2022 Quality Improvement Program of the Year Award Recipient – Child Care Center:
Hillcrest Children’s Center
Hillcrest Children’s Center has served Anchorage families for 55 years. The center started as a Kindergarten program in 1967 and has evolved to meet the needs of families to provide full-day, year-round services for children from birth through school age.
Today, a parent-comprised Board of Directors govern this non-profit, with Christina Eubanks at the helm as executive director managing the program and staff. Working together, the Hillcrest team makes program decisions based on their values of responsive relationships, inclusivity, and striving to provide the highest quality of care.
Given their commitment to quality, the Board and staff are dedicated to Hillcrest’s participation in Learn and Grow. The center has achieved Level 1 and is actively working towards Level 2. They have embraced the same motto for their work with Learn and Grow as they do with children: “go slow, to go far.” This creates a solid foundation that will sustain the quality improvements that Hillcrest Children’s Center is putting in place.
Over the past year, Hillcrest has diligently sent staff to Learn and Grow trainings and ensures they understand how to implement the material in the classroom. Last semester, six staff members also took college credits! One of the results of the professional development support is that Hillcrest has many long-term employees such as Mr. Jim (40 years), and Ms. Carmen (18 years) as well as the dedication of their lead teachers.
“Human relationships are the foundation of our program, and we believe that learning is best achieved through meaningful play,” says Christina Eubanks. Throughout the past year, Hillcrest has updated their learning environments with creative ways to play and learn. They have also began remodeling the playground with inclusive play at top of mind.
The Hillcrest staff works to build warm, positive relationship with every child and every family. From immediate greetings by name, to genuine conversations centered on the family and child, they strive to have a trusting nurturing relationships.
Like many programs, Hillcrest has been challenged through COVID. They have managed to focus on professional development and the wellness of their staff. In prioritizing these things, they have kept the program open and running throughout the pandemic.
Hillcrest’s goals related to relationships and play are supported by their participation in Learn & Grow, and they have created a beautiful, inclusive learning environment.
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