JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA –
Childcare can be stressful for parents and guardians. Choosing a safe, educational and cost efficient service is a high priority but not always easy.
The Joint Base Charleston Child Development Center is a safe, secure learning environment where Department of Defense members can leave their children while they are at work.
“Our mission is to teach the kids and enhance their fine and gross motor skills,” said Yolanda Green. “We help them with their language. We help them with their everyday life and teach them things they can use when they leave here and go out in the world. A lot of the kids don’t know how to walk, use a spoon, etc. when they come to us so we help them to develop those skills.”
The Child Development Center program is income-based and provides care for children from six months to five years of age. “I really enjoy working with the kids,” said Patricia Bonneau. “It’s a great feeling when I’m working with them and they come back to me and show me something that they have learned. I’ll say ‘one, two, you buckle your…’ and I’ll hear a child say shoes! Three, four and they’ll run to the door. Look at that confidence, they are learning. I enjoy working with the one-year olds, I really do.”
Teachers help the children on an individual basis ensuring they are able to improve in areas where they are struggling.
“We interact with them. We change diapers as needed, help and encourage them to pick up their spoon and feed themselves, pick up their cup and things like that,” said Bonneau. “When they have free play, we don’t make them sit down for anything, but if they are sitting down we can just jump in there and say something to them and help them. We don’t force them to do anything. We want them to be independent as much as possible.”
The children are assigned classrooms based on their age. They learn different skills to help them adjust to the next age bracket as they progress.
“If something needs to be done, both of these ladies take the initiative and get it done,” said Diane Jackson, assistant director. “They really go out of their way to provide good quality care. They have bonded really well with the parents and children. They have mentored a lot of the new staff who have come in. They step up to the plate. They see the need to try to help other people.”
Bonneau helps her coworkers and the children learn new things while looking to improve herself by adapting and learning along the way.
“My goal now is to continue to work with the kids,” Bonneau commented. “I enjoy what I do. I look forward to getting even more training as it comes. Kids change every day. They are getting smarter. My goal is to learn as they learn.”