5 Stars! That’s what we are at our Park Road Baptist Child Development Center. Again!

But it is no easy feat.

All Centers are assessed on two components: Education and Environment. We currently have 10 teachers with degrees in Early Childhood Education and 3 more working on their degrees. The environmental rating assesses teacher/child interactions, the provision of age appropriate materials, adequate classroom space, safe playgrounds, developmentally appropriate daily schedules for all ages and parent/teacher relationships.

Being in an old building does cost us some points but gives us the luxury of large classrooms for preschoolers and lots of character! And we got bonus points for maintaining low teacher/child ratios (lower than state recommendations)! When all of this is added together and implemented and evaluated, there is a star system used by the accreditation agency to score each childcare facility. And our Center just received the coveted 5 Stars. Again.

But here’s what I’m even more proud of – beyond what any “star” system can review and rate: the fact that 122 children ranging in age from 3 months to 10 years old (which is the maximum capacity that our license allows) enter our doors each morning and are loved and kept safe. They laugh and they play and they learn.

They explore and they grow and they develop while their parents are at work, and this time is important as they go through these developmental years to prepare for the beginning of a school career. But mostly, the children are loved. And that is hard to measure on any rating scale.

And so a huge THANK YOU goes out to all 27 of our employees – teachers, assistants, cooks and bottle washers who have worked so hard to achieve such a wonderful rating. I am grateful for their due diligence and their hard work and for their attention to detail and for all of the extra work that goes into preparing for this once- every-three-year accreditation milestone.

A couple of weeks ago, I met with a group of potential CDC families while they were taking a tour of our facility. A couple of days prior to this tour, I had just dropped off my first-born in his college dorm room. And, yes, I used the proverbial phrase that it seemed like just yesterday that I dropped him off as a four year old at our Child Development Center and left him in the hands of teachers and staff who would help us to Raise him Right.

And do you know that all these years later, many of those same teachers he had are still teaching, loving and keeping safe the children who enter our doors each and every day! THAT realization is a testament to the goodness of our CDC. In an industry where the employee turnover rate is high, to have loving, dedicated teachers working here for so long should speak volumes.

We will take those 5 Stars and celebrate! But the number of stars will never fully show what it takes to care for children. That takes love and can only truly be measured by the heart. Our CDC has heart, and as a parent and a pastor, for that I am grateful.