-story brick building that sits on the property of Ahoskie Methodist Church, child-care workers/teachers help to mold the future of tomorrow.

Ahoskie United Methodist Church Child Development Center better known as, &uot;Let the Little Children Come,&uot; began as a ministry to families in the community in January 2001, under the direction of Vicky Myers.

As a recent recipient of the Quality Enhancement Grant coupled with help from Hertford County Partnership for Children who provide Smart Start assistance to childcare facilities desiring to increase their level of care, Let the Little Children Come has achieved its goal of becoming a five-star establishment.

Childcare facilities are rated from one to five stars based on levels of program standards, education of the staff and compliance history. One star indicates the program has met the state’s minimum standards for childcare while two or more are awarded when the facility has voluntarily chosen to provide higher levels of qualities.

North Carolina Senator Robert Holloman took a tour of the facility and expressed his desire to see an increase in funding for similar facilities serving the upcoming generations and gave his endorsement of the childcare center saying, &uot;I am most impressed with what I’ve seen at this daycare today and with the efforts of Smart Start in enhancing local childcare facilities and I want to work towards more funding for programs like this. We must recognize the basic starts with daycare and securing a good foundation on which children can build their futures. This program helps in the shaping and molding of the minds of the future and gives children a jump start for more challenging school years.&uot;

As a Christian Child Development Center, the mission of the center is to minister to the child’s total needs by providing a nurturing and safe learning environment that is Biblically-based and Christ-centered.

The center operates on the philosophy that children learn better in an environment that fosters the growth of the whole child, socially, emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually. The children learn through hands-on experience and playful activities. They are also in compliance with USDA guidelines for providing well-balanced meals.

&uot;Providing healthy meals is just as important as providing children with a quality education,&uot; said Myers who explained that the curriculum incorporates everything from Bible lessons and stories, to fingerplays, music, creative art, science and math exploration and language enhancement activities. &uot;Children are encouraged to explore and interact with their environment,&uot; she said.

Myers continued, &uot;When children experiment with their surroundings they learn to question, reason and inevitably problem solve. The program is good because it allows children to play while benefiting from individualized as well as small group activities, which fosters communication and interactive skills.&uot;

Let the Little Children Come is a non-profit organization subsidized through the Department of Social Services, but also open to the public through a normal application process.

&uot;This is a day of celebration for us and being a recipient of the Quality Enhancement Grant helped us to reach our goal of becoming a five-star facility, but there is still more that could be done,&uot; stated Myers.

Myers commented that there were still children on the waiting list that would benefit from the center, but that funding remains a challenge.

&uot;We would love to be able to expand, but presently, we must do what we can with the resources we have,&uot; she said.

Myers stated that if additional funding were available, the center would plug the monies back into the program to help serve the growing needs of the surrounding community.

For more information about the center and its services or about Smart Start contact

Myers at 252-332-5152.