Family childcare spotlight series


August 31, 2017


My name is Facethia “Mrs. Penny” Hogue, and I am the owner and operator of Penny’s Playhouse Child Care, a State Licensed family child care program in Mobile, Alabama. My program is licensed for 5 children, ages 6 weeks to 12 years.  

I am a Nationally Accredited family child care provider through the financial support of Auburn University’s Family Child Care Partnerships (FCCP) program. I am an Accreditation Observer, Conference Presenter and Self-Study Ambassador through the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC). I have a CDA Credential and I am a CDA Professional Development Specialist through the Council for Professional Recognition. I am the State Chaplain for the Alabama Family Child Care Association (ALFCCA), and President of our local Gulf Coast Family Child Care Awareness Alliance (GCFCCAA).

In 2015 I became partners with the Alabama Department of Human Resources Child Care Services Division and Auburn University’s B.E.S.T. Early Head Start program to provide Early Head Start for children zero to three years old in my family child care home. 

I have two Associate degrees in Early Childhood Education and my CDA Credential that I obtained through the financial support of Smart Start Alabama T.E.A.C.H scholarships. I have a certification in Child Advocacy Studies, a Bachelors and Master’s degree in Early Childhood Development and I am currently pursuing a Doctorate in Early Childhood Education. 

I became a family child care provider in 1987 because I needed to work after having my fourth son. My husband and I visited several child care programs in my area and we quickly realized that I would be working to pay child care fees. Therefore, I decided to open a family “day care” program that would be fun for children and affordable to families. I was determined to provide a healthy and safe environment where children could play, learn and engage in educational experiences together. I believe that children learn through play and over the years that I have been a family child care provider, I see the results of learning through play as I monitor each child’s ages and stages of development. “I am so grateful to have so many opportunities to sow seeds of learning into young children.” 

Penny’s Playhouse kids wear uniforms, they have their own personal portfolios that I show to the parents doing parent-provider conferences, and weekly home “play” (not homework) folders that the children take home to continue learning through play with their parents. We eat family-style meals that the children enjoy because they can serve themselves. We play “old school” games like hopscotch, kick ball, four square and red light, green light, etc. 

My goal is to continue to provide quality child care for children through hands-on experiences, peer interactions, developmentally appropriate activities and self-selected play. Our curriculum and lesson plans consists of but are not limited to activities from Gee Whiz, Fun Shine and 1,2,3 Curriculum. The assessment tool that I use for Early Head Start is Teaching Strategies Gold.

Learn Love Childcare

June 30, 2017

Hi! My name is Karene Putney, owner and director of Learn Love Childcare, a family owned and operated childcare in Maryland. I have a wonderful husband and four beautiful daughters aged six, eight, nine, and eleven years old. I have been a childcare provider for six years and counting. 

As a mother of four, I understood the needs of working parents for quality childcare in a loving environment. When I founded Learn Love Childcare, my focus as always been the child first. We teach each child the importance of loving self, and to see themselves as beautiful within, no matter the color of their skin, race, or background. “Children know thyself.” 

Being a childcare provider as taught me so much over the past years. I have learned to communicate with parents to better understand their needs and expectations. Having opening communication is the most effective and important key in keeping the parents happy. You have to love what you do, working with young children is a commitment, and each child is a gift to the parents and a gift to us. 

Our program reaches and teaches each child on their own level, because I understand that each child develops at a different pace. A child in Learn Love Childcare is given the opportunity to be the best kid it can be; “Myself.” 

Nothing puts a smile on my face more than when I see my little ones so happy to see me in the morning.  Learn Love Childcare wants every parent and child who experiences our program to feel the love and see the growth in their child when they leave our program. Our goals are to make sure each child is ready for kindergarten, knows their letters ABC’s, shapes, sounds, communication skills and proper manners skills.

I have so much gratitude towards life, because tomorrow is not guaranteed. Each day I live as if it were my last. So I make sure my family receives my love, and the parents and children in my program receive the love and appreciation I have for them. Because of the parents, I’m able to continue operating a successful childcare program and give back to our community. My plan for the future is to own a larger facility to reach more children and parents who need us. Learn Love Childcare.

