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Spotlight Stories
Little Pals Playskool and Hopscotch Learning Academy  Minimize 
Little Pals Playskool was established in the late 1980’s as a small family owned
business caring for Texarkana’s children. It was later purchased by Ann
Tarkington in 1998 and has since flourished. In 2009 Ms. Tarkington purchased a
suddenly closed childcare facility and opened Hopscotch Learning Academy in
May of 2009. Little Pals Playskool and Hopscotch Learning Academy are both located
in a central part of Texarkana, Texas and are only a few blocks from our twin city
Texarkana, Arkansas. Both facilities are licensed in Texas and Arkansas and
together we are privileged to transport to and from 21 area public schools. Both
facilities are Texas Rising Star and offer a higher quality of care to children 6
weeks old to 12 years old. Our most recent accomplishment for both facilities is
being awarded a grant from the Department of Agriculture to promote early and
healthier child nutrition and physical activity.

Our philosophy is that a warm and nurturing environment is made rich by “hands
on” play-learning opportunities. These experiences allow children to learn by
interacting with their environment. Children test information they already know
and increase their knowledge through hands on interaction with materials, adults,
and other children. Teachers guide children by asking open-ended questions, and
commenting on their work. This “hands on” discovery philosophy is carried
through every classroom and age.

It is our primary goal to provide a safe and happy environment for children where
their learning opportunities are integrated into every moment and activity such as
the Establishing the 3 E’s Healthier CACFP Recognition Award. This award will
promote and assist children to make healthier choices of fresh fruits and
vegetables and vigorous but fun physical activity such as ”Yoga for Kids.”

The highly skilled staff and office personnel are focused on how to better enrich
the lives and experiences in the early childhood setting as well as maintaining
excellent records of performance, evaluation and training to children of all
backgrounds, race, ethnicity, or economic status. Every child deserves the best of
the best, without having to choose, the least of the least.

Becky Gates Children's Center  Minimize 
Becky Gates
Children’s Center

DIVISION OF STUDENT AFFAIRS

The Becky Gates Children’s Center opened in 1998 on the Texas A&M University campus. The center
provides care for 165 student, staff, and faculty children ages 12 months-5 years. The Becky Gates
Children’s Center is accredited by AdvancED and is a Four-Star Texas Rising Star provider.

The Becky Gates Children’s Center is working toward a gold-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award by
improving the quality of meals and snacks served, and providing quality nutrition education through
active participation. The Establishing 3E’s (E3E) grant funds will be used to purchase a research-based
curriculum Incorporating weekly learning, gardening, nutrition, physical activity, tasting evaluations,
recipes, and literature in the garden.

The Becky Gates Children’s Center wants to support their new wellness policy not only by increasing the
quality of their menus but by supporting family style dining and hands-on nutrition education through
the use of gardens.

Gulf Coast Community Services Association, Head Start Program  Minimize 
The Gulf Coast Community Services Association, Inc. (GCCSA) Head Start Program is a comprehensive, early childhood development program for children ranging in age from 3 to 5, who come from economically-challenged families. The GCCSA Head Start Program has been serving eligible children and families in the Houston, Harris County area since 1964.

GCCSA currently serves over 1,800 children and families in the Southeast Sector of Harris County, including the cities of Houston and Pasadena. We operate a total of 1 Early Head Start Center and 19 Head Start Centers, serving as either stand-alone centers, or sites operating in collaboration with local educational partnerships. We are targeting 8 of our Head Start centers, giving almost 750 of our early learners the opportunity to experience the benefits of the 3 E’s grant!

GCCSA is implementing the Establishing 3E’s (E3E) Grant in our efforts to attain the bronze-level Healthier CACFP Recognition Award. The grant funds will enable GCCSA to improve the quality of menu offerings by purchasing “Rainbow In My Tummy” resources and various culinary supplies. Revised menus will include locally grown foods and a greater variety of fruits and dark green vegetables.

In order to improve physical activity, we will use the CATCH Early Childhood resources, introduce children to other ways to get moving, and bring the fun into the classroom through dance exercise. Lastly, we will provide nutrition education by increasing cooking activities in the classroom and offering classes to both our children and families by partnering with Texas AgriLife Extension!



Seton Home  Minimize 
Seton Home provides a safe home for girls, ages 12 to 17, who are pregnant and/or parenting, the majority of whom have been removed from their homes by Child Protective Services due to abuse, neglect or sexual assault. San Antonio has a teen birth rate 40% higher than the national average, where 60% of teen parents do not graduate from high school, and only 2% will graduate from college. Since its establishment in 1981, Seton Home is the only state-licensed 24-hour residential facility in South and Central Texas with significant capacity and the necessary specialized services to provide for the needs of this vulnerable population. 

Seton Home provides the crucial services our teen mothers need to heal from their histories of abuse and trauma, changing their focus from one of mere survival to one of self-sufficiency. We provide them with the tools to become nurturing parents in order to break the generational cycle of abuse and neglect. Services include safe shelter, trauma-informed counseling, life and job skills training, parenting education, academic educational support, and child development care.

