Giant Step Preschool provides giant step up for Rangely kids

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RANGELY | Nestled in the middle of the town of Rangely is Giant Step Preschool and Child Care Center. A staple in the community for decades for local working parents and CNCC student families, this preschool and child care center has made leaps and bounds from its humble beginnings in the recreation hall of the Rangely Catholic Church in 1979. In 1997 the present building at 246 East Main St. was purchased from the Masonic Lodge. The community and others continue to help improve the quality of the building and services offered. In August 2005, Giant Step became the only 501(C)(3) nonprofit (registered with the Colorado Secretary of State’s office as the Human Resource Center, Inc.) licensed child care facility in Rio Blanco County. The tuition, grants and contributions fund the daily operations and maintenance of Giant Step.

Why does quality childhood education and child care matter?

The early years of life are very important for all areas of children’s learning and development. That’s because the human brain develops faster during the first five years than at any other time in a person’s life. High-quality child care and preschool programs support children during a sensitive and developmentally important time of life. Research shows that quality child care and preschool programs help children prepare for kindergarten and success in school. According to Qualistar, a Colorado resource for early childhood education, a child’s vocabulary at age 3 can predict third grade reading level which is a strong indicator of lifelong success. Economically, employee absenteeism due to unreliable child care costs U.S. businesses three billion annually.

Giant Step is a Colorado Shines rated facility, which provides parents/guardians information from  experts in the child care field on where to find clean, caring, educational and fun child care centers in all locations of the state. Giant Step has been awarded a Level 4 rating from Colorado Shines through Qualistar (www.coloradoshines.com). A Colorado Shines rating (Levels 1-5) gives parents peace of mind. The Colorado Shines rating means that the program is licensed, in good standing with the state, meets health and safety standards, and is regularly monitored. Programs with higher ratings (Levels 3-5) have completed a process to show quality programs and practice in all areas that Colorado Shines reviews. The program reviews the following practices: supports children’s health and safety, ensures the staff are well-trained and effective, provides a supportive learning environment that teaches children new skills, helps parents become partners in their child’s learning, demonstrates good leadership and business practices. Once a program receives a rating, Colorado Shines provides support to help the program and professionals improve their quality through assessment, training and tools and to connect Colorado families with quality child care.

Giant Step’s mission is to provide a safe and caring learning environment for children while acknowledging parents’ role in their development. Giant Step provides child care for children ages 2 to 12 years regardless of race, gender, color, national origin, religion or income level. The child need not be toilet trained. Giant Step’s curriculum—called “Creative Curriculum”—is for children aged 3-5, and is aligned to Colorado State standards. It is designed to teach children how to learn not just in preschool, but throughout their lives. The focus of the curriculum is how to get along well with others and to become independent, self-confident learners. Giant Step’s environment is designed to enhance four areas of development: emotional—expressing feelings, building self-esteem and caring for others; social—working with others, developing friendships and learning responsibility; academic—letters, sounds, words, counting, sorting, measuring and thinking; physical—running, catching, jumping, stretching, bending and coordination.

How can you help this unique-to-our-area local nonprofit?

Giant Step Preschool and Child Care Center will gratefully receive your donations, whether of money, time, or in-kind services. You can also donate through everyday shopping with the Amazon Smiles program. Amazon donates 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. Additionally, Giant Step posts projects and tasks that they are in need of volunteers for on their webpage at gianstepcenter.com. For more information about donating, volunteering or enrollment please contact Giant Step Preschool and Child Care Center at 970-675-2671, visit their website above, Facebook page, or drop by their location at 246 East Main St. in Rangely.

By ROXIE LONG | Special to the Herald Times