When some think of small towns, they think the education is ‘small’ as well. Teresa Oliver, Executive Director of the Craig County Child Care Center (CCCCC), seems to continuously put that thought in the ‘do not accept’ file of her management vision for the school.
From babies to young kids, the CCCCC has proven itself time and time again, to push towards gaining every avenue of higher education and assistance for their students as well as their staff.
On October 31, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation (VECF) president, Kathy Glazer, along with Amy Hathaway, also with VECF, visited CCCCC and Greenvale in Roanoke. “We received a grant from them, and they wanted to visit to see the progress in the two mixed delivery classrooms,” Oliver shared. Greenvale received a Mixed Delivery Grant in 2016.
“I was so delighted to be able to tour Craig County Child Care Center and see first-hand how hard the Center and community partners are working together on behalf of children and families in Craig County,” Hathaway shared.
Mixed Delivery classrooms are fundings that are combined with different resources such as; Head Start, Department of Social Services subsidy, tuition and in some localities Virginia Preschool Initiative VPI funds. “Craig County does not receive VPI funding due to no matching funds available from our County,” Oliver explained.
“Earlier this year, the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation was pleased to award one of five Mixed-Delivery Preschool Grants to Total Action for Progress (TAP) to support innovative early childhood work happening in Craig County,” Hathaway explained. “Thanks to the strong community commitment to young children, Craig County is able to pilot a model of delivering high-quality public preschool services in private child care settings.” She added that the lessons from their work would be shared with other communities across the state.
J.D. Carlin, the Prevention Specialist of Prevention Services with Blue Ridge Behavioral Healthcare and a team member at CCCCC, shared that the Virginia Early Childhood Foundation grant has created a much-needed collaborative team between TAP and United Way, Craig Youth and Community Services and other local community organizations. “This team will not only assist the Child Care Center in providing leadership for implementing quality early childhood education but enhance the entire family or parent’s ability to gain economic self-sufficiency (employment), parenting skills and overall healthy lifestyle,” he added.
“The progress that the Craig County Child Care Center is making on serving our rural community is increasing,” Oliver said. “Since receiving the VECF grant, we have enrolled 17 children who will be served through the Head Start program and an additional five children whose tuition is either paid or subsidized through VECF funding.”
Oliver also shared that they sent teaching staff to additional curriculum training and they are assisting staff, who do not already have their Preschool CDA’s, in getting additional professional development.
“The VECF and Head Start has afforded my classroom and children new materials and equipment,” Christie Scott, a teacher at CCCCC shared. “Also, through this grant, we have gotten to further our education and received some great early childhood curriculum to help me meet the needs of the children in my class.”
Carlin shared that the Director of CCCCC, along with the Assistant Director and teachers are being provided with a great deal of support and resources, but they also have a great deal of responsibility in measuring outcomes and collecting data in order to track the successful implementation of the proposed innovations.
Oliver’s vision which her staff supports is easily seen through her comment; “This grant is affording Craig County’s youngest citizens the opportunity to have a successful school career.”