Helping Kids Get Kindergarten Ready, One Child Care Provider at a Time

August 14, 2017


On a cold winter morning, Missy Harris walks into a room of preschoolers celebrating a birthday. She’s greeted by a multitude of hands covered with red icing reaching out for hugs. She gathers them up and laughs. “Welcome to a typical day for a child care provider,” she says.

As director of the Hickory Grove Daycare and Preschool in Independence, Ky., she makes it a point to visit the classrooms often—taking time to read the children a story, play a game or even celebrate a birthday, complete with cake and icing covered children!

“I’m here because I love children and I love families,” she says, “and I want to make an impact on their lives.”

Like many child care programs, Hickory Grove is focused on improving the quality of early education for kids so that every child in the program enters kindergarten ready to succeed in both school and life.

Missy adds she couldn’t do that without help, especially from 4C. In addition to attending early education training and workshops, Missy also completed 4C’s Developing Early Childhood Leaders (DECL) program, a 10-month program that offers in-depth professional development for child care professionals.

“If I didn’t have people at 4C to call, text and visit my center,” she says, “I don’t know that I would have been able to do the job I was asked to do.”

Her center is small and doesn’t have the financial resources to invest in training opportunities like DECL. “That’s why the scholarship that allowed me to tap into the DECL experience was a real game changer,” she says. Scholarship opportunities are made possible through the generosity of 4C supporters who are committed to improving the quality of child care.

4C’s programs are “life-changing” for child care providers. The ripple effect is that thousands of kids throughout our communities receive the care and education they need to enter kindergarten ready to succeed.

As the birthday party ends, Missy takes a seat and begins to read aloud to a circle of children. “This is what it’s all about,” she says.

Written for 4C for Children's 2016 Annual Report. Read the full report.