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  • By utilizing interactive learning programs, Beaver Creek Childcare has been meeting the unique needs of children for 20 years. In October, Kelly Harding and other educators encouraged students to participate in Harvest for the Hungry.
    Photo by Zach Sparks
    By utilizing interactive learning programs, Beaver Creek Childcare has been meeting the unique needs of children for 20 years. In October, Kelly Harding and other educators encouraged students to participate in Harvest for the Hungry.

Lessons Last A Lifetime At Beaver Creek Childcare

Zach Sparks
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November 6, 2013

Every child has unique needs. That’s why Beaver Creek Childcare in Crofton has stressed the importance of early learning, socialization and meeting the distinct needs of youth for the last 20 years.

Janet Dickens opened the facility in 1993 to provide boys and girls with a safe and comfortable environment where they could learn fine and gross motor skills, fine arts, sensory play, dramatic play, mathematics, language arts, character building and more. One day children might visit Crofton Park and the following morning, they could be playing an educational group game.

“The atmosphere is special,” noted Kelly Harding, a 14-year Beaver Creek veteran who recently switched from teaching 2-year-olds to doing full-day preschool classes for 3-year-olds. “Parents stay with us, and we watch their children grow from being infants all the way through school-age.”

The learning provider offers full-time care for infants through 4-year-olds, has full-day kindergarten classes, before and after-school programs, summer camp for elementary school students, and a traditional morning preschool program. A devoted staff consisting of 30 faculty members cares for about 200 adolescents that are enrolled in Beaver Creek programs.

In addition to teaching basic subjects, instructors use interactive activities to keep kids engaged while learning life lessons. One of those is a fun twist on Harvest for the Hungry, a fundraiser that benefits the Anne Arundel County Food Bank. The schedule during October included a “Souper Bowl” football Friday, where boys and girls were encouraged to wear their favorite team apparel and donate a can of soup, and a “Toothy Tuesday” where the kids contributed tooth brushes, toothpaste and floss.

“We have a pride week and a multicultural one called the bare necessities,” explained Jana Boddy, assistant director. “The food drive is fun for the kids because they get to dress up or bring in a baby picture or do neat things like that.”

After they’ve raised food and other items for the needy, Beaver Creek Childcare staff and students turn their attention to helping charities during Christmas. Last December, they helped the Salvation Army in Annapolis by having each of their classrooms sponsor a child, providing them with presents and clothing. This holiday season, students are participating in a book drive to benefit Sarah’s House, a Fort Meade-based charity that aids homeless families in Anne Arundel County.

“We involve the kids in helping because it teaches them that not all children in the world have what they do,” observed director Shannon Whitman. “It’s cute because when we did toy drives, a lot of the children wanted to donate their own toys or buy one for the drive, after we discussed it in the classroom.”

Other planned functions include a diaper campaign during Easter and a fundraiser where students collect change for the rainforest. In April, boys and girls do a Trike-a-thon that benefits St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

“The kids get pledges and then they ride their tricycles around a course in the parking lot,” Boddy said. “They can bring their bikes, tricycles, or scooters in and they wear their helmets, so it’s about teaching them safety too, but they’re also collecting money for St. Jude’s every year.”

Educators care for kids Monday through Friday, but their devotion goes beyond classroom walls. Two Fridays or Saturdays a month, Beaver Creek holds an inexpensive parents’ night out from 6:30pm-midnight.

“Parents bring their children and our staff runs it,” Whitman highlighted. “We do it so parents can get dinner and a movie or whatever they want to do. During the holidays, we’ll do daytime ones on Saturdays and Sundays, so parents can get shopping or wrapping done during the day.”

To staff and their beloved students, Beaver Creek Childcare is more than a school, it’s a second home. Youth return to the center as adults because the environment is congenial and warm. Some parents invite teachers to their children’s sports games and concerts because they have a close relationship.

“Parents invite us to birthday parties and reach us for babysitting,” Harding expressed. “The kids get very excited when they see us outside of here.”

Beaver Creek Childcare is located at 2165 Davidsonville Road. For more information, call 410-721-4145 or visit www.beavercreekchildcare.com.


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