Brilliant Futures Daycare and Preschool

April 30, 2017

Brilliant Futures Daycare and Preschool is the place where education and social development go hand in hand.  This innovative Daycare is the brain-child of Angela Salas, an experienced professional with advance degrees and certifications in various fields including Early Childhood, Nutrition, Lactation, and Business.  The Brilliant Futures Child Development (BFCD) program utilizes a high-quality early learn curriculum to support early development through enriching learning experiences.  It is their goal to create the highest quality levels in early care. The quality is evident as the only Nationally Accredited Daycare by the National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) in Bronx, New York. 

BFCD believes that a caregivers’ focus is on the whole child cared within a structure of positive caring relationships.  It caters to parents that understand that secure attachment and early bonding creates the foundation for brain development. According to scientists, “An ‘environment of relationships’, is crucial for the development of a child’s brain architecture, which lays the foundation for later outcomes such as academic performance, mental health, and interpersonal skills” (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child (2004). Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships: Working Paper No. 1. Retrieved from 

Kids are supported in positive relationships with caregivers and peers, and BFCD staff are trained to understand that young developing brains thrive when caregivers are responsive and nurturing.  They enthusiastically promotes cooperation and pro-social skill development.  In addition, BFCD provides nutritious meals and physical activities to nourish young bodies and offer developmentally appropriate learning activities to support children’s cognitive development.  

Brilliant Futures Daycare was created to offer a nurturing home away from home.  The staff thrives in a team approach with a tripod of care system that allows low child-adult ratios.  BFCD works closely with the families to create a home-to-school connection that is crucial for early childhood education.  This team thrives to make symbiotic efforts to bring families closer together creating a large extended family structure.  BFCD offers a social media component where families stay connected through online social interactions. They also plan family get-togethers and events to enjoy each other’s company.

Angela Salas wanted to create a village to help parents raise awesome children.  She believes that by maintaining a tailored focus on developmentally appropriate learning and the whole child, you will raise children with strong foundations and a love for life-long learning. Brilliant Futures Daycare and Preschool is committed to preparing their graduates to meet the challenges waiting for them.

Brilliant Futures believes in its slogan:  “A place for nurturing minds, bright beginnings, and better futures.”

Fairyland Family Child Care

February 28, 2017


My name is Ilse Wilson and I am the proud owner of Fairyland Family Child Care located in Sandy, Utah. Fairyland is a Nationally Accredited, as well as Utah state licensed family child care facility. We are very proud to provide a quality environment for children that meet the highest standards set nationwide.

I have many years of experience in providing early childhood education and care, with a certification in First Aid, CPR and Health & Safety. I am the 2016 Utah Early childhood Teacher of Year and provide a warm, safe, and loving environment where kids can learn, play, laugh and grow. Our mission is to provide hands-on quality care with love and respect that encourages independent learning for future success. 

I grew up on a farm in South Africa, however German is my first language. I traveled from my home country to the USA in 2004 to be a nanny to wonderful families in Colorado and Virginia. I now live in Sandy, Utah with my husband and two sons. In February 2015 I proudly became a US citizen! In my spare time I enjoy photography, and have written, and illustrated two children’s books.

I started caring for and educating children as a nanny in Germany at the age of 18. As this passion grew I studied and in 2008 completed my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education, with director and group certification. I also obtained a degree in Accounting. During my studies I worked and volunteered at different childcare centers, gathering a wide variety of experience. Before opening my family childcare I was the lead preschool teacher in the 4 and 5 year-old class at a preschool in Holladay for two years.

As President of the Professional Family Child Care Association I serve on several boards as a family child care advocate and representative, these include the Department of Health licensing advisory committee, the Office of child care committee, and the Utah Early Childhood Conference committee.

A few extraordinary things about Fairyland Family Child Care program:

1,200 square feet solely dedicated to child care classroom, bedroom, bathroom, and it’s own kitchen.

A very clean and healthy environment!

