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1. Do you accept childcare assistance through the state such as DHS? (Dai-Lee) Yes we do because of the area were located in and being associated with CPS many of our students go through assistance programs. (Stewart) Yes we do, if our families qualify for childcare assistance we are more than happy to serve them. They are required to swipe their assistance card daily and if they have a copay it is due on the first business day of every month. (Dunlap) Yes, in addition to traditional payment methods I also accept assistance through CCRR - (child care resources and referral) through the state of Illinois. I also work with families as much as possible offering payment plans from time to time.

2. References Dan-Lee, Charlene, Haines School District Childcare Provider. Dunlap, Kara, In-home Childcare Provider, Kankakee County, Il., Stewart, Tammy Director, Kids R Us of Tecumseh, Oklahoma.

3. How does licensing impact your choices of curriculum and materials? (Dai-Lee) Because of the program we are in, we have curriculum and programs we must follow but there are different levels of things we must follow. The core lessons must be taught and tested on with the provided material but how we provide supplemental activities and lessons is up to us. We can follow the curriculum or create our own, but because the program also requires we teach a certain amount of things in the given so time management is a huge thing to consider when it comes to our choice of curriculum. (Stewart) We are a 3 star, Nationally Accredited Center, we must teach an approved curriculum, however we are not allowed to buy manufactured art projects or coloring sheets. Free Art and Creative art is encouraged, as well as explorative learning. (Dunlap) i worked as an assistant and then lead teacher at a childcare center for about 5 years and so I like to stay as close to those curriculum standards if possible. I like to think of my in-home center as being no different than traditional one and therefore should uphold the same standards. I also find a lot of things online and try to implement Montessori and Waldorf learning as much as I can. I'm also a firm believer in play-based learning.

4. What are the education requirements of your staff? (Dai-Lee) There is a lead teacher in every room who is certified in first aid as well as CPR. The lead teacher must be licensed by the state as well. There are also assistants on a rotating schedule throughout the day that must undergo a background check but no level of education past a high school degree is required. (Stewart) There is a master or lead in every room. All lead and master teachers must have their CDA, Certification of Mastery, or an associates degree or higher. All staff must complete so many training hours per year, including First Aid and CPR. (Dunlap) Here there is myself and my assistant. After passing a background check we were required to complete so many hours of Illinois DHS approved training as well as being CPR and First Aid Certified. We both have a degree in Education, however that is not required.

5. What populations do you serve? (Dai-Lee) We are located in Chinatown in Chicago so our population consists of primarily different Asian ethnicity and we serve a primarily low income community. (Stewart) We are located in a small rural town in Oklahoma. Most of our families are low income, working families. We also serve many foster and adoptive families at our center. (Dunlap) We live in a pretty rural area roughly an hour south of Chicago, however our city and the surrounding cities are very much diverse. I serve and have served children and families from all different backgrounds and currently am serving two families with children who would be classified as "special population."

6. How did you choose the setting for your center, home or classroom? (Dai-Lee) Because we are located in the heart of Chinatown but there was no school primarily for these children, the founders thought it important to create a school that served the main population here, blending the city ideals and culture with the culture of old Chinatown. By being so close as well to the center of the city students are also able to be taught by those who came from their own culture, seeing bits of themselves in their community. (Stewart) Our Classrooms are divided by age and every room has a theme. All classrooms have a half door so they can be viewed by parents any time they enter the center. We want our families to feel comfortable and confident when leaving their children in our care. While in our care we want our children to enjoy a fun, loving, yet educational environment. (Dunlap) It was an easy choice really. I left my position at the day care center because I saw a need for alternative, quality childcare in the area. I had the passion and desire as well as the space in my home to create an in-home child care center. It chose me really!

7. Are there any obstacles in the kind of settings you have found yourself in? (Dai-Lee) The diversity, while rewarding, more so than challenging, show up as cultural barriers especially because we have such a large amount of students and families that are just coming from different countries. In terms of both customs and language it is an adjustment period for all. (Stewart) No not really, our main goal is to ensure the kids are in a safe and educational environment. (Dunlap) The only obstacles or challenges I can say would be wanting to enroll more children but having to turn families away and put them on waiting lists due to the regulations on space and staffing. The other obstacles would be that I have grown to love and care for each of my families however, at the end of the year I will be closing my day care due to having to relocate for my husbands new position at work. I will then go through the steps to hopefully open another one in Florida.

8. What are the benefits of having a diverse setting when choosing the populations of your school? (Dai-Lee): When children explore diversity and different cultures, races, religions at an early age, they are more accepting of the changing world around them. (Dunlap) I see diversity every time I walk in a school or store or any other public place. I like my kids and families to feel comfortable in my home setting which is why the space is set up in a way that provides, the children to be reminded of their cultural and diverse differences in the form of pictures, play, art materials and more. I live in a diverse community, I served a diverse population and my curriculum and materials and learning space supports that.

9. What sort of assistance do you provide parent who are more prone to struggling, such as single parents? (Dai-Lee) We provide all of our parents with assistance through the payment program as well as information. Personally, I keep a close relationship and have lots of discussions with parents to help them navigate the child care world from their perspective. (Stewart) We accept childcare assistance through the state, we also offer information on helpful resources for families.

10. How do you ensure a fair cost with a good quality, as well as satisfaction with the two in your community? (Stewart) The state agency sets our enrollment fees, so they should be the same as all other state licensed, 3 star facilities. Our goal is provide our community with quality childcare that they can trust.

11. What kind of payment options does your provider offer in order to help the populations? (Stewart) We accept childcare subsidy payments through DHS, all copays are due at the beginning of the month. Private pay parents can choose to have their childcare paid for monthly, bi-weekly or weekly. We try to work with all of our parents on a payment schedule that fits their needs.