Camp Allyn program receives its second star

January 16th, 2009    Author: Staff Report    Filed Under: News

Stepping Stones Center’s preschool program at Camp Allyn in Batavia has received its second star, joining a select club of only 135 preschools in the state to have two-star ratings.

The Ohio Step Up to Quality voluntary childcare rating system was initiated by the Ohio Department of Job and Family services barely two years ago.

The rating program is designed to improve the quality of early childhood education and to give parents a tool to help them select quality childcare providers.

"Step Up to Quality recognizes programs that want to be above average," said Melissa Sabo, coordinator of the Stepping Stones preschool program at Camp Allyn and a licensed early childhood teacher. "People are getting more familiar with the rating system and more parents are looking for the stars."

The state rating system recognizes programs that meet benchmarks above the basic state licensing requirements. Star-rated programs must have low child-to-staff ratios, meet high standards for programming and environment and maintain strong levels of staff education and ongoing training.

Out of 4,263 licensed child care facilities in the state, 135 have reached the two-star status and only 75 have reached the highest level - three stars, according to Julie Hermes, Step Up to Quality licensing specialist with the state program. The rating system is voluntary. Parents can find star-rated programs at the Web site www.stepuptoquality.org.

Sabo said the Stepping Stones program at Camp Allyn plans to apply for Three Star status in 2009.

The program is on the 47-acre Camp Allyn in Batavia, which is owned by the Rotary Club of Cincinnati. The preschool program includes music therapy and swimming - in an outdoor pool during the summer and at the heated indoor pool at Stepping Stones Center's Indian Hill campus during the winter.

The natural setting is especially appealing, said Ms. Miller. The grounds include fishing lakes and nature trails. Last summer the preschoolers watched tadpoles develop and then set them loose in the lake. The programs are open to typical children as well as those with disabilities.

The Preschool program at Camp Allyn is one of two preschool programs offered by Stepping Stones Center. A preschool and toddler program at the Stepping Stone Center in Indian Hill has one star and is planning to apply for its two-star review in 2009.

Stepping Stones Center is a 45-year-old United Way partner agency serving children and adults with all levels of all disabilities, including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, learning delays, multiple disabilities and medically fragile conditions.

Year-round toddler and preschool programs are open to children with and without disabilities, with programs at Camp Allyn, 1414 Lake Allyn Road, Batavia, and at Stepping Stones Center, 5660 Given Road, Indian Hill, near Rt. 50.

Flexible schedules allow parents to enroll for the year, for the summer, or for specific days or months.

Stepping Stones programs include music therapy and adapted aquatics. The Olympic-sized heated pool at the Indian Hill site also is available to the community for warm water fitness classes, lap swimming and open swim times.

For information on all Stepping Stones programs, enrollment, fees, financial assistance, or volunteering, contact Stepping Stones Center at (513) 831-4660 or see the Web site www.SteppingStonesCenter.org.

For information on the Camp Allyn preschool, contact Melissa Sabo at Stepping Stones Camp Allyn, (513) 732-0240 ext. 12.
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