Preschool taught in accordance with the Utah Core Standards for Kindergarten Readiness.

We are a 3-Star TOP Star endorsed program, and a Let’s Move! Child Care Program

• A fully fenced in, lush and fun Nature Explore certified outdoor classroom. Plus, chickens and a free range bunny outside.

• Five web cams, including an infrared one in the nursery, with private log-in for parents to see what their kids are up to any time of the day!

Heart & Hand Licensed Family Child Care

December 30, 2016


Hello, my name is Kathleen Horsman, I own and operate Heart & Hand Licensed Family Child Care in Platteville, Colorado along with my Husband Paul Horsman, we are a team when it comes to the daily care and operation of our Family childcare home.

We have a large child care license which means we have 12 children ages 6 weeks to 12 years of age at any given time, I am Colorado State director qualified, earned my certification from Colorado State University , and I just received my certification from the State of Colorado Early Childhood Council and Colorado Shines for Early Professional Credential 3. 

We have been in operation since 1989, I take pride in the fact that we are now caring for children of the grown children we use to care for inour child care home, second generation kids, its awesome to be such an integral part of these family’s lives. Our child care home serves a diverse base of children and families, we are an all-inclusive child care home, and our beliefs are based on proven engagement and interaction models. We provide a multitude of age appropriate activities and learning opportunities. Our goal is to provide individualized learning, and provide a safe, child-centered environment within a home setting. 

We also believe children have the right to be accepted, respected and embraced for who they are, children learn best within the context of family, culture and community. We are also the parents of three grown daughters, five beautifulgrandchildren, and one pudgy pug named “Jake”. We enjoy 4-wheeling through the Colorado Rockies, camping, traveling and spending time with family.

Oak Tree Family Child Care

October 30, 2016

Sometimes we treat children like adults and forget how childhood should be: fun. Hello, my name is Fernanda Corella and I opened the Oak Tree Family Child Care in Tucson after becoming a psychologist and having the opportunity of working with children at a kindergarten and also a center for children with special needs. I’m CPR and First Aid trained, have my fingerprint clearance card, and I’m always ready to take any course related to education, safety or psychology.

After working, doing professional practices in different schools and having my daughter attend a child care for a year, I noticed something was missing: their educative program lacked fun activities and games where children could explore the environment throughout the use of all their senses. The environment in this educative institution felt strict and children where told to sit down and listen. School then became boring to them and they just didn’t seem to enjoy the learning process.   

In the Oak Tree Family Child Care, we provide a stimulating environment to children so they can develop properly according to their age and individual necessities. The groups are small and easily supervised so that children get the attention that they deserve. Children are allowed to dance, move, sing and play. The learning program encourages children to explore the environment and learn throughout the use of all their senses. The curriculum includes a lot of fun activities and games as well.

The Child Care isn’t limited to worksheets and a stressful curriculum, but isn’t focused on letting children watch TV all day either. Instead, the Oak Tree Family Child Care offers: Child care (5 children, 1–5 yrs.), Balanced nutrition, Motor and sensory stimulation, Language stimulation, Behavioral skills, Social and learning skills, Independence and empathy, General Cultural knowledge, Pre-school based bilingual program, Fun activities and games.

Children have inspired me to design a program that makes them feel good, because a happy child = happy child care provider and parent. The program is divided in two: a general program (pre-school bilingual curriculum) and an individual program, which is designed according to each child’s age and specific needs.

I’ve always thought that communication is crucial at a school or child care.  At the Oak Tree Family Child Care parents are encouraged to participate in their children’s learning process and are invited to a monthly meeting to discuss and share their child’s needs, improvements and observations. These meetings help maintain communication between the child care provider and parents and also make parents feel relieved and less anxious about leaving their child with someone they hardly know.

From the moment I started working with children, I became a whole new person. It’s amazing how much an adult can learn from a child. Teaching and being a child care provider has been the most beautiful experience I’ve had.

From the bottom of my heart, I want to thank every person that has been part of this magnificent journey, specially my father, husband, daughter, and my mother whom I know is watching from a better place and is very proud of my achievements. Thank you mom for showing me how to work hard and never give up.

