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Director seeks academic change

December 12, 2005|by DAVE McMILLION

SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.VA.

charlestown@herald-mail.com

Caroline Cardwell, the new executive director of Shepherdstown Day Care Center, has plenty to consider as she begins her tenure.

The local day care center along River Road is a popular facility and there are waiting lists for all ages.

To help the center deal with growth, a new wing is being constructed that will give the center two more infant classrooms, two additional 2-year-old classrooms, a resource center and other facilities, Cardwell said.

At the same time, Cardwell said she wants to see changes in academics at the center.

Cardwell said she wants the center to focus more on assessing skill levels of children to optimize their learning experience and expand training for teachers, such as art education.

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Cardwell took over as exective director in September, replacing longtime director Ruth Brown, who retired April 29.

Cardwell has experience in serving special-needs children, and before coming to the center, she was a family therapist with Family Preservation Services in Martinsburg.

Cardwell's job at Family Preservation Services involved helping families deal with child medical diagnoses related to mental health.

Cardwell also worked with special-needs children at Fort Ritchie and was program director for the infant/toddler program at Citicorp Family Center.

Cardwell said one of the reasons she was attracted to the Shepherdstown Day Care Center was because of the commitment of teachers to the facility.

The tenure of teachers at the center ranges from five years to 20 years, which is rare in the business, Cardwell said.

"The turnover in day cares is just horrendous," Cardwell said.

Cardwell is not only an educator who helps families deal with special needs of children, but she experiences the issues first-hand.

Cardwell's youngest child, a 2-year-old daughter, has Down syndrome and Cardwell brings her to work because she values the stimulation she experiences at the center.

Cardwell said working with young children as they start to develop has always been something to which she's been drawn.

"I get so much from them. I'm just fascinated by them and how they learn," Cardwell said.

The Shepherdstown Day Care Center is popular partly because it is the only day care center in the county which offiers its services to parents based on their ability to pay.

The center's fees start at $90 a week, Cardwell said.

The center accepts children from 3 months old to 10 years old.

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