O’Fallon Early Childhood Center’s Jeri Whyte received the first nominated peer for a Spotlight of Excellence from MOAEYC (Missouri Association for the Education of Young Children). The Spotlight highlights MOAEYC members who are “an inspiration to you and others in the early childhood field” and “go above and beyond all expectations.”
Read the Spotlight below:
“Member Spotlight on Excellence
We are pleased to introduce Jeri Whyte and the O’Fallon Early Childhood Center as our first nominated peer for a “SPOTLIGHT on EXCELLENCE”.
Jeri Whyte opened O’Fallon Early Childhood Center 6 1/2 years ago with the goal of providing high quality care to families who might not otherwise have that option available to them. The center is not currently accredited, but has set this as a goal. Most of their teachers have degrees in early childhood and have been at the center for two to three years, providing consistency and quality learning opportunities.
The OECC curriculum is based on the Reggio Emilia philosophy and the ideas of Project Construct. Teachers are expected to stay up-to-date on current child development research, and in turn, Mrs. Whyte believes in taking care of her teachers. The center participates in the TEACH scholarship program, agreeing to pay 10% of the student/teacher’s tuition.
In order to provide the best experiences for the children, the center looks for opportunities to partner with community agencies. The teachers who care for infants, toddlers and two-year-olds at the center have been working with St. Louis ARCHS on strengthening relationships and interactions in those classrooms. They have worked with Parents as Teachers to provide screening for enrolled children. The center has also participated in the Taking Steps to Healthy Success–Missouri program, is committed to serving fresh, healthy, homemade meals, and uses fresh food from an on-site garden as part of those meals.
Caring for families is the second pillar of the tripod that is the foundation for OECC. Over 1/2 of the center’s families receive state subsidies and during the Covid-19 pandemic, a grant received from United 4 children was used to pay the co-pays for essential workers who needed child care. In addition, the center has provided care for older siblings who have been out of school during the pandemic. A pantry within the center provides food, clothing, personal items and pet supplies for any family (or teacher) who is in need.
The third foundational pillar is community involvement and community service. The Center is a United for Children distribution hub helping St. Charles County child care providers fill their need for PPE and cleaning supplies. The center has collected donations to support the families served by the Salvation Army location in their neighborhood.
Congratulations to Jeri Whyte and her staff for their contributions to the family and children they serve, as well as their community.
Do you know of a person or program that you feel needs to be acknowledged? If so go to our website for more information and nominate them today. “