It’s Official: Child Development Center Is ‘Perfect’

Posted: October 26, 2010 at 1:02 am, Last Updated: October 25, 2010 at 1:29 pm

By Aisha Jamil

Tina Morris, Child Development Center director.

For the past eight years, Tina Morris, director of Mason’s Child Development Center (CDC), has worked hard to revamp the preschool to become what she feels is one of the best child care providers in the Northern Virginia area.

Her efforts were validated this past summer when the CDC celebrated its 18th anniversary and passed its state inspection with a perfect score, something that is difficult for daycare centers to do on a first try, according to Morris.

“To keep your license, you have to be inspected every six months, and when they come in, they look at everything from your records to your facilities to your programs, as well as what the children and staff are doing. At the last inspection, everything was perfect,” says Morris. “We were very pleased with that.”

When Morris joined the facility in 2002 as a head teacher, the CDC was located in temporary modules that had been there since 1992. A permanent building for the CDC was on the drawing board, and when Morris became director in 2003, she began to push for the big move to a new building that would provide more space and enable the center to accommodate more children.

“These trailers were supposed to be temporary, and yet they were still there after so many years.  We needed a bigger place for these children, and it was about time,” Morris says.

The new building at 4402 University Drive finally opened in the summer of 2007.

The CDC currently enrolls approximately 120 children ages 2 to 5 and has six head teachers and a support staff. Student interns are also welcome to observe and help out at the center.

The CDC offers Mason students, faculty and staff members a discounted rate for their children.

“Most of our clients are Mason-affiliated,” Morris says.

The CDC recently held a reading day for the children. Photo by Evan Cantwell

The facility has six classrooms and a multipurpose room, which serves as a play area, cafeteria and classroom.

“We sometimes host special programs here like Stretch and Grow, which is an add-on program for the children,” Morris explains.

The CDC also provides an outdoor playground; an extensive library that includes many books on diversity that were provided by a grant from Mason’s Office of Diversity Programs and Services; and a garden where the children can learn about growing plants.

In addition to facilities and services for the children, the CDC has an active training program for its teachers. Anchalee Burbach, the CDC’s workshop coordinator, manages the CDC’s professional development day and also organizes training sessions that educate not only the CDC teachers, but also preschool educators throughout Northern Virginia, about the latest teaching methods and trends for child development.

Morris says she loves her job.

“I like working with children because it’s different and it’s fulfilling. If these kids have a good preschool experience, they are going to have a good elementary school experience. It’s a great job when you work with little ones. You get hugs. And what’s better than getting hugs?”

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