by Donna Sealy
Jennifer Mayers has been taking care of children for a long time.
You can say it is her passion.
The owner and Principal of A Moms Best Friend Childcare Centre in Barclays Terrace, St. Michael, said it was a “long, long, long time dream” of hers to own her own day care and her husband helped her to fulfill that.
For her, it was critical to create the right foundation for children to build on as they grow and with her husband’s push she was able to do that.
“My husband Douglas and I migrated back home 10 years ago. We will be celebrating our 10th anniversary on July 19. We cater to newborns all the way to five year-old. We have an Infants section, two toddler sections, pre-schoolers three to five year olds.
“We work with the curriculum set up here but we also opened it up and teach the children about the United States, England, Canada and all the other countries that make up the world. It is child centred curriculum that our infants can learn from. What we do also is prepare our three to five year olds with the necessary skills for when they to go to primary school,” she told LOVING ME.
The early childhood educator said their students were taught the basic self help skills so they could help themselves and function appropriately in that environment.
Prior to coming back home to Barbados she lived and worked in the US where she obtained a degree in early childhood education, and a Bachelor’s in Teaching.
“I really wanted to have my own business. I really wanted especially to work with this age group, build the foundation for them and send them into the world with the foundation they need between zero and five years old,” she added.
Mayers, who left Barbados in 1987 and returned in 2004, said it was important for parents and guardians to know their babies were in an environment where they were getting the best care.
To this end she offered some advice on what to look for when choosing a nursery or day care centre.
“Appearance always counts. They should look for cleanliness. You have to find out if the caregivers, director or the owner has early childhood training, first aid or CPR, the activities the children do throughout the day and you would want to know if they do potty training.
“You would also want to find out what’s included in your fee and if the nursery serves breakfast or lunch. We serve breakfast and lunch, we used to serve snacks when we started out but it got pretty costly and the parents don’t mind bringing them in. They would rather bring the snacks then lose breakfast or lunch.
“The fact that we open as early as we do and close as late as we do is also a big thing for a parent. The hours of the operation are important because if something happens to my child will I be called? If the child is sick or has an accident, what is the procedure for that,” Mayers said.
She noted that at her day-care centre, fire drills are done every month which she explained, allowed everyone to know what to do when they heard the siren, in case there is a fire.
What she also allows the parents to do is have a tour of the centre before they enroll their children and noted that her teachers were trained in early childhood care, CPR and first aid.
“We have a group of people who are passionate about what they do. I don’t hire anyone with less than that. I would rather them have a whole lot of passion as opposed to experience. They are some people who have a lot of experience and they move from day-care to day-care, they’re working but they don’t have the passion. Here at a Mom’s Best Friend it’s not just working and caring for them. I have care givers that love, love, love working with children some of them have none of their own but they just love children.
The tender loving care that we give them, the one on one, the attention that we give the parents are pleased,” she said.
The care giver said that children should be exposed to several activities that would develop and sharpen their skills such as craft, they have “cross fit Fridays”, which allows the little ones to exercise, they also allow “bring the community” to the children and have centres set up where they can play as they learn.
It is not only about taking from their clients either, said Mayers.
They have client and staff appreciation days and yesterday, parents/guardians were served breakfast “to let them know how much we appreciate them, their business and the fact that they chose us”. firstname.lastname@example.org