Learning Tree Childcare Center Achieves 5 STARS from State Regulators
Ashley Jowett
/ Categories: NEWS, 2021

Learning Tree Childcare Center Achieves 5 STARS from State Regulators

BENNINGTON, VT—September 29, 2021—The Learning Tree Childcare Center at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), part of Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC), has earned 5 stars from Vermont’s Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS).  STARS participants include registered home providers, licensed children’s centers, school-based pre-kindergarten programs, and school-age programs whose practices and programming exceed the requirements for becoming licensed by the State of Vermont.

“This achievement represents sincere effort and serious commitment from the educators at the Learning Tree,” said Kevin Dailey, SVHC’s vice president of Human Resources, who oversees the center. “It is a testament to the high quality child care our staff at the Learning Tree provides.”

Created and led by the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families, the STARS program is Vermont’s quality recognition system. It certifies childcare centers that are involved in activities that support children, families, and the professionals who work in child care.

“We aim to provide the best possible experiences for children and families,” said Nancy Noel, the center’s director. “The STARS program provides a high standard, and we are proud to meet that standard for our children and their families.”  

Throughout COVID, the Learning Tree focused on expanding staff training, going beyond expectations in answering families’ needs, and ensuring children had lots of time outdoors. Staff completed over 500 hours of professional development and over 10 college classes collectively to achieve a staff-development standard. They answered the community need by opening to school-aged children, when other centers had closed due to COVID.

“Staff really worked hard to train in supporting the social emotional needs of our children and in connecting with parents,” Noel said. “Both of these skills were in high demand over the past year.”

The Learning Tree Childcare Center has been participating in the program since 2010 and has held 5 stars for the past several years.  

“We are so proud of the Learning Tree staff for achieving 5 STARS,” said Thomas A. Dee, FACHE, SVHC’s president and CEO.  “The designation is a direct reflection of the hard work of our staff, their commitment to children and their families, and their ongoing professional development activities.” 

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, healthcare system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.
 
SVMC has earned several prominent distinctions. Most recently, SVMC received the American Hospital Association’s Rural Healthcare Leadership Award for transformational change in efforts toward healthcare reform and its fifth consecutive designation within the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s (ANCC) Magnet Recognition Program®. It ranked fourth in the nation for healthcare value by the Lown Institute Hospitals Index in 2020 and is one of Vermont’s Best Places to Work. SVMC earned an ‘A’ for hospital safety from the Leapfrog Group for two years in a row. During the pandemic, SVMC and both its skilled nursing facilities, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation in Bennington, and the Center for Nursing and Rehabilitation at Hoosick Falls, earned perfect scores on a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services evaluation meant to determine the ability to prevent transmission of COVID-19 and other infections.
 
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559.

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