Prince George’s County Child Care Center Expands, Credits Growth to Maryland EXCELS

Kay Dabiri has spent more than a decade making a positive impact on the lives of many families and children in Prince George’s County.

Previously a manager at a local gym, Dabiri said she fell into the child care profession when she became a mom to two young children and had the opportunity to stay at home with them. She is now a mom of eight children and a successful business owner of KayCares in Bowie for 13 years.

Dabiri plans to open a new center in Fort Washington, which will serve about 75 children.

She credits her program’s success and growth to Maryland EXCELS her management and business experience, and the support of her loving husband.

Maryland EXCELS

KayCares has participated in Maryland EXCELS since 2015, and is currently published at a Quality Rating 3. Dabiri plans to work toward higher levels as she pursues accreditation.

“Before I was with Maryland EXCELS, I kept hearing about all of the money I was missing out on. Maryland EXCELS showed me where I had room to grow,” she said.

She said that one of the challenging but rewarding processes of Maryland EXCELS was putting her thoughts on paper.

“Maryland EXCELS really opened my eyes to the importance of [doing this]. It’s important to put things in writing, not only to cover my bases, but to help my staff and my families better understand our program,” she said.

Dabiri recently overhauled her personnel and family handbooks. She said she couldn’t have done it without the support of Maryland EXCELS, but particularly her Program Coordinator, Julie Hess.

“I know that my staff knows how things work, and they know what I expect of them, but through this experience, I learned that if/when I have new staff, they will need guidance. My handbook will be important as new staff learn those areas of my program,” she said.

Dabiri also said the support she’s had through Maryland EXCELS has helped her to be a better mentor and coach to her staff.

“My staff is like family, and I’m really proud of that,” she said. “By having such a wonderful staff, I’ve been able to let go and focus on other things like Maryland EXCELS, networking, and attending conferences.”

Business and Management

Coming from a management background has helped Dabiri to manage competing priorities and juggle the needs of her family and the children in her program. Her personal goals include going back to school for a degree in early childhood education.

“I’ve always loved children,” Dabiri said. “I never knew that I would become a child care provider, but I love what I do.”

Dabiri is enrolled in online courses and credits her ability to focus on education to her husband’s encouragement and her persistence.

“I’m always trying to stay ahead whether it be on my coursework or what my business needs. I work really diligently to get things done,” she said. “My husband is the best man in the world … he’s always been really supportive, and it makes it that much easier to manage everything.”

“I feel really good about where we are going. We want to stand out,” Dabiri said. “We want parents to know what we do, but we really want them to see what we do with the children.”