Ava H. is a Chester County Shining STAR!

Ava H. is a Chester County Shining STAR!Ava is the eldest child of a teen-aged parent. Her small family is supported by the Young Parents Program from the Chester County Intermediate Unit, which provides each family with a caseworker that offers parenting instruction, support, and access to social programs. Because of her family's participation in this program, Ava receives Child Care Works funding, which enables her to attend The Toddler Center. The Toddler Center is a small childcare program that has participated in the Keystone STARS program since 2002 (currently a STAR 3 center) and has a caring, tenured staff.

When Ava arrived at our school as a chubby, happy one-year-old, she was not yet speaking and barely walking. She was immediately immersed in a loving school environment that was rich with language, busy with play, and supportive of all developmental levels. Her teachers recognized that Ava needed a little extra support, and that her mother did, as well, so a plan was created and implemented to foster and track Ava's developmental progress.

Through the next three years, the Toddler Center staff guided Ava in her development by utilizing developmentally appropriate practices learned through trainings and workshops supported by Keystone STARS. Materials obtained through Keystone STARS grants were provided to enrich centers and learning experiences. Ava's mother was invited into the center to be our partner in education and she was informed of every step taken to ensure Ava's success. Ava's mother became a familiar face at after school and LEARN events, and with guidance from the staff and caseworker has become a self-assured mother and valuable partner in our center. As Ava's mother works hard to complete homework, work a part time job, and care for her young children, she is confident in the knowledge that her child is receiving the best care and education available, as she has seen the progress that Ava has made and has been invited to be a part of it.

Now, Ava creates a world supported by her vast imagination. At her Keystone STAR 3 school she has access to props that foster her amazing creations, and expands her language and social skills during her play. Her teachers search out new and exciting resources to help cultivate her imagination and enrich the classroom with scenarios that allow Ava to lead her peers in dramatic play. She has created for herself the role of "mother hen" and the shy, quiet girl that we were introduced to years ago is no longer; replaced by a confident member of our group that greets every child and parent at the beginning of each day.
While all of our students shine, Ava is our Shining Star.


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