Owings Facility Named #2 National Child Care Center of the Year

PRINCE FREDERICK, Md. (April 28, 2008) – Entering the three-year-olds’ room at Prime Time Children’s and Youth Activity Center in Owings, Md., is like being swallowed up in a watery ocean world of imagination, color and wonder. Each room at the Center is decorated with a special theme that inspires play and creativity for the youngsters; for three-year-olds, the theme is “under the sea.”

Owner and Center director Brenda Tyrrell greets the children this morning and 15 slightly messy faces look up from their morning snack of Pop-Tarts and milk to sing-song their good morning to “Miss Brenda.” Tyrrell beams. “This is what it’s all about,” she says. “We’re raising our future leaders here and we want this to be a place that feels like home and prepares them for a lifetime of learning.”

Tyrrell and her crew have much to be proud of these days. In February, they were notified they had been selected as a finalist for 2008 National Child Care Center of the Year to be bestowed at the annual conference of the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP) in New Orleans.

On April 17, Tyrrell was pleased to learn they had won second place. “Of course, I would have preferred first place, but since this is only our first year with the association and it is a nationwide honor that required in-person verification by a member of the Association, we’re still very happy with our placement. To me, it’s a pat on the back – an important affirmation from professionals in our field that says we’re doing a good job here.”

The award is given to a child care center that best demonstrates the association’s beliefs in strong curriculum development, knowledge of early childhood education, best business practices, family interaction, creativity, leadership, community efforts and professional development. NACCP is a 1,700-member association based in Austin, Texas, with members throughout the United States and Canada.

But Prime Time and its staff are no strangers to recognition and awards. In 2005, they received the 17th Annual Child Care Challenge Award sponsored by the Women Legislators of Maryland; in 2007 they were re-accredited by the Maryland State Department of Education and the National AfterSchool Association; and in May 2008, kindergarten teacher Kelly Durnbaugh will receive the Recognition of Superior Effort (R.O.S.E.) from the Maryland State Child Care Association.

This year, Prime Time also celebrates their 20th year of operation. “When we opened the first child care center in Chesapeake Beach, I said we would put Calvert County on the map for high quality child care,” said Tyrrell. “And I think we have done that.”

Tyrrell admits that running a child care center with 49 employees and 200 children is a more than full-time job on most days. But she can think of no other work she would rather do, and could not have done it without support from her family. “Sometimes when I get stressed out,” she says, “I just go out on the playground, stand under a shade tree, close my eyes and listen to the giggles and laughter coming from the children. That’s what it’s all about. That’s why I do this.”

The Center is located at 8816 Donald’s Way in Owings, Md.

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