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New name, new mission for The learning Center

July 16, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

ryant@herald-mail.com

New backpacks and water bottles were the easiest things for parents of the former Surrey Child Care Center to get used to Thursday after the center officially changed its name to The Learning Center in a small ceremony.

The Surrey Child Care Center, at 535 Summit Ave., primarily has been a child-care center for Washington County Health System employees for the past 20 years, Center Director Charles R. Wainwright said.

The Learning Center (TLC) is "a step into the future," Wainwright said. TLC will focus special attention on assessing the cognitive development in children who range in age from six weeks to kindergarten.

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"We're no longer just a day care, just about child-care," said Janis Krauss, a public relations specialist for the health system. "We're about the learning."

Wainwright said that early experiences have been found to have a long-lasting effect on adult capabilities, "for better or worse."

Children's development will be assessed carefully under the new curriculum, he said, because national research shows early development to be so important.

Wainwright said the new mission was a product of research conducted by the National Research Council Committee on Childhood Pedagogy and the Southern Regional Education Board.

"We always knew the early years were important. Now we know exactly why," he said.

For the children of TLC, the new name meant little. They were busy learning sign language in the "CandyLand" room or playing the "Scooby-Doo" video game in the room for kindergartners.

Samantha Moser, 5, who has been with the center for four years, said her favorite parts of the day are "snack time" and "play time."

Jamie Guske, 7, who attended the center through kindergarten, recalls "play time" as being her favorite as well.

Guske had come back Thursday to donate some old "baby books."

Jim Guske, Jamie's father, recalls the center being "very structured," but he said more assessments "couldn't hurt."

More than 230 children use the center daily. Its hours are 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and it is open to the public.

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