The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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August 13, 2013

(VIDEO) Okee Dokee raises awareness for Parent Aware

Grammy-winning kids act performs at day care

(Continued)

Calie Afdahl-Doble, a southern Minnesota quality coach for Childcare Aware, said she chose Boyer's child care for the Okee Dokee visit because Boyer started out without much knowledge about the program and has been eager to learn and grow.

“I'm just so glad people can come out and see Shar's place,” she said. “She's doing great.”

Boyer started her day care in November 2010 and after attending an initial information session about Parent Aware, took some time to decide if it was right for her before filling out her application. She knew it would be a lot of time and work.

“I decided, 'You know what? This is going to be a good thing for me,'” she said.

After the evaluation process and a great deal of training, Boyer received a one-star rating out of four in January. Afdahl-Doble said earning one star is not negative; it just indicates where the provider is at in the process. Also, one-star programs have access to resources, training and improvement-support dollars to help better their programs.

Boyer said she was eager to learn all she could, and she plans to continue on in the process of gaining stars with each renewal. Doing so requires such things as additional training and adding certain pieces of curriculum to the daily schedule, including everything from academics to physical activity.

Boyer said she's already incorporated all kinds of learning pieces from her Parent Aware experience, including good nutrition and exercise. Adding in the school-readiness elements has been rewarding, she said.

“I had a 5-year-old girl in the summer who didn't know her colors,” Boyer said. “By the time she went to school, she knew her colors.”

Parent Aware is a free service, focusing on quality early learning, that helps families find and select child care and early education programs. The star-rating tool began as a pilot program in 2007 and will be expanded statewide by 2015.

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