The Ministry of Caring Child Care services have a lot to celebrate. In the last year or so, all three child care centers have received a Star Level 5 designation. "Il Bambino" led the charge in June of 2017 followed by "Guardian Angel" in July of the same year and then the "Child Care Center" this past May.
"It's been a group effort," said Patti Lynch, curriculum coordinator for Ministry of Caring. "As a part of Stars, we collectively use the best strategies and then practically implement them in each of our centers."
Each center, located in the inner city neighborhoods of Wilmington, provides quality education, nutritious meals, snacks, and a stable environment to the homeless and working poor.
The facilities are designed and equipped exclusively for children of a specific age range with "Il Bambino" serving the infant population; "Guardian Angel" accepting the toddler through kindergarten ages; and the "Child Care Center" accepting the entire age range, from infants through kindergarten.
Although most of the children served are from less fortunate backgrounds, their days are spent in an environment that is rich in resources. Each facility is brightly designed with lively places of learning and great outdoor space. Perhaps the greatest resource are the people that both work and volunteer at the centers.
"We try to provide our staff a day full of empowerment," said Paulette Annane, director of the "Child Care Center." "Stars has introduced our teachers to wonderful tools to teach more effectively."
In addition to the dedicated staff, volunteers from places such as "Read Aloud" and the Wilmington Senior Center support the children through hands-on activities, exposing them to various crafts and stories.
The centers thrive because of these kind of partnerships. Another example is "The Secret Garden" managed by the Delaware Center for Horticulture. This outdoor space is used to grow flowers and vegetables. Volunteers come in weekly and work with the children in the garden, teaching them about environment and sustainability.
Centers include a campsite for dramatic play.