Bright Beginnings Family Child Care

September 1, 2016

Hi! I’m Julia Bardsley, owner of Bright Beginnings Family Child Care.

I have a B.S. in Business and always considered opening my own business, though I never dreamed that it would be a childcare program. My husband is active duty military, and our oldest son was born in 2011 while my husband was deployed. I didn’t have the heart to leave him while my husband was still away, so I decided not to return to work. In 2012, my husband’s career moved us to Ft Gordon, GA. After our move, we decided to find childcare so that I could return to work. We enrolled him in a military-licensed family childcare home, but he wasn’t having it. The separation anxiety was more than anyone could handle, so I decided to quit my job and withdraw him from care after just 4 weeks. His provider at the time suggested I look into becoming a provider through the military myself, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. 

Since opening my home in 2013, I have earned a degree in ECE, (thanks to the Georgia Bright from the Start Scholarship program), earned my CDA, become nationally accredited by the NAFCC, and I’m currently working on becoming Quality Rated by the state of Georgia.

I have faced some adversity, and have found a loud voice within myself to stand up for this amazing profession. New military regulations shut down my program in 2015 due to no fault of my own. A security office lost my security clearance paperwork not once, not twice, but three times! Because my paperwork was not processed in time, I lost one month’s income. Feeling helpless, but not one to sit by idle, I wrote a letter to my senator, congressman, and the Secretary of the Army. One quiet Friday evening, I received a phone call from the head of security for the Army and spent the next few hours outlining all of the ways the system had failed me. Fortunately, or rather unfortunately, I was informed that I had had by far the worst experience with the new system, but I was able to affect change to prevent this from happening to others.

I believe that children learn by interacting with their peers and adults around them, carrying out independent tasks on their own, being physically active, and manipulating the materials in order to discover their environments.

In my home, children are given the tools to be independent and successful, they are given consistent messages about what behaviors are acceptable, they are encouraged and shown appreciation for their contributions, and their feelings are acknowledged.

We spend our days exploring our dedicated play space, the outdoors, and our community. I provide developmentally appropriate activities through Teaching Strategies Gold based on the children’s interests. I also plan our experiences in line with the Georgia Early Learning and Development Standards (GELDS) in order to cover a variety of developmental competencies.

As a military spouse, I understand the apprehension that comes with entrusting your child to an unfamiliar person, in a brand new city, away from loved ones. I have made early childhood care my passion and continually seek ways to advance my education, both formally and through community involvement. I plan to make this a lifelong career that will follow my family wherever the military sends us.

Babies 2 Kids Learning Center

June 30, 2016

I am Tracy Ehlert. I have owned and operated Babies 2 Kids Learning Center in Cedar Rapids, Iowa since 2007. Babies 2 Kids Learning Center is a State Registered, NAFCC Accredited, QRS 5 program that I run out of a dedicated space in my home. Also in my home you will find my husband, my two children (ages 9 and 17) and our 3 rescue dogs.

Along with a business degree, I also have a Bachelor’s Degree in Early Childhood Education. Currently, I am working on a Master’s degree in Early Childhood Education through Walden University. The CDA I earned, along with my ECE associates degree and my ECE bachelor’s degree were made possible due to Iowa T.E.A.C.H. who helped me not only financially but with many personal supports as well.

Some of my current commitments include, being on the board of my local Association for the Education of Young Children, and for the past two years have been the Co-Chair for the CR-AEYC Annual Blastoff. I am on my states QRS Oversight Committee, my states Early Childhood Workforce Alliance Committee and am a National T.E.A.C.H. Alliance Advisory Council member. I am a NAFCC Self Study Ambassador and a Terri Lynne Lokoff Ambassador, a Continuing Education Instructor for Kirkwood Community College, a trainer for CCR&R and for some other area early childhood organizations. In addition, I am a volunteer for Save the Children Action Network and Young Parents Network, where I am the Preschool Room Child Care Coordinator and a Ready to Read Facilitator. In 2015 I also received two very big honors-a Terri Lynne Lokoff/Children’s Tylenol National Child Care Teacher Award and was named December 2015 Provider of the Month by Child Care Aware of America.

