The Delta Health Alliance

Quality Childcare Initiative Staff Recognition

Posted on: June 29, 2019

Tara Nelson’s love of children drove her to excellence.

“It’s seeing their eyes light up when they learn something new,” said Tara, a childcare instructor at Mother Goose Learning Center. “I have a love for children and that’s what caused me to do it.”

What Tara and 20 other area childcare instructors have done is complete the certification process to become Child Development Associates through the Council for Professional Recognition. Sponsored by the Delta Health Alliance (DHA) and its Deer Creek Promise Community, the group now joins more than 425,000 teachers, assistant teachers, family childcare providers and home visitors who work with infants, toddlers, preschoolers and families.

The 21 newly certified associates completed an eight-week, 120-hour course to receive the certification, said Liz Freeman, a DHA program manager. The group was recognized for its efforts at a recent ceremony at Leland High School.

“This is an important step in their professional development,” said Freeman. “And, of course, it means that the children in their care are receiving the best instruction at a critical period of their lives.”

DHA has a history of ensuring that childcare in the Delta is the best it can be. Through DHA’s Sunflower Childcare Coalition and Early Head Start Childcare Partnership, learning centers receive the support they need to make the most profound impact on the students in their care.

In the Delta, where childcare services have historically lagged, DHA and the childcare partnership work with local partners such as community leaders and state agencies to help private childcare facilities support full-day, full-year quality early learning services. Training sessions help augment the work of the childcare facilities. Teaching learning skills to better interact with children in a positive way is a vital component.

Child care centers are vital to the economic success of their respective communities because they support parental employment and contribute to the long-term educational success of the children who attend the centers. Services include:

  • Establishing childcare centers across Sunflower County that meet Early Head Start facility requirements;
  • Providing technical support, training and education supplies for childcare centers to meet Early Head Start facility requirements;
  • Providing business development support to childcare owners, and
  • Coordinating health and nutritional services for childcare centers including vision, oral and mental health screenings with local providers.

The 21 newly certified Child Development Associates are:

  • Care Bears Child Development Center– LaKeaver Thomas, LaKeara Flowers, Shonda Williams, Chimmeer Flowers, Keonna Wilson and LeKedda Johnson.
  • Lil’ Darling Learning Center– Sylvia Barber, Lisa McMillan, Kentarvia Wafford, Shanteria Overton and Cheryl Overton.
  • Mother Goose Learning Center– Tara Nelson, LaShunda Norals and Brianna Jackson.
  • Rainbow Learning Center– Pernada Jackson, Stephanie Jones and Donna Mobley.
  • Fun Shine Daycare Center– Linda Williams, LaShelle Palmer, JaQuanna Chillis and Jessica Terry

Said Tara: “This program taught me so much. We get to brag about the ceremony. I feel real special.”