Memorial Day, Fourth of July, Veteran’s Day – throughout the year there are certain days when we take a moment to thank our servicemen and women and our veterans for serving our country. But teachers and staff at our centers near military installations know that supporting our military families isn’t a quarterly event; it’s part of what we do every day.
“This is what we do,” says Woodbridge, Virginia, center director Carolyn Lee. “We love doing this and we really support our parents for doing as much as they can to serve our country.”
The Gilmore family, an Army family, chose to send their six-year-old son and four-year-old daughter to the Woodbridge KinderCare two years ago. They say they appreciate the staff’s understanding nature when it comes to work hours that change on a moment’s notice. They also value the KinderCare curriculum.
“It was amazing to see [our daughter] write her name by age four [and we] were blown away that [our] son was reading by prekindergarten,” they say.
Theresa Ramlakhan, mother to two boys, ages three and four, agrees that the center’s late closing time is a lifesaver. She’s also amazed at the sense of community her family has found in the year since they started attending the Woodbridge center. “The kids know everyone,” she says.
The population of military families attending the Woodbridge center increased by 30 percent in the past year, something center director Carolyn Lee attributes in part to the center’s NAEYC accreditation. Knowing their children will be in a high quality center, especially if a family is moving to a new, unfamiliar place, reassures parents that their children will be taken care of, she says. It’s one less thing to worry about, and that’s a comfort to everyone when a family is moving to a new place.
“We want [our students] to always know that they can spread their wings here and they can open up because a lot of other kids are in the same boat as them,” says Carolyn. “We want them to get the most out of this that they can.”
As for the military parents, Carolyn and her staff know they’re some of the hardest working people anyone could meet.
“They’re probably more dedicated than any other parent that you would meet because they really try extra hard to be there with their kids, as much as they can with this huge other life that they have,” Carolyn says. “They definitely try to put family first. It may not look like it, but it really, truly is. When they’re off they’re with their kids, and it’s really inspiring.”