Matthews nonprofit COSKids Child Development Center recently earned a five-star rating from the North Carolina Division of Child Development, part of the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services.
The state rates eligible day-care centers and issues them one to five stars based on staff development and program standards.
COSKids Executive Director Sue Sproat said the rating process is much more rigorous than it sounds.
“The licensing agency comes to the campus for three days and observes classes for hours,” Sproat said. “Not only do they observe the teaching, they take a detailed look at the facility, down to such things as how far the coat hooks are spaced apart. Another day, they go through all our paperwork, looking at teacher qualifications and other criteria.”
Sproat says it’s particularly challenging with an older campus, but the past few months of cleaning, revamping and repairing all areas of the center helped.
“We worked all over the campus,” Sproat said. “It all needed a little TLC. We replaced classroom materials, updated curriculum, provided extra training for teachers, painted, trimmed shrubbery and spruced up everywhere.”
She credits volunteers for the physical labor; otherwise, she said, achieving the five-star rating wouldn’t have been possible.
“Lots of church and community groups came in to help us,” Sproat said. “They really believe in what we are doing.”
The nonprofit serves a full spectrum of families but offers special outreach to single-parent families that otherwise could not afford quality child care. COSKids offers scholarships to those children based on household-income eligibility guidelines.
“For our scholarship families, we have a two-generational approach,” Sproat said. “In addition to the scholarships, we also want to make sure the parents have the tools they need to be successful. We offer a number of life-skills classes – budgeting, parenting, health and safety, and more – to help stabilize their households.”
COSKids recently phased out its half-day program to make more full-day slots available come fall.
The organization currently serves 88 children, age 6 weeks to 4 years, in its full-day program, and 40 children in the after-school program.
This fall, COSKids will have space for 120 in the full-day program.
Melinda Johnston is a freelance writer. Have a story idea for Melinda? Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Registration is underway for COSKids summer camp programs; for information about the programs or how to volunteer, visit www.COSKidsmatthews.org or call 704-845-4673.