TOWER— The Little Eagles Childcare Center has closed temporarily while the organization seeks a new lead teacher. The center must abide by strict state licensing requirements, which include having a lead teacher on the premises during the bulk of the center’s hours of operations, and without a teacher in place, the center cannot accept students.
The center is currently seeking a new lead teacher, but the hiring process, which includes interviews, background checks, and certification approval by the state Department of Human Services, is likely to take at least a few weeks.
Amy Richter is continuing as center director, on a part-time basis. She had also served as lead teacher for Little Eagles, but has taken a new position with the Head Start program, which prevents her from serving in a teaching capacity at Little Eagles.
“This temporary closure is unfortunate, but we have taken pains to comply with all the state rules in place to ensure a quality experience for the students and families we serve,” said Troy Swanson, board chair for the nonprofit corporation that operates Little Eagles. “We’re not about to cut corners.”
Swanson said the center management intends to have the facility back up and in operation by May, when programs like Head Start, Early Learning Family Education, and Learning Readiness end for the summer. “In the meantime,” said Swanson, “we encourage parents who will be needing summer care to contact us immediately for registration materials and to learn more about financial assistance opportunities.”
Parents of children may qualify for childcare assistance through St. Louis County, or for Early Learning Scholarships for children ages three and four. Eligibility for Early Learning Scholarships includes families earning up to 185 percent of the federal poverty level.
“We can help people negotiate the process of applying for the assistance that is available to help make quality childcare affordable to families,” said Director Amy Richter.
Richter encouraged parents to consider the value of the early childhood enrichment offered by a high-quality, state-licensed facility like Little Eagles. Numerous studies have consistently demonstrated the many benefits of high-quality centers like Little Eagles, which offer students the kind of daily structure that young children benefit from, as well as academic enrichment, socialization, and development of muscle and motor skills.
“Centers like Little Eagles provide much more than child care,” notes Richter. Indeed, the center is being renamed the Little Eagles Learning Center to emphasize the important learning opportunities made available there.
The center first opened in November and has seen a growing number of students enrolled. Little Eagles staff anticipate significant interest from families this summer, so parents are encouraged to register as soon as possible to ensure they will have a space. The center can take no more than 18 children. Once re-opened, the center will be able to accept children ages 16-months to pre-Kindergarten. For more information or for registration materials, contact Amy Richter at 410-7077 or Marshall Helmberger at 753-2950.