Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

January 17, 2013

Early Childhood Academy gets facelift

By Martha Phillips
Special to the Corsicana Daily Sun

Corsicana — On Sunday, The Early Childhood Academy of James L. Collins Catholic School held an Open House to celebrate new beginnings. ECA has a new program director, Brandi Robinson, who has earned her director’s license and her National Child Development Associate credentials. In addition to her years of experience, Robinson logged 120 hours of training to earn the CDA credits.

With new beginnings also came a new look for the Academy, with the addition of a new director’s office, strategically placed to have unobstructed views of the restrooms, entrance to the building and the classroom hallway. The office also has a TV monitor that receives both audio and visual input from cameras located in each classroom. Robinson hopes to soon make this available for parents to view online in real time. Another change to the facility was in the restroom, which was totally renovated to make it age appropriate for preschool children.

“Parents of children in the potty training stage are particularly impressed with this update,” Robinson said.

New flooring was added to hallways and classrooms, to make cleaning for infection control more effective.

While the academy underwent renovations, Robinson brought her team together for some “renovations” of their own. She took this opportunity to review the minimum standards for day care in the state of Texas and how to exceed them, and they reviewed policies and procedures as well. The team implemented updated procedures for sanitation and hygiene practices, to ensure their little ones stay healthy and parents don’t miss work. A professional daycare manager from Dallas joined Robinson and her team to brainstorm on best practices, which included classroom management and curriculum, classroom design and communication with parents through the use of progress notes. Robinson is considering a new curriculum to begin in June. The teachers are currently working to earn their CDA credentials.

“All of these new beginnings have refreshed the passion this team has for their profession and the youngsters in their care,” she said.

The next “new beginning” will be a $30,000 playground to extend the learning and developmental experience to the great outdoors. This playground promises to address the needs of the whole child. This carefully thought-out plan will facilitate development growth in all areas. Each play area specifically address a play skill that directly impacts academic growth. Gross motor skills, sensory, creative and dramatic play are encouraged by using water, sand, music and art. It will also have a trike trail, a climb and slide area and quiet area in the corner to be used as an outdoor classroom. Hopes are that this “new beginning” will be funded in time for it to be available after spring break.

The families of the children at Early Childhood Academy appreciate the love and care their children receive in this Christian learning environment.

 “We have peace of mind that each day, (our son) Shot is in a caring and loving environment and that staff at ECA treats Shot as if he’s a member of their own family,” said Ann Guthrie.  “ECA’s new renovations make the center very inviting, and the entire staff takes an active role in ensuring the needs of the kids are met.  ECA provides nutritious meals, balances learning with play, and actively communicates with us about Shot’s progress. We couldn’t imagine anyone else looking after our son, and strongly recommend the ECA as a home away from home for your children.”