Provider Spotlight: Garrett County Provider Commits to Continuous Quality Improvement to Transform Program

Family Child Care Provider Rebecca Ashby has cared for children for 15 years. The Garrett County resident has nurtured many children ages six weeks to kindergarten age.

Devoted to the children and families in her program, Ashby learned about an opportunity to increase the quality of care she provided by completing training offered by Maryland EXCELS. She dedicated herself to the education that would benefit her and the children she cared for.

Ashby worked with her Quality Assurance Specialist and the Garrett County Judy Center to quickly achieve a quality rating of 4. She also became accredited by the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) in 2017.

Before starting her journey with Maryland EXCELS last year, Ashby faithfully taught the children in her Little Ones Day Care their colors, numbers, and letters. However, she didn’t fully understand the nuances of lesson planning or creating schedules.

“I can [now] prove that I’m a quality [child] care provider to families,” Ashby said. “I can tell parents when they call that, yes, we follow structured lesson plans and a curriculum. You’re not just having your kids here to be babysat all day, and they’re actually learning.”

The families in Ashby’s program encouraged her throughout her training and are thrilled with her achievements. They also noticed how she incorporated what she learned into her daily schedule with the children.

“I didn’t go to college. It was…harder for me. I had to work really hard to achieve what I have,” she said. “It’s nice to know that I put a lot of work into this and that I’m being recognized for it. And it’s good to be respected for this–it feels good. My parents know what I’ve done and the hard work I’ve put in.”

Ashby is particularly proud of becoming accredited by NAFCC with the help of the Judy Center and Maryland EXCELS. She also completed over 100 hours of training within a year and acquired the necessary materials, including age-appropriate books and blocks, to improve the quality of her child care.

After she completed the required classes and finished a day-long interview and observation, she waited about two months before receiving the good news that she was accredited.

“I was very excited. It was a relief. Total relief,” Ashby said.

Ashby is continuing her journey of ongoing quality improvement as she works toward achieving a quality rating of 5.

“These kids inspire me every day, and I hope I inspire them to learn every day. It’s just a joy to see them from birth to school. I think, ‘Wow.’ I just want to continue doing that.”

Ashby’s Maryland EXCELS goals reflect what she strives to accomplish as a provider: to continue giving the children in her care a high-quality educational experience and foundation in their early years.