The Boca Grande Child Care Center continues to have a waiting list in its 26th year of operation.
Director Kimi Harms, who joined Boca Grande Child Care Center as a teacher in mid-December 2000 and was named director in 2004, said the early learning center succeeds because it continues to roll out new programs to prepare young children for continuing their education in kindergarten.
Harms' staff of four, includes:
Storyteller Evelyn Finnegan’s hand puppets hold the attention of the Boca Grande Child Care Center pre-school set on Valentine’s Day.
n Wendy Kelly, hired in September 2003, now assistant director and teaches the pre-K class;
n Holly Woods, hired in February 2008, in charge of the 1-year-old toddler class;
n Breon Daugherty, hired in April 2012, teaches the Early Learners (ages 2-3; and
The Boca Grande Child Care Center at a glance
Capacity: State-licensed for 30 children, ages 1 through 5 years old.
Demand: Is at full capacity with a waiting list.
You should know: Half the children are in diapers.
Open: 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays.
Expenses: $270,000 annually
Director: Kimi Harms
Address: 260 Park Ave., Boca Grande
Contact: (941) 964-2885
n Heidi Cahill, hired in 2009 to incorporate sign language to help non-verbal children communicate needs to teachers and help teachers remind children of appropriate behavior using non-verbal cues.
More community interaction can be expected this year as Harms showcases center capabilities.
Volunteer groups come to the center often. A group of volunteers came Valentine's Day to help preschool students make heart-shaped pizzas while children's author Evelyn Finnegan read stories and gave the children hands-on experience by handling roses real and faux, among other activities.
Other center projects involve community outreach. For example, the children made Valentines for Veterans for delivery to the Bay Pines Veterans Administration Clinic in Port Charlotte.
'We are always trying to teach the children about community and how kindness makes other people happy," Harms said. "While talking with the kids about Valentine's Day, we naturally talk about love, friendship and kindness and the children made cards for family."
The lesson centered on soldiers and veterans as men and women who work to protect our country.
In other center activity:
The annual appeal has reached $52,807 compared with $51,727 raised last year.
White flies continue to be a playground problem.
The center received a $10,000 grant from the Gulf Coast Community Foundation "Ten Thousand Reasons for Giving" campaign.
The next board meeting is at 4 p.m. March 5 at the center.