The main goal our Child Development Center (CDC) is to provide a positive developmental foundation that will foster growth and development from childhood through adulthood. Our main goal is to cater to the individual needs of every child and teen mother to ensure that all children have the best possible future. Seton Home is in partnership with The City of San Antonio’s Head Start department to provide Early Head Start services. Early Head Start (EHS) programs serve infants and toddlers under the age of 3, and pregnant women. EHS programs provide intensive comprehensive child development and family support services to low-income pregnant women, infants and toddlers and their families.

The center operates under four guiding principles: (1) individual care and guidance - we believe each child is unique. We accept each child at his or her own level of development; (2) engendering a safe, nurturing and enriching environment - we believe children develop to their fullest potential when they have a safe and nurturing environment. We provide a safe place for children to learn and grow; (3) promoting proper child development via evidence-based curriculum - We believe that early childhood experiences are important to the physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development of the child.  We provide a variety of experiences promoting positive development in young children; (4) maternal guidance to ensure the child is properly care for at home - We believe that moms are their child’s first teachers.  We partner with mom’s to share information that will enhance the child’s development.

These four principles serve as the overarching philosophy that guides CDC policies and procedures, daily operations, and goals. CDC employees structure classrooms, develop curriculum and behave in ways that:
  • Foster and promote a positive self-image of each child
  • Help children to develop social skills
  • Encourage children to think, reason, question, and experiment
  • Encourage language development
  • Encourage and demonstrate sound health, safety, and nutritional practices
  • Enhance physical development and skills
  • Enhance creative expression and appreciation for the arts
  • Respect cultural diversity
  • Foster and promote school–age readiness
  • Create, foster, and promote model citizenship

Child Inc Head Start/ Early Head Start, 2018 Silver Award  Minimize 

Wellness Area: Physical Activity   

Travis County, Austin TX
 Child Inc Child Inc Head Start, founded in 1972, is a nonprofit organization that provides low-income families with comprehensive early childhood education, including mental health services, disabilities services, nutritional services, medical and dental services, social services and parent engagement activities. Led by our Board of Directors, Policy Council, and Executive Director, Albert L. Black, Child Inc currently employs a diverse workforce of over 230 staff positioned throughout our offices and in over 80 classrooms, serving over 2000 children and families.  

For over 40 years, Child Inc has been positively impacting families throughout the Austin area. Child Inc plans to continue our mission by using the Texas Department of Agriculture’s (TDA) Establishing 3 E’s grant funds to reach the Silver Level Healthier CACFP award at six of our centers. Funds will be used to help support more physical activity throughout the day, a healthy, colorful menu and expand nutrition education for children and their families, as well as staff. We plan to focus on our physical activity by adding more outdoor equipment, increasing indoor activities, bringing in outside fitness groups our children would not normally be exposed to and teaching our families how to live an overall healthy lifestyle. 
 

Los Niños Early Childhood Montessori Program, 2017 Gold Award Level  Maximize 

Motivation Education & Training, Inc., 2017 Gold Award Level  Maximize 

Connally ISD Child Care, 2017 Silver Award Level  Maximize 

El Paso Armed Services YMCA, 2017 Gold Award Level  Maximize 

Las Palmas Montessori Child Care Center #2, 2017 Gold Award Level  Maximize 

A Child's Place Learning Center, Gold Award Level  Maximize 

Brentwood Children's Academy, Bronze Award Level  Maximize 

Bryan’s House, Silver Award Level  Maximize 

La Mision Child Care and Kid Kamp, Gold Award Level  Maximize 

Lollypop Learning Center, Gold Award Level  Maximize 

Promiseland Learning Center, Bronze Award Level  Maximize 

Texas Tech University Early Head Start, Bronze Award Level  Maximize 

YWCA of Lubbock, Bronze Award Level  Maximize 

In accordance with Federal civil rights law and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) civil rights regulations and policies, the USDA, its Agencies, offices, and employees, and institutions participating in or administering USDA programs are prohibited from discriminating based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, age, or reprisal or retaliation for prior civil rights activity in any program or activity conducted or funded by USDA.

Persons with disabilities who require alternative means of communication for program information (e.g. Braille, large print, audiotape, American Sign Language, etc.), should contact the Agency (State or local) where they applied for benefits. Individuals who are deaf, hard of hearing or have speech disabilities may contact USDA through the Federal Relay Service at (800) 877-8339. Additionally, program information may be made available in languages other than English.

To file a program complaint of discrimination, complete the USDA Program Discrimination Complaint Form, (AD-3027) found online at: http://www.ascr.usda.gov/complaint_filing_cust.html, and at any USDA office, or write a letter addressed to USDA and provide in the letter all of the information requested in the form. To request a copy of the complaint form, call (866) 632-9992. Submit your completed form or letter to USDA by:

Mail:
U.S. Department of Agriculture
Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights
1400 Independence Avenue, SW
Washington, D.C. 20250-9410

This institution is an equal opportunity provider.

© 2018 Texas Department of Agriculture