Grants, scholarships help daycare providers
By animatedly reading storybooks or bouncing toddlers on her lap, local day care provider Linda Chancellor doesn't just babysit she teaches, a philosophy she said was growing in the day care community.
Whether she has the children singing or playing games, Chancellor said she tried to have her charges engage in educational activities.
"I think a lot of people shy away from it," said Chancellor, whose center is called Kreative Kids.
Undergoing accreditation as a Child Development Associate from the National Association of Family Child Care and attending classes at Kansas City Kansas Community College to earn her early childhood development degree led Chancellor to rethink her strategy.
"Before college, we learned to write our ABCs," she said of the center's activities. "Our instructors told us kids learn through play."
Chancellor said she got rid of play toys and stocked up educational toys. She posted the children's phone numbers and addresses on the refrigerator and created games to help the children memorize them.
"There are so many ways kids can learn through play," she said "I think they have learned so much more since we play. They're much happier."
Most of what the children learn, she said, was social, language, mass motor and fine motor skills.
Even Chancellor's youngest charges get special educational attention.
"With infants it's important to stimulate them," she said. "You hold them and talk to them."
With a toddler on her lap, Chancellor demonstrated how she bounced younger children on her lap when she talked and played with them.
Her philosophy to educate children in day care and the ideas of how to do it stem from college courses, community classes and accreditation that have come with the help of grants and scholarships available to day care providers.
Chancellor said she wished more providers knew about and took advantage of the opportunities.
"I just wish they would get an education when it's out there, free," she said.
The Douglas County Child Development Association in cooperation with Success by Six offers scholarships ranging from $325 to $600 to help providers complete the CDA program. The Kansas Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies, which oversees DCCDA, also offers scholarships for people working in child care on the basis of need and commitment to early childhood care.
The CDA program required Chancellor to accomplish a number of tasks, including 480 hours spent working with children during the past five years, 120 hours spent in child care education classes, and observation in her center.
She also had to create a file of resources, ranging from first aid certification to information about spotting child abuse. Parents of children at her center had to fill out questionnaires as well.
Donna Masoner, director for the DCCDA, said Chancellor was one of three child care providers in Douglas County to attain CDA accreditation. She also said Chancellor and one of the two CDA-accredited providers were getting started on a mentoring program for other providers interested in the program getting accreditation.
"It's really nice for providers because they can hear from someone who went through the process," Masoner said "It can be really encouraging."
The DCCDA will have a meeting for those interested in learning more about CDA accreditation at 7 p.m. Thursday at DCCDA, 2331 Alabama, Suite 101. Call 842-9679 for more information.
The DCCDA also offers classes with $5 to $10 fees covering topics like health, safety and child development, Masoner said.
"Most of the classes we offer are things people do because they choose to do it," she said. "Most providers are really interested, and they want to keep current, and so almost all of them take different classes throughout the year to keep up with the latest information."
Attending classes and getting accreditation was something Chancellor wanted to do, and she hopes other daycare providers aim to do the same.
"It was just a goal I had," she said.