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Seeing Stars 

The grade on children's programs in Middlebury

Published September 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.

Vermont's Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) helps parents evaluate programs that care for their kids. Sponsored by the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families, STARS assigns star rankings to participating childcare, preschool and after-school programs. Programs must apply to receive a ranking.

The STARS coordinators consider applicants' qualifications and operating policies, then assign them one to five stars. A single star means a program is new or examining its practices and working to improve them; a five-star ranking signifies that an applicant is established and outstanding in all areas.

Parents who meet the state's income-eligibility guidelines may pay less for childcare if they enroll their children in programs with three, four or five stars.

Each month, Kids VT publishes an excerpt of the list of STARS participants. This month's issue features the listings from Middlebury. Find more information about STARS, a complete list of rankings and other childcare resources at

Shining Star: Otter Creek Child Center

click to enlarge CALEB KENNA

Each month, Kids VT spotlights one four- or five-star program from the featured geographical area.

150 Weybridge Street, 388-9688

4 stars

Type of program: Year-round childcare center and preschool

Year opened: 1984

Age range of children: 6 weeks to 5 years

Last field trip: The 3- to 5-year-olds in the Eagle classroom visited a farm. They went on a Clydesdale-drawn wagon ride, explored the barn and had a picnic lunch. They loved learning about and petting the big horses.

Favorite outdoor activity: The 2- and 3-year-old Tigers love to walk in the rain. They notice the raindrops, find water-laden leaves, stomp in puddles, and make streams with their boots and sticks. 

Favorite rainy-day activity: The infants in the Sea Pups room play with water inside on rainy days. The teachers fill the sensory table with 1 inch of water and add colored ice cubes, which feel cool and are fun to pick up and toss in the water.

Favorite book: The Journey Home from Grandpa's, by Jemima Lumley, is a favorite among the 1- and 2-year-old Otters. They enjoy phrases such as "bouncy, bumpy road" and "icky, sticky sand."

Most recent staff-development activity: During a recent in-service week, instructors attended a Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment training to improve teaching techniques.


ACSU Early Education Program
201 Mary Hogan Drive, 382-1760 5 stars

Addison County Parent Child Center
126 Monroe Street, 388-3171 5 stars

Addison County Parent Child Center (Playlab)
126 Monroe Street, 388-3171 5 stars

Champlain Valley Head Start
201 Mary Hogan Drive, 382-1478 5 stars

College Street Children's Center
228 College Street, 388-2401 5 stars

Lathrop Daycare
172 Valley View Drive, 388-7271 2 stars

Mary Johnson Children's Center
81 Water Street, 388-2853 5 stars

Middlebury Children's Cooperative (MJCC)
81 Water Street, 388-4394 5 stars

Middlebury School Age Program
81 Water Street, 388-2853 4 stars

Otter Creek Child Center
150 Weybridge Street, 388-9688 5 stars

Quarry Hill School, Inc.
1622 Quarry Road, 388-3622 4 stars

St. Mary's School Foundation Incorporated
88 Shannon Street, 388-2117 1 star

Sunshine Children's Center
13 Washington Street Extension, 388-3866 4 stars

Vermont Adult Learning Day Care Center
282 Boardman Street, Suite 2, 388-4115 5 stars

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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