Cokes Chapel UMC’s childcare center receives grant, approval
Cokes Chapel Childcare Center (Cokes Childcare) has a huge feather in its cap these days. The center was recently awarded a grant designating it an approved Pre-K site.
“We are simply elated,” said Heather Goelz, center director. “What this means is that the sºtate will fund six and a half hours of educational instruction for enrolled children at little cost to the parents. This is great news for families seeking to find affordable early education for their children. Our mission is to help children grow, develop, flourish and learn, and this grant helps us to achieve our mission.”
While the grant does not cover before or after school care or lunches, having Georgia’s Pre-K approval can result in significant costs savings for many families.
The Pre-K program is funded by lottery proceeds and is awarded to childcare facilities that are in good standing with Bright From the Start, Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning, and that submit strong applications for the program.
“Receiving the grant will enable us to serve more families in the community and reallocate our resources where they are most needed — educating children,” Goelz said.
According to Goelz, State budget cuts had resulted in the grant application process being placed on hold for two years. With the momentum gained from receiving the grant, staff is seeking additional accreditation for the center from the National Association for Education Young Children, which is the highest level of accreditation a childcare center can receive in early education.
“We feel the sky is the limit!” said Goelz.
Since the center opened in 2007, many church members have served as volunteers helping in various capacities while others have their children enrolled in the center.
“Cokes Childcare is a significant ministry because it enables us to impact numerous families in love, hospitality, and education,” said Coke’s Chapel’s pastor, Dr. Mark Jordan.
The center has a potential to serve more than 150 children ranging in age from six weeks to 12 years of age. The center has experienced steady growth throughout the years. It ensures that children are involved in age-appropriate activities that include creative arts, dramatic play, language, science and sensory, math and manipulative, music and movement, and outdoor activities. Special emphasis is placed on language development and social skills.
“The most important thing we do is teach character through biblical stories and principles, ”Goelz concluded.
The center is open from 6 a.m. until 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Applications are currently being accepted for the fall. For more information, contact the center, 770-253-6414.