The passion, dedication, and effort it takes to run a child care center cannot be overstated. Many of our participants start their journey with one goal: to make sure families in their community have access to high-quality child care. Achieving this level of quality does not happen overnight. It takes time to learn how to run a business, earn teaching credentials and degrees, and create classroom environments with the necessary developmentally appropriate learning materials.

In March 2024 when we received the following message from Tri-Town Kids, a Child Care Center in Brasher Falls, we thought it was a great encapsulation of everything a program can achieve when participating in QUALITYstarsNY.

Here is the message in their own words:

“A tractor-trailer pulled up around noon and we spent 6 hours opening 49 large boxes, unloading, moving rooms, arranging furniture, and non-stop moving by all.

“We have officially received a 1-Star Rating with QUALITYstarsNY… The amount of work I have put in the past year to finally get to being accepted into this program and rated has me feeling every bit accomplished for that Star.

“We decided to set our business apart from day one; yes, we are a child care center, but we are a lot more, too. We are heavily focusing on being family-run, rural-based, community-driven, and seeking high-quality support and resources (despite our location on the map)!”

“We currently have a teacher who completed 12 college credits of early childcare focus, has passed her CDA credential written test and on-site review, and will be receiving her certification within the month. She did this while working full-time and balancing her relationships. She invested in herself, our business, and all our kids. As a young adult, I am proud of her for taking this on and making everyone’s children so special to her every day. Thank you, Merlyn, and congratulations!

“Next up we have two teachers who are moms, work full time with our youngest littles, help within our community, and have enrolled in early childhood college courses and are now in their second and third semesters doing so. These two women are strong examples that being in your 30s is never too old to invest in your education and growth. I am very proud of them both, and know the sacrifice of time from their families is a lot, and I do not take that lightly as their employer. I thank you for doing this, believing in our business, and wanting to grow with us and our vision for all our children.”

“I am back in college again for a child care administration degree. I love to learn, and pride myself on knowing what surrounds me. I am honest with anyone after a background with years of customer service and being a registered nurse, becoming a center owner/director was unknown waters. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to receive a more formal education to help support our staff and the children we care for daily.

“We currently have additional staff exploring continued education options and specialized training. With everyone I interview, I ask if they are on board with growing themselves and our business… it’s hands-down a priority for us to keep our staff and administrators informed and educated.”

“So, here comes QUALITYstarsNY. We have a fantastic Quality Improvement Specialist Deb Higginson… you have no idea how huge this is for me. We have minimal local resources, and Deb started in our Northern area right before we opened. Our Specialist hasn’t once stopped me from dreaming, tried to calm my hyper-loud frustrations, or even said no. What she does during our biweekly check-ins and monthly meetings is offer me a massive amount of support, connections, resources, and as I call it “shiny gifts”, aka education, training, and high-quality materials.

“After being able to utilize [funds for] education for our staff, more in training, a few deliveries of furniture, and a laptop even when mine died after opening and we really couldn’t swing purchasing a new one, today the reward, we’ll call it, for the past year of setting goals, doing training, of writing handbooks, setting policies, of making informed changes for best practice all came back to our center.

“All in itself all the growth has made the “work” worth it, but let’s be real, when a tractor-trailer pulls up with [a large] order (which we paid nothing for!) and you and your family have put everything into this business and the potential success and growth … both of us had a moment, maybe we really did this and it’s a success. We also have officially registered 51 children and our capacity is 57 in 15 months of opening.”

“Thank you to our community, to our staff, to our families, to the little ones that keep us going every day. We have no plans of slowing down, just the opposite actually, full speed ahead for Tri-Town Kids!

“Oh, and we are hiring, so who wants to join us on this adventure?”

Christina McCarthy, Owner/Director of Tri-Town Kids