A Family Child Care Program Going Strong for 20 Years and Counting!
For more than 20 years, Jennifer Parker has made her home a center of care and learning for toddlers and preschoolers in Seaford, Del. What’s the secret to her longevity?
“I have a love for children,” said Jennifer. “I nurture and make children feel positive about themselves. It’s a place for parents to feel comfortable about leaving their children, knowing they are cared for and are in a space that is play-oriented.”
Learning through play is the centerpiece of Jennifer’s teaching. “I try to think about the child’s mindset to anticipate how he or she will react to my teaching,” added Jennifer. “For example, if a child is playing with a doll and a friend brings her another one, I use this opportunity to teach a simple math skill – you had one doll and now you have another, what is one plus one?”
Jennifer talks about the evolution of her child care from being a program that was more of a “Mom” environment to one where nurturing and teaching are equal parts. “As I started attending trainings, conferences, and joining provider support groups, I found myself doing more activities and creating learning experiences,” said Jennifer. “Then I started including parents in the learning process.”
Jennifer has participated in Delaware Stars for seven years and credits Stars for her personal transformation which ultimately has impacted her program for the better.
“Stars helped improve me,” said Jennifer. “When I first started with Stars, I saw myself as quieter, kind of a ‘behind the scenes’ person. I was not sure if I was doing things the right way, but as I learned, I started to feel more comfortable with who I was as a person and as a teacher. Delaware Stars gave me the confidence to be the provider I am today.”
Today, Jennifer’s confidence is having an impact in the classroom and in the community. She does child assessments, implements a curriculum, and holds parent conferences. “I’ve learned how to teach effectively through my Stars experience while keeping my child care homelike,” said Jennifer.
Her Delaware Stars Technical Assistant, Lea Attarian, couldn’t agree more, “Miss Jennifer runs a loving and fun program. She is always reading and playing with the children. And during outside time, Miss Jennifer joins in the fun by participating in movement games with the children. She is a joy to have on my caseload.”