Child Center continues daycare excellence

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Child Center continues daycare excellence

Alan Rawles

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Staff provides 5-star childcare despite staff’s struggles

Though operating the Child Development Center proves no walk in the park, a state ranking system handed it a five-star rating for the sixth consecutive year.

This ranking comes from the Louisiana Quality Start School Readiness Rating System. It is the highest rating in the state a child development or early learning center can earn. ULM’s Child Development Center was the first in Ouachita Parish to earn that rating in 2008.

However, the center’s success has not come with out complications along the way.

Emily Williamson, director of the Child Development Center, has fought for this high standard of excellence in care and education for 12 years.

Williamson has also fought inflammatory breast cancer for four years. Even throughout her fight, the center has blossomed under her leadership. She continues the fight against cancer while running the center.

Despite this, the center does not just provide award-winning childcare services under her leadership. Williamson said the center is important to ULM for various reasons. The center supports the faculty, staff and students of ULM with its tools, state-of-the-art facilities, outdoor classroom and strong faculty.

The rating comes from the center’s completion of Quality Start Portfolio. The state audits this portfolio and evaluates centers’ administrative practices, staff qualifications and family and community involvement.

The center features educational tools for certain majors on campus. Students in the School of Education have the opportunity to learn teaching skills by visiting the center. Nursing students can use it and perform basic medical examinations.

The benefit for faculty is the opportunity to place their children in an award-winning childcare facility.

Brooke Foy, an art instructor, has enrolled her child at the Child Development Center for several years.

“I want my daughter to get the best education,” Foy said.

Foy also said Williamson’s concern for the details impresses her. Every aspect is thought out, she said.

The benefits also extend to the students at ULM. A student may enroll his or her child at the center.

All of these “Junior Warhawks” even learn about ULM while at the center. This includes interacting with Ace and learning interesting facts about the university.

Tra’von Washington, a senior kinesiology major, is going into his fourth year as a worker at the Child Development Center.

“It’s important for the kids to be learning,” Washington said.

Washington also praised Williamson’s strength and courage in her fight with breast cancer. He also said those two attributes show Williamson’s passion for her work as well.

Williamson said her faith played a strong role in that work for the center.

“God gives us different mission fields and this is mine,” Williamson said.

She also said a particular Bible verse has helped with her mission at the Child Development Center and battling her cancer: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”