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IdahoSTARS continues its project to showcase the accomplishments of the highest quality child care facilities in the State. Meet real-life examples of quality child care, celebrate their successes, and see the possibilities for other child care providers reaching the same goals. 

Please join us in celebrating Annie Fascilla, Director of Giraffe Laugh Preschool in Garden City. Fascilla has earned a Steps to Quality, Step 4 rating, and shares her story of resilience through COVID-19.

In this question-and-answer series with Fascilla from September 14, 2021, learn more about her experiences becoming recognized as a high-quality child care facility:

IdahoSTARS: What are you most proud of about your facility?

Fascilla: That we were able to begin a brand-new program during a global pandemic and manage to get the incredible outcomes we saw with our children by the end of the year. I’m proud of our adaptability, determination, and dedication to ensuring our children were prepared for Kindergarten by the time they graduated from our program.

IdahoSTARS: What are your future goals for your facility?

Fascilla: My main goals for the program are to make it full day, increase the class size, and hire more highly qualified teachers. Our vision for the program is that we provide support and education to the whole family, offering parent education opportunities and using the Strengthening Families Framework.

IdahoSTARS: Can you describe your journey through the Steps to Quality program?

Fascilla: My journey with the STQ program felt fairly simple and straightforward. It definitely took a lot of time and effort, but the program is laid out in a way that takes out all the guesswork and the coaches are very helpful.

IdahoSTARS: What attributes does someone need to be successful in reaching the higher steps of Steps to Quality?

Fascilla: In order to reach the higher steps of STQ, I recommend lots of collaboration. Work with your staff, administrators, and coach(es). It also takes time management, dedication, and above all, organization.

Knowing “success” is not only being measured by step advancement, in what ways other than a step rating have you measured your success in Steps to Quality?

Fascilla: I’ve measured my success by gaining new knowledge that resulted in better outcomes for my students, happier and more satisfied parents, and higher quality teachers. Participating in a program that ultimately increased the quality of my center is the best success of all.

IdahoSTARS: What challenges did you face to reaching the higher steps of Steps to Quality?

Fascilla: One of the most challenging parts of reaching the higher steps was collecting everything necessary for the verification process. While I knew I had been fulfilling the requirements for the higher steps, it was time consuming to collect everything from parent communications to large motor play plans to staff training hours.

IdahoSTARS: How did you overcome those challenges?

Fascilla: I kept a binder full of all the evidence of my participation in STQ. I made sure to collect materials and documents including lesson plans, newsletters, and photos of parent information boards throughout the course of the year, so it was all in the same place for verification.

IdahoSTARS: What motivated you to participate in Steps to Quality?

Fascilla: It is a requirement both for the PDG grant my program participates in as well as for Giraffe Laugh. Giraffe Laugh requires all locations to participate in Steps to Quality to ensure each center is providing high quality care for the community.

IdahoSTARS: In what ways did you utilize regional office or coaching supports to help you increase quality in your facility?

Fascilla: I had frequent meetings with James Ferlisi from our local office. He not only assisted me every step of the way, but also connected me with several other resources within the Idaho AEYC organization. He broke down the requirements for each step and collaborated with me on ways to fulfill each requirement.

Thanks for reading! If you haven’t already, please join our Steps to Quality (STQ) program for free coaching support, a transparent process, eligibility for grants and monetary recognition, and your center name promoted on our website.  Where to start? 1. Login to your RISE account. 2. Select the Help tab. 3. Click on Steps to Quality.