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TVC Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab Receives Highest Rating in

Submitted by Scott McCrea
Phone: (907) 455-2785

07/21/03

The Bunnell House Early Childhood Lab School at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Tanana Valley Campus has always been known to be "for hearts"--that is, for the hearts of the children who attend the school and their families.

Now, in recognition of its efforts, the school has recently been awarded "four hearts"---the highest award possible---in a local childcare assessment program called Hearts for Kids.

The Hearts for Kids program is a pilot project of the Early Childhood Development Commission of the Fairbanks North Star Borough. Eighty-two childcare homes and classrooms in the Fairbanks area volunteered to participate in the year-long project. The purpose of the project was to help the centers accurately assess their program and to ultimately help improve the quality of child care in Fairbanks.

At the end of the project each childcare program that completed the review process received a "Heart Rating" of one to four hearts. The Bunnell House was one of only six programs to receive the highest rating of four hearts.

"We are absolutely thrilled to have received the rating," said Bunnell House Director Paige McLaughlin. "When the project started it was anticipated that it would be extremely difficult for anyone to receive a four-heart rating because it would have to be such a high-quality program."

According to the ratings guidelines, a four heart rating means the program has a well-trained staff providing an environment that is highly supportive of child development. All aspects of the program show a high degree of social and developmental support. There is also a strong collaboration between family and staff to identify, document, and provide for each child's need.

In addition to receiving a free assessment, as a participant in the program the Bunnell House received $3,600 to purchase furnishings and toys to meet the enhancement suggestions made by the Hearts for Kids reviewers.

The Bunnell House serves as the childcare center for the children of UAF students, faculty and staff. In addition, the center provides observation and practicum experience for university students who are studying early childhood education. For more information visit the center's website at www.tvc.uaf.edu/bunnellhouse.html

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Contact: Bunnell House Director Paige McLaughlin at (907) 474-6393 or email at fnpm@uaf.edu.