New Childcare Offered for Durango 9R Staff


Elena Parmenter, Reporter

You may have noticed the addition to our hallways alongside the Early Childhood Development class: the new learning center for children of 9R staff located here at DHS. All children of the staff of the 9R School District are able to attend, which provides staff with an accessible option for childcare while also providing a hands-on learning experience to students who are enrolled in the Early Childhood Development class.

The learning center offers care for both infants and toddlers, where teachers focus on improving basic skills while also providing a fun and relaxed atmosphere for the children.

Another goal of the center is to not only provide care but to be a high quality facility.

“We follow Colorado Gold Teaching Standards. I try to stress development and growth with my teachers so everything they do is meaningful,” said Lyn Riley, the coordinator of the Early Childhood Development Program.

Daily activities are based around improving “social and emotional development,” while also including “art, science, and math activities,” said Riley.

Accompanying the learning center will be a new class called Introduction to Early Childhood Development, where DHS students can learn basic skills for caring for young children.

“They will observe how children learn and behave, find approaches for relating to young children, and plan developmentally appropriate curriculum,” said Kenra Bonnell, the new teacher for the Early Childhood Development class.

Another problem for parents is finding an affordable and accessible daycare. The new addition of the learning center has provided high standard care that can help staff find ways for their children to be taken care of while on the job.

“It makes it easier being at work when you have an option like this,” said Kristin Kramer, a 9R employee who has a child enrolled in the program.

Introduction to Early Childhood Education provides a way for students to directly interact with young children while also being able to get experience in the workforce as a young adult.

By completing the two courses of Early Childhood Education, students can “apply for employment at an early childhood center as a teacher aide,” says Bonnell.
This is a great course for students who are interested in working with kids after high school, and provides certification without having to take the class in college.  “If [students] are interested in going into early childhood education careers they are getting hands-on practice,” said Riley.

Students are also given many hands-on experiences and also interact directly with the kids, doing things like a “physical game, exercise, or dance,” Bonnell says.

Although the learning center was an ambitious and unique idea, it paid off. “I really couldn’t be more happy with the program,” says Kramer.  

“By working with a head teacher, students learn collaboration techniques and gain insights as they become more aware of who they are in the lives of children,” says Bonnell.
The addition of the new learning center and Early Childhood Education course offer an unconventional learning experience that may come as a surprise to some, but prove they provide many benefits to the students at DHS and our 9R staff.