NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - A dramatic jump in the number of quality daycare centers has risen in a 12-county region of Deep East Texas, and it’s attributed to an aggressive push to become a Texas Rising Star certified provider.
The certification is offered to quality care that exceeds the state’s minimum childcare licensing standards.
“Last November, we were at 16, and we’re currently at 29," said Debb Hommon, Rising Star childcare specialist. "And we have about five or six more that are waiting to come on.”
Inspectors look for criteria in five categories, including teaching centers, teacher interaction, and proper diet. At the four-star rated First United Methodist Church in Nacogdoches, pre-school physical development is a bonus.
“We now have a yoga teacher and a Spanish teacher, so all of these things are incorporated into the many aspects of early childhood," said Lisa Labosky, pre-school director at FUMC Nacogdoches.
More than 400 childcare providers will fill these tables Saturday at a Texas Rising Star conference in Lufkin. They’ll learn how to better serve all clients, including those in the Texas Workforce Commission’s subsidized child care program, the largest budgeted program within the agency.
“People can’t work if they don’t have childcare that they can afford. and so we service a lot of couples and single parents," said Michelle Kennedy, senior director of TRS childcare specialists.
The state doesn’t require its clients to choose Texas Rising Star daycares, but rather utilize the ratings as a guide in their choice. The goal is to certify all 72 child care centers in the Deep East Texas region.
Two weeks ago in Lufkin, the first home daycare became Texas Rising Star certified. Saturday’s conference for providers begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Lufkin Civic Center.