Educating and working with children has always been something I was interested in, but never felt smart enough to do. I actually just coincidentally fell into this field without much though and it was the best thing to ever happen to me. I cannot see myself ever leaving the world of early childhood. With each new committee I join or each new training I present I learn so much and about so many different areas that surround early childhood.  Being a home provider does not mean that you just have to stay in your home and only care for kids (although one of my favorite parts of being an Early Childhood Professional…), there are so many professional opportunities out there for home providers to be a part of.

I am very fortunate to have been given all these great learning opportunities. I really think that along with the formal education I have received, and mentoring from CCR&R and my local PACES to Quality team, these opportunities have really helped me become a higher quality provider. Learning more about all the different areas that make up early childhood education just gives you so much more insight and is always making me set new goals.

One of my favorite quotes is Maya Angelou’s “do the best you can until you know better, when you know better, do better”. And that is pretty much my daily philosophy. Furthering my education both formally and by being involved and advocating for children has allowed me to continue to keep “doing better”. By doing better daily and continuously using Developmentally Appropriate Practices along with Best Practices in a hands-on environment that is easily adaptable to whatever group of children, (a perk of home child care is designing your own program, within state regulations of course) I have shown that high quality care can (and does) exist within home child care settings. I can’t wait to continue to see more of them in the spotlight through Family Childcare magazine!

TLC Daycare, LLC

May 1, 2016 

I, Sandy Hook, and my daughter, Jolene Klarer (JoJo), make-up our small licensed family daycare in Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin; together we have twenty years of working with and caring for young children and elderly adults.  TLC Daycare, LLC has eight children almost every day.  We have a pretty wide age range of children that come to us; our youngest thus far was three months old, and the oldest was eight years.

We do lots and lots of playing.  Over the five years of being daycare providers; we see that playing with our little ones is very important.  They learn so much!  We do use “Clifford’s My Big World” for our curriculum.  This gives us a magazine with different topics every two weeks.  We read the magazine together and do the activities that are provided; then we watch the one to five minute video that comes along with the magazine through the website.  We read books about the topic and put projects together to do with the children. We then send home the magazine and the projects we have completed at the end of the two weeks.  Our TV time is very limited.  We watch TV for fifteen to thirty minutes on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  If the weather has been really cold or rainy and we can’t get outside for a stretch of time, we sometimes watch a movie for a special treat.  We play with playdoh, water beads, Magna Tiles and have music and dance time.  In music time our children have learned “The National Anthem” and during dance time we have learned to do the “Chicken Dance”.   We love to go on walks. Baking cookies for our neighbors that we see when we are out walking is also a fun activity for us to do.  Taking walks is an easy way to get children asking questions; there is so much to talk about on a walk.  One of the children’s favorite things to do is create a monthly bulletin board.  We pick a theme and then they; color, paint, glue, etc. to make all the pieces.  When all the pieces are complete we put them on the bulletin board to see what we have created.

The ten hours a day we spend together makes us really become one big family.  Within our family we have had a lot of children with no siblings, so for these children learning to share, take turns and share adult time with other friends is a big transition.  Manners are very, very important at TLC Daycare, LLC.  When the kids do something wrong we ask them to say “sorry” and then the one receiving the apology says “apology accepted!”  We are sure you can all imagine how this conversation sounds between the children!  Communicating with the parents is also very important.  We send a daily report and a monthly newsletter to all parents.  We have a website and a Facebook page. 

We believe that by playing with and having our children ask questions; our children are learning what they need to be successful in school.  With every new baby or child that starts at TLC Daycare, LLC we are so excited to teach and watch them grow up and become little people!  We want to leave you with one thought:

Teach your kids to ask questions.  When they’re asking questions, they
are learning!

