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Alabama Department of Human Resources Develops New Early Learning Guidelines



Licensed daycares and preschools across the state now have new guidelines put into place for the care of young children. These new guidelines developed by the Alabama Department of Human Resources are a result of collaboration between DHR and various other child advocate offices and their representatives across the state including, but not limited to, the Alabama Head Start Association, State Department of Education, Alabama Partnership for Children, and the Office of School Readiness. These standards are a part of the national education reform effort where every state is required to develop statewide guidelines to promote early learning. Alabama’s Early Learning Guidelines are written to promote continuity of high quality care and learning for children form birth through five years of age. To receive Alabama’s Credential of Certification in these new standards, 18 hours of specialized training in each of the 9 categories of child development in these guidelines are required. On December 11, 2008, Melissa Callaway Moody became the first Preschool Director in Baldwin County to be awarded certification in this new State of Alabama Early Learning Guidelines. Ms. Moody has been the Owner and Director of Discovery Island Child Development Center in Orange Beach, Alabama since its opening. Ms. Moody stated, “It is important to me to offer the highest quality child care I can to the families of South Baldwin County. Being licensed by the State of Alabama assures families that a level of care is being met at Discovery Island as required by the State of Alabama’s Minimum Standards. Because we are licensed, the Center is regularly inspected which is a parent’s assurance that these high standards are being met. My goal of becoming certified in these new Early Learning Guidelines as soon as they were published came from my desire to continue to do everything I can to keep Discovery Island a top quality facility for children’s care and education. We have already put into practice the new developmental guidelines and checklists recommended by these new standards at Discovery Island.​


DISCOVERY ISLAND CELEBRATES 10TH YEAR WITH 3 PERFECT INSPECTIONS



In June, within 2 weeks time, Discovery Island was "visited" by three of the agencies that are allowed entry the Center for the purpose of inspections and received perfect scores from each. The Baldwin County Department of Health visited first grading the Center with a 100 for their quarterly inspection. Later that same day the Auditor for the USDA's Federal Food Program arrived to inspect the records and meal service of the Center. The Center provides meals for the children of the Center and participates in the same food program as the public school system. This is a family's assurance that their child is receiving healthy and appropriate portioned meals while at the daycare. After 2 days of inspecting records and observing the Center, the Auditor gave Discovery Island their department's designation of "no exceptions found" in their observance of the program. This is the same as no errors or a perfect score. A few days later the licensing agent from the Department of Human Resources arrived to conduct a full classroom and records inspection of the Center for the purpose of approving the re-licensing application submitted by DI. The licensing agent left the Center approving the license and noting "no discrepancies on site" which is the Department's perfect inspection. 10 years ago Melissa Callaway Moody, owner and director of the Center, recognized a need for licensed daycare options for families in the area and began Discovery Island Child Development Center. Her goal has always been to not only meet the Minimum Requirements of a licensed daycare, but to excel at them and exceed them. Since opening their doors the Center has graduated 172 preschoolers on to elementary school. Each of these preschoolers were equipped with a solid education foundation taught by a teacher who held a college degree in education. With their 10 year anniversary approaching, Discovery Island's very first preschool class will be starting their first year of high school this year. Ms. Melissa states "It has been a blessing to be a part of so many children's and families' lives over the past 10 years. We would like to thank all the families we have served for allowing us the honor of being a part of their children's lives. We would also like to that the community, the public school system, and both cities for all their support of what Discovery Island is doing. We are proud of our recent perfect inspections and our ongoing record. We are also proud and thankful to be celebrating out 10 year anniversary on June 29th. We eagerly look forward to continuing to try to do our best for the young children of our community."​




December 17th, 2008