The YMCA Early Learning Center at Richmond Program Center achieved an important milestone as they received a Star 4 Rating, this past November 2022, from the Pennsylvania Child Care Association (PACCA) through the Keystone STARS program.
This designation is the highest possible rating in the state of Pennsylvania and indicates a center which has met the highest quality standards for learning environment, staff education, leadership and management, and partnerships with family and community.
A celebration was held on Friday, January 23, 2023, formally recognizing this achievement, by Senator Judy Schwank, District Legislative Aide Philip Wentzell and Superintendent of Fleetwood Area School District Dr Greg Miller.
Representatives from Start Strong PA, PACCA, Berks Encore and Y staff and parents were in attendance as well to help celebrate this achievement.
Senator Judy Schwank stated “When our centers achieve a 4 Star rating that means our kiddos are getting the best education that they possibly can. They are with teachers who are well qualified and well paid so they are able to do the job that we all rely upon. I relied on subsidized childcare in my working history, and it was a godsend for me”.
The YMCA started serving the Fleetwood community and surrounding areas with before and after school care in 1990. At the YMCA Early Learning Center currently, they provide childcare for infants through PreK while before and after care and camp are held at the Tri Valley YMCA.
Achieving the status of a 4 Star Rating is a challenge. “The staff threw themselves into the process of becoming a 4 Star Center.” said Nyree Fernandez, Center Director, “Through hard work and dedication to their craft, the center went from a 2 Star directly to a 4 Star rating. We also have a very active PTA, so the families were very supportive during the process.”
Brandon Shurr, Executive Director of the Tri Valley YMCA, said “Receiving this Star 4 designation is validation of the strong education-based care that our teachers provide. Nyree and her team are dedicated to providing a nurturing environment that provides each child with the building blocks for the rest of their life.”