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Vanderbilt child care centers receive state’s highest quality rating

Aug. 7, 2002, 4:12 PM

August 7, 2002

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vanderbilt’s two child care centers have received three stars, the highest rank, in the first year of Tennessee’s new star-quality program.

The three-star system, based on the three stars on the Tennessee flag representing each of the state’s grand divisions, was introduced in the 2000-01 state legislature, as a way to recognize quality child care programs operating beyond the state’s minimum requirements. The voluntary program evaluates staff training, teacher-child ratios, level of parental involvement and on-site activities. Other standards include health and safety measures, immunizations, sanitation, outdoor play and, since 2000, background checks on all employees.

Currently, there are about 140 children enrolled in the child care program at two Vanderbilt locations, according to Diane Neighbors, director of Vanderbilt Child Care Centers. The centers are open to the children of Vanderbilt faculty, staff and full-time students.

Neighbors said the centers’ small group size, staff benefits and facilities helped them earn the three-star ranking.

“There has to be a balance,” said Neighbors. “The children, they need good care and materials to use; the parents, they need an affordable rate of tuition and the sense of a safe environment; and the staff, they need a good physical work environment and adequate compensation for their work.”