Sargent Early Learning Center receives five-star rating

Photo courtesy of Sargent Early Learning Center The Sargent Early Learning Center staff takes pride in receiving a five-star rating through the Colorado Shines rating.

MONTE VISTA — Sargent Early Learning Center recently received a five-star rating through the Colorado Shines rating from the Colorado Office of Early Childhood.

Five stars is the highest possible score in this system. Sargent is one of only two preschools in the San Luis Valley, and one of only 99 (out of over 4,000 licensed centers) in the entire state, to earn this prestigious rating.

The rating is awarded based on excellence in workforce qualifications, family partnerships, leadership/management/administration, learning environment and curriculum, and child health.

This rating is a testament to the commitment of the center to provide a high-quality learning environment that supports the development of children.

“I have been working at the Center for 12 years,” said Kathy Banhagel, who is a teacher and assistant director at the center.“This year, even though we had many hurdles to jump over, we, under the leadership of Marcia Mangan, were able to push ourselves ever harder and achieved a 5 out of 5 Quality Rating. With the guidance and support of Marcia, we have been able to overcome so many obstacles during this trying time and excelled during our rating. We appreciate Marcia for all she has done for us.”

Marcia Mangan, director of the Center, added, “Our Level 5 would not have been possible without the love and dedication of all the teaching staff and the support of the SELC Advisory Board. A Level 5 is a proud moment for all of us as we strive to do our best each and every day for the families we have the pleasure of serving.”

Sargent Early Learning Center is a preschool-daycare in Rio Grande County that provides services for children aged 1 to 5 years old. The preschool is licensed for up to 56 children at a time.

This preschool follows the Creative Curriculum which is a research-based curriculum endorsed by the Colorado Department of Education. This curriculum is designed to foster social/ emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development and to enhance learning in literacy, math, science, social studies, the arts, and technology.

The mother of children who attends Sargent Early Learning spoke glowingly about the program.

“I am a current parent of children who attend Sargent Early Learning Center,” the parent said. “For the last 4 years, I have struggled to find a local center who I feel comfortable leaving my children with, having them work with hours that work with me, and welcoming us with open arms like a family. Until I came across SELC almost a year ago. It was the best decision I made as a mother to enroll my 4-year-old and 2-year-old. I have been nothing but happy and satisfied with how they treat my children and how much my children have learned thus far. I always feel welcomed by the director, the teachers and all the staff there. I am confident when I drop my children off and when I pick them up. They constantly talk about how they have fun and the new things they learn. I highly recommend SELC for any childcare needs. I am so proud to be a part of such a wonderful learning center.”

Sargent Early Learning Center began nearly 30 years ago as a small daycare program to help care for migrant children in the area who had nowhere to be while their parents worked.

Originally, the center was housed in the Sargent Community Church and ran by Beth Dillon through the Home Economics Department of Sargent High School. After a few years, Dillon pursued Colorado Preschool Program funding channeled through the school to allow for free half-day preschool slots.

In 2004, the center changed from an LLC to a nonprofit allowing for grant funding to build the preschool building where the center is located today. Sargent Early Learning Center has maintained high Colorado Shines ratings since its beginnings and maintains a caring, professional staff that helps childrendevelop skills through play, music and movement, school readiness activities and learning centers.

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