Finding Quality Childcare: Sixpence CCP Teams Up with Hastings Public Schools and Pooh Corner to Leave Mark of Excellence

Early Childhood Programs and Development: Our Mission

Here at Nebraska Children and Families Foundation, we work every single day to create positive change through community engagement. It is precisely for this reason that we couldn’t achieve early childcare excellence without your help and hard work – alongside the rest of the community.  

Partnerships forged between Sixpence Child Care Partnerships, the public-school system, and local childcare facilities are a terrific way to maximize our state’s early childhood programs’ quality.   

Sixpence Child Care Partnerships are a Nebraska Children Early Childhood initiative with a purpose: to support vulnerable children on their journey to a thriving future. This early childhood development and educational program draws from Federal Child Care Development Funds to drive high-quality early childhood development and education throughout Nebraska.  

There’s no better indicator of community well-being than a real-life partner’s story! Today, we asked Amanda Cusatis, a licensed childcare provider and one of Sixpence Child Care Partnership Programs, to talk about the initiative’s strengths and key takeaways. But first, we’d like to provide some context for Sixpence and its Child Care Partnerships.  

Background on Sixpence Child Care Partnerships 

Sixpence Child Care Partnerships (Sixpence CCP) represent a partnership between school districts and early childhood programs serving infants and toddlers up to age 3. This initiative seeks to enhance and promote quality Nebraskan early childhood programs.  

Sixpence CCP’s resources include trainings, coaching, and support for early childhood providers to partake in the Nebraska Department of Education’s Step Up to Quality, a program which supports early childhood directors and educators to create and maintain high-quality childcare.  

Of course, when it comes to early childhood programs, data is important. According to the recent research (pictured below), Sixpence CCP has helped foster meaningful success throughout our communities including Auburn’s childcare programs.


This table shows ITERS-R subscale and overall averages for the child care centers in Auburn Sixpence CCP. From the Sixpence CCP August – July 2019 Snapshot Report.

On the other hand, there’s nothing quite like sharing personal success stories like Amanda Cusatis of Hastings, Nebraska.  

Sixpence CCP has run the gamut in its efforts to support early childcare facilities. Program participants benefit from attending classes for childcare providers and staff and enhancing their childcare facility with transformative grants. Due to this support, some childcare providers in Auburn even have new playgrounds and libraries.  

Kids of HIS Kingdom in Auburn, Nebraska, has a terrific new playground! Program participants benefit from enhancing their childcare facility with transformative grants.

Hastings Public Schools’ Sixpence Child Care Partnership has revealed itself to be an effective one. According to Amanda, a licensed childcare provider, this early childhood program assisted her with parent communication, strategies for engaging children with higher needs or behaviors, and interactive staff training. Read on for the full interview, in Amanda’s own words. 

Amanda Cusatis, Pooh Corner Executive Director, and Sarah Longoria, Pooh Corner Assistant Director, and three of their friends.
Left to right: Amanda Cusatis, Pooh Corner Executive Director, and Sarah Longoria, Pooh Corner Assistant Director, and three of their friends. 

What is the name of your facility?  

Pooh Corner North and Pooh Corner West 

What community is your Sixpence CCP program? 

Hastings 

What Step are you currently at? 

Step 1 (new executive director and site director currently working on their management training classes) 

How has the Sixpence CCP program supported you?   

The Sixpence CCP coach and program coordinator have given me and the assistant director support with parent communication, tips, tricks, and ideas for children with higher needs or behaviors as well as a multitude of tactics to better support our staff.  

Pooh Corner is provided with the supplies to reach goals set with the help of our Sixpence CCP Coach. They have offered assistance in finding educational opportunities to better train staff to provide the highest quality of care and provide financial aid to pay for these valuable classes.  

Our coach, Nancy, has been physical support in her hands-on training for staff as well as personal support for the administration. Nancy goes above and beyond, not only sharing ideas, but passion and collaboration with parents in sharing her extensive array of knowledge.  

What do you like about the Sixpence CCP program?  What are the benefits you have seen for your program?  

From my experience, the majority of Early Childhood professionals observe the most with hands-on learning. The staff could view the learning process in a whole new way, from the child’s eyes and the benefit of doing so, long term. With the strong support of our coach, staff and administration have learned to better collaborate as a team. Parents and guardians express their support for the recent positive changes.  

What are your key takeaways from your time with Sixpence CCP? 

The importance of “teaching the whole child” and the outlook it gives to our families on the perception of “daycare” and the level of quality it can be! 

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Read about another Sixpence CCP success 

Nebraska Children and Families Foundation supports children, young adults and families at risk with the overall goal of giving our state's most vulnerable kids what they need to reach their full potential. We do this by building strong communities that support families so their children can grow up to be thriving, productive adults.

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Posted in Early Childhood, News and Events

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