March-April 2016 Print Issue- Every parent knows the ups and downs of finding quality childcare. There are various factors that go into this important decision; some of those influences include safety, staff qualifications and cleanliness. Appletree Day Care encompasses all of those elements quite perfectly. Owner Carolyn Driggers, has been providing the best care in the area for over 25 years. What started out in 1990 with one building has developed into successful day care centers with four locations in the area. “In 1990 after I had my son, I was looking for quality childcare in the Raleigh area and I couldn’t find any”. Drigger’s father owned a house in a great location for a childcare facility. “My father said I could open it, but I had to find a director and stay in property management with him.” So, listening to her father, she hired a director, but as she was about to go on vacation that year, she stopped by the day care and what she saw wasn’t up to her standards. Drigger’s decided to take matters into her own hands; she started working there, fell in love with the parents, children and staff, took over the center and never looked back.
Appletree Day Care today has a five star rating, which is the highest a facility can get in the state of North Carolina. “By having a five star facility, you have quality help and it shows you are doing the best you can do for the children, based on program standards and the education of your teachers”, she says. A way they live up to their five star rating is they make sure to include community involvement and even Carolyn lives up to these standards as she is a board member of the North Carolina License Child Care Association and a member of the Kris Murray Child Care Early Marketing Solutions. The center puts on open houses, conferences and they even do an end of the year trip to the Asheboro Zoo, where parents can even join in on the fun. Another way Appletree lives up to the high standard they portray is by thoroughly training their staff as Appletree is very selective in their hiring process. The staff goes through a training procedure where the center teaches them as much as they can before they are put into the classroom with the children. They also offer training throughout the year and they hold regular staff meetings.
An important thing on a parent’s mind when enrolling their child in day care is: what can I expect my child to do all day? How will they be entertained? Carolyn says you can expect Appletree Day Care to “keep the children engaged and to learn through play.” Appletree Day Care have adapted the Creative Curriculum, approved by the Division of Child Development and Childhood Education of which is created for research-based and research-proven curriculum resources. It in turn assists caregivers to be their most efficient, while still honoring their creativity, imagination and respecting their position in making learning exciting and important for each child. “We prepare them for the public school system so they can succeed”. Not only that, but Appletree’s attentiveness to each child outshines their competition. The center sends out daily electronic reports after each child is picked up, through a system called LifeCubby, which gives a summary of what your child ate, how they ate, what activities they were involved in and a minimum of two pictures of the child is sent within the report as well. Paper documentation can be presented at the parents request, if that is preferred.
Furthermore, Appletree does assessments on the children throughout the year to show parents where their child is at fundamentally. If a child is below standards, the staff at the day care center works with the parents to make sure the child gets the appropriate resources they need to succeed. The children also have their hearing tested, vision screened and they meet with a speech therapist. The point of all this is so if any problems are detected, it can be detected before the child goes to school and Appletree can get them the resources they need to properly improve. The best part about these extra services is their is no charge,they are included in the fee. The children are also fed breakfast, lunch, and an afternoon, healthy snack.
Another important factor is of course, cleanliness. Carolyn says each center uses a “Zono Sanitech”, which is an eco-friendly machine that sanitizes all toys and housekeeping materials. It is done by ultraviolet light and leaves no residue on surfaces and the items do not need to be rinsed or wiped once they go through the machine. The best part about it is they can be used immediately after the sanitation process. “This helps cut down on sickness”, she continues, “we are a health and wellness facility and we like to promote healthy things for children, the machine keeps the germs out and parents then do not have to miss days out from work.”
If you have never placed your child in day care and don’t know what to expect, they advise you to schedule a tour of the facility and you will be able to see all the classrooms. “We like to provide one on one time with that parent to answer any questions. We not only show them their child’s classroom but all the classrooms within the facility, so when their child ages up they will be familiar with it”, says Carolyn. With two small facilities and two large facilities you can pick which one best suits your family’s needs, if you want more of that in–home personal touch. Each center has more than one playground so your children are able to get the daily exercise they crave, and the playgrounds are developmental appropriate for the age group. Enrollment can fluctuate, so Carolyn advises, “if you want infant care, we think 2 months prior to you wanting your child to start you should enroll them. Sometimes we fill up and there is a waiting list”. “We stay busy. Last year we graduated 73 Pre-K children”. And while the day care center stays busy, Carolyn knows every parent leads a busy life as well. That is why before and after school care is offered as well as summer camp programs. “We cater to the schools that are traditional plus year-round. Each week has a specific topic that children learn about through play and story time and we cater to children up to age 12. So that the ones that are tracked out have a place to go.”
So, what does the future hold for this highly acclaimed day care center? “We have four centers right now, excellent staff and excellent management, we don’t plan on growing anytime soon.” Carolyn wants to focus on the four centers she currently runs. The facility on 4604 Pool Road’s newest goal is achieving an accreditation by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) which is a professional membership organization that works to promote high-quality early learning for all young children, from birth through age 8. The NAEYC’s mission is to “advance a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and support all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children.” And in the end, the goal is to eventually have all four of her facilities accredited by the NAEYC. Carolyn also down the line wants to help other centers just getting started and provide them the knowledge from her experience, help them grow their business and give back to other providers.
For more information on the National Association for the Education of Young Children please visit:
For more information on the North Carolina Licensed Child Care Association, please visit:
For more information on the Kris Murray Child Care Marketing Solutions, please visit:
Written By: Katie Baker