Provider Spotlight: Teresha Sutton

Teresha Sutton headshotTeresha Sutton is a family child care provider in Harford County. Her program, What About the Children, Inc., has a Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating 5 and uses Creative Curriculum, faith-based lessons and activities, collaborations with local organizations, and individualized learning to support children.

Ms. Sutton recently shared her journey as a provider, what she loves about her work, and what Maryland EXCELS has meant for her program.

Q: When did you know this was exactly the kind of work you wanted to do?

A: My journey in the child care profession has been deeply rooted in my passion for nurturing and caring for young children. Throughout my career, I have held various roles in education and child care. I have served as a long-term substitute teacher, classroom assistant and school administrative assistant, allowing me to positively influence and shape young minds of all ages. In 2003, I obtained my license as a family child care provider.

The name “What About the Children” was divinely inspired by the Lord. It carries a promise that I would become a vessel, providing accessible and affordable quality child care services to families in need. My mandate in life is to create safe and loving environments where children can thrive.

family child care room with welcome signQ: Is there one thing about your program that’s most near and dear to your heart? 

A: Many things in my program are near and dear to me, but creating a nurturing and inclusive environment where every child feels loved, valued, and supported comes first. In addition, my program implements a personalized learning approach that tailors activities and lessons to meet each child’s unique needs, interests, and abilities.

Q: Do you have a favorite community partnership or a successful way of engaging families?

A: Harford County’s Opening the Gift program is a fantastic community partnership for our program. Collaborating with a program that encourages families to prioritize reading and the library as part of their family time can have a lasting and positive impact on the children’s education and love for learning.

young children playing outside on inflatable slideQ: What advice would you have for a new provider?

A: A few pieces of advice would be to prioritize safety, build relationships, plan engaging activities, have effective communication, and practice frequent self-care. Child care can be demanding, so prioritize self-care to avoid burnout. Also, provide the best care for the children because each child is unique, and your dedication, patience, and compassion will make a significant difference in their lives. Finally, have fun!

Q: What role has Maryland EXCELS played in your program?

A: Maryland EXCELS has tremendously impacted my personal life and our child care program. The step-by-step model allows you to work at your own pace while enhancing your professionalism. Having a supportive Maryland EXCELS Program Coordinator like Nancy Gumbel makes the experience even more enriching. She helped me reach the highest level and become an accredited program. Nancy’s guidance has played a significant role in my success.