In the Spotlight: Tender Blessings Accokeek: Family Child Care Program


Owner: Elizabeth Gyermeh

A question asked of many providers is “What inspired you to go into early child care?”  In the case of Elizabeth Gyermeh, owner of Tender Blessings Accokeek, the answer has everything to do with “Mom.”

As a child, Elizabeth’s mother encouraged her to enjoy a variety of simple, natural learning experiences such as riding a bike, playing outside, and just plain getting dirty.  “(Those experiences, along with pursuing a degree in the field of early childhood)… changed my perspective on child education… I realized over those months (during a particular course in college) that there is so much more to the development of a child than teaching them in a classroom,” Elizabeth explains.

When Elizabeth became a mother, she used those childhood opportunities, formal education, and work experience in a center to start her own family child care program.  As it happened, Elizabeth’s mother was doing the same thing.  Though they each began their own business, they worked together to develop a shared philosophy which, “…encourages child development, but allows the children to learn naturally in an environment that marries the best of early childhood education and family dynamics,” Elizabeth states.

Some of Elizabeth and her children’s favorite ways to learn naturally happen outdoors and include the creation of a fall wonderland in her backyard (complete with hay bales, pumpkins and corn stalks), planting and tending of a spring garden, and playing in the wooded area of her yard.  While engaging in these activities, Elizabeth enjoys how the unique abilities and personalities of the children balance each other and how they guide their learning experiences and allow them to share their skills.  A striking example of this is one child in her program who can speak both English and Farsi.  Elizabeth has found that the other children in her program are also using some Farsi words in their everyday interactions.  And, by engaging the child’s mother to coach her, Elizabeth has come to listen for, understand and pronounce several Farsi words, herself.

Thanks to you (and your mom) for creating a place where children can learn through natural exploration and fun!