November 20, 2018

United Way, care providers work to build better child care

child care provider with kids

With help from United Way and the Great Start to Quality Wayne-Oakland-Macomb Resource Center, Gloria Moyet was able to become a licensed child care provider.

Gloria Moyet has never been afraid to dream.

From an early age, she dreamed of helping others — especially children. Even while she worked part-time at a local restaurant, she kept the dream alive by caring for her sister’s children on her days off.

Eventually, dreaming wasn’t enough.

“I always knew I wanted to be licensed and have a day care of my own,” Gloria said. “I just didn’t know how I was going to do it.”

Finding a United Way

Gloria’s “how” came with help from United Way.

United Way for Southeastern Michigan operates the Great Start to Quality Wayne-Oakland-Macomb Resource Center. The Office of Great Start within the Michigan Department of Education funds the center. Great Start to Quality is Michigan’s quality rating and improvement system for child care, preschool and school-age children’s programs. The initiative supports early childhood providers in their efforts to improve their programs. It also helps parents find and choose quality programs that meet their children’s needs.

Initially, Gloria attended several free Great Start to Quality child care training sessions offered for license-exempt child care providers. Through grant funding provided by the state, Great Start to Quality formed cohorts in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties to help license-exempt providers improve their practices. In the fall of 2017, Gloria joined the Oakland County cohort.

Over the months that followed, a quality improvement consultant that United Way hired as part of the Great Start to Quality program helped Gloria identify her areas for improvement and build goals. Gloria worked hard to build a home-based child care operation she could be proud of. And in 2018, she achieved her dream of becoming a licensed child care provider.

child care provider with infants

Gloria Moyet finds joy in providing care for children in her Pontiac neighborhood, helping them to learn and grow.

Addressing a growing need

High-quality child care facilities and preschools help children succeed in school and life. Yet only 50,000 of the 275,000 children under the age of 6 in the tri-county area are served by providers that are rated by Great Start to Quality.

“Research has shown the that when children ages five and younger participate in a high-quality child care program, a foundation is created to ensure that children are healthy, thriving and ready to learn,” said Carol Tresik, director of the Great Start to Quality Wayne-Oakland-Macomb Resource Center.

Great Start to Quality empowers families across Michigan to fairly compare high-quality child care programs. Families can search for quality-rated providers online and use the rating system to make informed decisions about care for their child.

For care providers, each Great Start to Quality Resource Center provides help, quality improvement supports, educational materials, professional development and training opportunities. Providers can participate in the 5-star quality rating and improvement system based on standards for care, safety, professional development and early learning.

 Building a quality child care

Gloria’s facility — named Lil’ Miya’s Day Care in honor of her daughter — is a child’s dream come true. Within its multi-colored walls, bins filled to the brim with toys help children learn and grow. The day care has quickly become a much-needed staple in Gloria’s Pontiac neighborhood, where many parents were looking for reliable, quality care for their children.

Tasha Herron’s 1-year-old, Amore, has been in Gloria’s care for several months. According to Tasha, Gloria’s facility gives her peace of mind.

“My daughter loves it, and I feel good knowing she’s in good hands,” Tasha said. “(Gloria’s) communication is great, and I never have to worry about what’s going on.”

Gloria makes it all look easy. She stops to sip tea offered from one smiling toddler while assisting another with a ring-stacking toy. When a third child yells “potty!” from across the room, Gloria is instantly on her feet to help. Moments later, she’s playing dress-up. All the while she’s keeping a close eye on the clock. It’s almost lunchtime.

The buzz of activity stirred up by 12 children under the age of 5 might be overwhelming to some, but Gloria loves it. It’s clear from their widening grins and joyful squeals that the children do, too.

children playing at day care

Children’s development is integral to Lil’ Maya’s Day Care—from the activities available to the accessibility of toys.

From vision to reality

With the help of the Great Start to Quality Wayne-Oakland-Macomb Resource Center, Gloria turned her dream into a plan. She’s been able to make a huge amount of progress in a short period of time. This includes updates such as labeling bins to teach organization skills, lowering shelves so that children have more access and learning new safety techniques for infants and toddlers. Gloria has been able to quickly fill her facility to capacity by word-of-mouth referrals. She also continues to receive calls daily from parents who find her through the Great Start to Quality system.

Gloria’s dreams continue to grow. She recently purchased a new truck with the Lil’ Miya’s Day Care logo emblazoned on the side, allowing her to host field trips. “It’s all for my kiddos,” she. She smiles ear to ear when talking about the children and about her future.

“Next step is for me to get my own building; maybe even two” she added. “I’ve learned so much and I just want to be able to share it with as many children as possible.”

To learn more about the Great Start to Quality rating and improvement system, visit greatstarttoquality.org.