United Way funds Day Nursery curriculum

Editor’s Note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

PARKERSBURG – United Way funds allow the Parkersburg Day Nursery to provide state-endorsed pre-kindergarten curriculum to its students.

The United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley provided $13,000 to the Parkersburg Day Nursery this year, said Karen Williams, executive director of the nursery.

The funding is used for many aspects of everyday operations, but it primarily permits the nursery to afford the annually-updated Sunshine Express curriculum for its students, she said.

The Parkersburg Day Nursery provides care to 62 local children from 50 families, Williams said.

The Sunshine Express curriculum is a pre-kindergarten educational system that prepares children for the public educational experience. Starting at age 2, students at the nursery are exposed to the all-encompassing and state-endorsed educational program designed to get the children ready for kindergarten, she said.

For the 2- and 3-year-olds, the Sunshine Express program focuses on self-help skills, as well as letters, numbers and shapes, Williams said. Children from age 4 to kindergarten work through Sunshine Express curriculum to learn how to sight read words, and write their own names, she said.

Both age-groups focus on language development and cognitive development, as well as math, art and science skills through a combination of dramatic play, song, rhyme and entertaining lessons, Williams said.

The program is all-inclusive. Every lesson has all of the needed items included in the lesson boxes, she said. Even all needed art supplies are included in art lessons.

“All the teacher has to do is open the box up and everything they need is in there,” Williams said. “It really goes a long way in allowing us to focus on preparing children for school and teaching them school-readiness skills instead of having to worry if there will be enough to go around,” she said.

Any remaining United Way funding every year is used for the general operation of the nursery, Williams said.

United Way funds help with paying staff salaries and help the nursery to meet the nutritional requirements of its students, Williams said. It also helps to buy needed items, including diapers, wipes, toys, additional educational materials and playground equipment, she said.

The funding that remains is also used to help children of 24 of the 50 families it serves with scholarships offered on a sliding-scale system, Williams said.

The sliding-scale used at Parkersburg Day Nursery allows the nursery to provide reduced fees to qualifying families based on family income and size, she said.

“The United Way funds allow us to help these children learn, grow, and succeed in life,” Williams said. “If not for the United Way funds, we wouldn’t have the state-of-the-art curriculum to offer these children,” she said.