Archived Story

Children’s Center earns second set of five stars

Published 10:36am Friday, August 2, 2013

FRANKLIN—Harper Beale, 3, had a pretty fun day.

She had played outside, in the sandbox and with the tadpoles. She had pretended to make lunch, read some books, and most importantly, hugged her teacher, Angela Gary, several times.

Harper Beale, 3, plays in the sandbox with Mrs. Angela Gary, her teacher. Beale was pretending to make "sand food." Meanwhile, Mason Futrell, 3, plays in the sandbox in the background. -- CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS
Harper Beale, 3, plays in the sandbox with Mrs. Angela Gary, her teacher. Beale was pretending to make “sand food.” Meanwhile, Mason Futrell, 3, plays in the sandbox in the background. — CAIN MADDEN | TIDEWATER NEWS

She wasn’t necessarily worried about all of the components that make The Children’s Center in Franklin a five-star facility, such as quality teachers, lack of overcrowded classrooms, furnishings or activities. No, she just knew that they were all there, and that Gary helped make her day better.

“There is no reason we cannot be the best,” said Gary, who has been with the program long enough to see children of former students come through. “We have all of the materials we need and are supported 100 percent.

“It is awesome that we have become five-star certified, though. It is not an easy thing to do.”

The Children’s Center received its second five-star rating from the Virginia Star Quality Initiative, this one at the Texie Camp Marks site in Franklin, and it now has two of the three five-star ratings in Virginia. Two weeks ago, it had received its first five-star rating for its Franklin Early Head Start Center.

The VSQI is aimed at accessing and improving quality in early childhood programs, and helping parents make more informed choices about childcare options.

The initiative rates based on several factors, including teaching qualifications, interactions, classroom size, furnishings, activities and how well the program helps the children get ready for school.

The Texie Camp Marks Center scored a total of 157 of 170 points, and earned 40 out of 40 in environment and instruction, which rates a child’s cognitive development.

“The Children’s Center has always been dedicated to providing quality care for the children we serve. We are committed to ensuring that our staff are trained and current with best practices in early childhood education,” said G. Lee Taylor, education manager for the Children’s Center. “The five-star rating that the Texie Camp Marks Children’s Center has just achieved confirms that we strive for excellence in early care and education.”

Ellen Couch, the director for Smart Beginnings, said the news of the five-star site was great.

“I think it is a wonderful achievement for the center,” Couch said. “We worked hard with the staff and mentors in developing a learning rich environment for the children.”

Harper wasn’t worried about that, or talking about the achievement — she wanted to play outside. To do that, she needed to find something that resembled a car windshield, so she could pretend to drive out there.

“It is fun,” the three-year-old said with a big smile.

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