Zasty’s Family Child Care

March 1, 2016 


I am Leah Zastoupil, owner of Zasty’s Family Child Care since April 2005.  I have been married for over nineteen years and have two children, ages 16 and 14.  My in home daycare is about 1000 square feet of the lower level of my home and is strictly business usage. 

I have an associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education as well as my Administrative Credential through Northeast Wisconsin Technical College, which I was able to use the Teach Scholarship program in order to pay for my tuition.  I am the Vice President of South Central Association for the Education of Young Children and the Region 16 Board Member and Co-conference Chair for Wisconsin Family Child Care Association.  I am a registered trainer for the Registry and a cooperating teacher with Blackhawk Technical College’s practicum students to mentor them through their Early Childhood Education classes.

Over the years, I have developed a passion for doing well in the Young Star Rating system.  I was a pilot for the trainers to learn from before the system went into effect, rated the first two years as a four star program and rated a five star program the past three years.  This last five star rating was in the highest percentage of the state of Wisconsin’s rating system with a score of 6.28 and 38 points out of the 40 possible.  It is something that I am very proud of!  For me, it’s not all about the score, but the reasons behind it to run my program the best way that I am able to.  In order to align with the FCCRS requirements, I am much more aware of the why’s and how’s of each of the section to be able to raise the quality of my day to day practices, safety and environment.  I feel that incorporating the suggested requirements has benefited my program, my daycare families and my enrolled children in many ways over the years. 

Every year, I set goals for myself in what I want to improve on in my business.  This year, I am working towards improving my marketing strategies in my community, and better family engagement practices.  I have always had great working relationships and communication with my daycare families, but with researching family engagement practices, my parent involvement has jumped up a great deal and it has been very nice to have the extra support.  Marketing was my final project for my Administrative Credential so I am putting that work to good use as well.

Kids Are Us Family Child Care

February 1, 2016 

Hi! My name is Tammy Dannhoff.
I own and operate Kids Are Us Family Child Care  in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.  I have been in the Early Childhood field for 29 years and operating my licensed child care center for 26 years. In 1989 while employed as a manager of a local chain restaurant, my husband and I were looking for quality, affordable child care for our own children.  After visiting and researching several centers we determined that none met our expectations, so I decided to venture into the Early Childhood field and opened my licensed home child care center in January, 1989. 

After a few years I realized I really loved what I was doing and wanted to learn more for my own personal benefit as well as for my students and parents.  So I went back to college and earned my Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education.  In August of 2000, we made a big leap and opened a group center and operated it for five years.  I realized I didn’t like being “the boss” and really missed being with the children.  Additionally, we learned we simply could not offer the high quality I had become accustomed to in my home center. So we closed in August, 2005 and reopened Kids Are Us Family Child Care, that same month.  I am back to doing what I truly love; Family Child Care and helping children play, learn and grow! 

I have always prided myself on staying up to date on Early Childhood issues and a few years ago started transitioning my program to a play based program. I strongly feel that children need to do things on their own with minimal guidance. That is how they develop their imaginations and learn the skills needed to navigate daily life. Don’t get me wrong, we do educational activities every day. I have learned to let our activities be child led! It is amazing to see how children can be self determined and self reliant. Two virtues my husband and I fear are missing in more “structured” programs.My husband Allyn and I have been married for 31 years. We have two adult children, Zachary and Heather, and two grandchildren, Morgen, 4, and Wesley, 2. We also are the parents to 2 Saint Bernards, Korbel and Rayne, and many more dogs, cats, and other family pets along the way.

I enjoy boating, camping, maintaining flower beds, quilting, wool appliqué and spending time with family and friends.

Probably the highest reward I will ever receive in this career is that my students are successful in life. I am most grateful for having been a part of their success.


Start by reading the examples above. This will give you a good idea of the story length (up to 500 words), and what to include. Start off with your name, your program's name, number of children enrolled, and location. Follow with a brief professional/educational background, and how you came to be a family childcare provider. The main part of your Spotlight profile should focus on what makes your program interesting and unique. Finish with a short summary and a few personal details, and/or your plans for the future. Please include at least one good photo, two or three are preferred.

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