In Pursuit of Quality – A Job Never Done
Setting goals for continuous quality improvement for the best outcomes for children is the rallying cry for staff at Delaware Tech’s Georgetown Campus Child Development Center.
“We are never done with our goals,” said Christiana Roberts, the center’s director. “We are always interested in learning about the best research-based practices because our kids deserve it.”
More than 90 children benefit from Christiana and her team’s steadfast commitment to quality. The site includes six classrooms serving infants, toddlers, and preschool ages. The students are family members of the college’s faculty and staff in addition to children from the surrounding community, including students funded through ECAP.
The center also serves as a lab school for students studying early childhood education. “Our teachers serve as mentors to the students, often our teachers are graduates of the program,” said Sonya Magana, curriculum coordinator. “Because of our affiliation with the college we share teaching methods – all which align with Stars.”
The Delaware Tech Georgetown Campus Child Development Center has participated in Delaware Stars since 2012 and achieved a Star Level 5 in 2014. “They are a model Star Level 5 program,” said Alyssa Stein, Stars Technical Assistant. “They strive to be a Star Level 5 program every day.”
“A part of the way they are able to sustain quality is their willingness to embrace Stars services and recommendations,” added Alyssa. “They are very engaged and willing to talk through ideas.”
Case in point – teachers use Teaching Strategies Gold (TSG) effectively. “Effective use of TSG is not that a teacher has data at the checkpoint, but that the data (documentation) enables our teachers to plan the learning environment to meet each student’s needs,” said Christiana.
Christiana has also involved Stars Curriculum & Assessment Technical Assistance to ensure her staff has the support it needs to implement Creative Curriculum in a way that is meaningful for students and teachers alike.
“The activities included in this research-based curriculum are created around ideas that naturally interest children’s innate curiosity,” added Sonya. “Teachers find it meaningful because it provides a strong base of activities and ideas for lesson planning, but still allows opportunity to individualize to a class’s unique interests.”
Additionally, the center actively monitors Ages and Stages Questionnaire (ASQ) participation to make sure that all children who may be at risk for developmental issues are identified early and referred for support.
“We found that it was helpful to reach out to parents twice a year – in September and April – to make sure all of the kids get screened,” said Meghan Eudy, a teacher at Delaware Tech.
Clearly, the Delaware Tech team has its eyes on the details of learning; however, it hasn’t lost sight of the bigger picture. Take for example, the environment. Recently, they celebrated “Earth Day” and had Senator Tom Carper join them for an outdoor treasure hunt. “It’s better for a child to experience a tree rather than read about one,” added Christiana. “Learning about science and nature and appreciating our surroundings is a part of character development and we think about the whole child.”