GREENVILLE — Anthony Wayne Early Childhood Center has been designated as a 5-Star Step Up to Quality (SUTQ) facility by the Ohio Department of Education (ODE).
This past August, the preschool’s new director, John Maynard, received notice the facility had met requirements needed to receive SUTQ’s five-star rating, which is administered by the Oho Department of Education and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.
“We received notice that our banner was being prepared,” Maynard said.
The red, white and blue banner stating Anthony Wayne is a “5-STAR AWARD WINNER” is prominently displayed in the main hall of the preschool for parents, staff and more importantly – the center’s 200 young students – to see daily.
In order to receive this honor, schools must meet several requirements over a period of time. These include maintaining safety programs and developmental and learning standards, which are mandated for state-funded facilities. Staff members also are required to meet certain criteria.
Maynard said the preschool has received several visits from ODE representatives.
“They want to know why we are willing to be innovative and see the progress we have made here,” Maynard explained.
Some of these initiatives include ALICE training (or Active Shooter Response Training) for staff, improving communication with parents, and providing a learning environment conducive to “preparing little humans,” Maynard said, and to meet challenges of learning and social interaction as the 3-5 year-olds continue through their school years.
One positive addition at Anthony Wayne is giving parents time each morning to speak with their child’s teachers.
“We personally greet parents daily and give them time to speak to us, tell us what’s going on in their child’s life,” Maynard said, pointing out that every child will go through some sort of crises. “Communication between the parent and teacher is critical in helping children get through a situation that may be causing stress and help children learn to express their feelings,” Maynard said.
New on the horizon at Anthony Wayne is “being on the forefront of new curriculum as per the state initiatives,” Maynard said, as well as the development of an enrichment or gifted program for students who perform above average for their age group.
“Our primary goal is when a child leaves here,” he said, “we want to be sure they are school ready. To make sure they are prepared.”
Maynard, who moved to Versailles from Lawrence County in southern Ohio, said being director of a preschool is “my dream” after serving in both high school and middle school administrator positions.
Maynard said he’s done quite a bid of research about preschool education and is in favor of universal preschool for all children to prepare them for K-12 education.
“There is a movement to look at preschool more seriously,” he said, adding he credits the staff at Anthony Wayne for the success the school is receiving.
“I’ve never seen a better staff,” he said.
Anthony Wayne Preschool, which falls under the umbrella of the Darke County Educational Service Center, enrolls students from all Darke County communities.
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