May 1, 2013

Friend-Ship Center steps up with help from ECRC

For Friend-Ship Center Director Sue Neading and her staff, the Early Childhood Resource Center (ECRC) has been a valuable resource since both centers opened in 2000. The Friend-Ship Center fills an important gap on Canton’s south side, providing pre-school and child care to 125 young children, before- and after-school care for children to age 12, and a full summer program.The ECRC provides the Friend-Ship Center with a variety of staff training and use of the ECRC Production Lab, and helps the center implement the latest best practices in early childhood education.

“We love the ECRC’s programs and resources. They offer so much to the community and to the entire early childhood field,’ said Neading.

The center is currently involved with the ECRC’s Strengthening Families program, in which an ECRC consultant visits the center once a month to provide oversight, and staff from the center attend regular training sessions at the ECRC. The program is designed to build upon the relationship between families and child care programs to reduce the likelihood of family violence. It helps families grow closer together through evening activities like art sessions, music events and more. The center also participated in the Communication Friendly Spaces approach, which was a collaboration between the ECRC and the Elizabeth Jarman Foundation. The program emphasizes that environment greatly affects behavior. Two staff members attended training, applying what they learned by incorporating brighter, softer colors and lighting into their classrooms. After seeing a noticeable behavior change in the two classrooms, the center is applying the same look to all classrooms.

The Friend-Ship Center also recently received its first star in Ohio’s Step Up to Quality rating system. The voluntary rating system recognizes child care centers for exceeding state minimum standards and provides funding for making quality improvements. The ECRC helped provide staff training so the center could become approved.

“I’ve always been a big advocate of the ECRC because they’re a tremendous asset to our center and are always on the cutting edge of early childhood education and care in our community, which allows us to be on top of what’s new and fresh,” said Neading.

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