BILINGUAL CHILD CARE PROVIDER TAKES HER CHILD CARE BUSINESS UP A NOTCH
It’s taken a lot of passion and drive for Ivonne Gutierrez to run a child care business out of her home at a professional level rivaling a full child care center … when English is her second language.
Katrina Ball, TFC’s Child Care Resource & Referral Director who sat down with Gutierrez in September, was impressed with her operation and her passion for children.
Gutierrez is taking initiative to improve what she’s doing to develop children in her care. She became licensed in July and recently completed a course on “Developing Your Family Child Care Business” at the Francis Institute at Penn Valley-Metropolitan Community College. Although she has a high school diploma from Mexico, she needs to earn her GED in the U.S. before she can work toward a Child Development Associate (CDA) credential.
“I was impressed with her initiative to want to get a CDA, to want to improve the lives of kids,” Ball said. “It’s not just babysitting to her, it’s an educational program and a business. She’s taking incredible initiative to improve the quality of her program even though English is her second language and it is often difficult to attend trainings and get the needed resources.”
Ball cites the fact that Gutierrez is using an Ages & Stages Questionnaire to assess a child's developmental level as evidence of the caliber of her care. “She uses this to plan her daily activities and as a tool to guide her curriculum … that’s not typically something providers use unless someone is helping them improve their skills.”
Gutierrez has a dedicated room and bathroom for her child care business, and the room opens directly through French doors to her fenced backyard. Her space is arranged with interest areas with developmentally appropriate activities, such as: a block area, book/reading space, musical instruments and CD player, housekeeping area and dress-up clothes / dramatic play area.
“Her set-up is awesome. She has a lot of things you see in a center that you don’t always see in family child care,” Ball said. “This is some place I would like to take my child.”
When child care professionals sign up to be part of the child care referral database in Kansas, TFC staff reaches out to visit with them at their child care business. During Ball’s visit - where Head Start Partnerships & Program Governance Coordinator, Díana Martínez, attended to provide Spanish interpretation - they discovered Gutierrez’ mother cooks everything for the children in her home. Ball made Ivonne aware of the Child & Adult Care Food Program which reimburses child care providers for serving nutritious meals to the children in their care, targeting benefits to those children most in need. Gutierrez signed up for the food program after the visit.
“She truly has a passion for all children, but specifically for the Hispanic community,” Ball said. “She’s using those tools and that info to manage a family child care business. Those are skills that directors need when running a center.”
Gutierrez' reason for teaching preschoolers is all about their future success: "When you teach them now, then the kids are strong when they go to school ... no drugs or gangs." she said.