COOS BAY — In preparation for its grand opening, a handful of teachers and staff tidied up their classrooms early Friday morning at Bay Area Hospital’s new Bright Beginnings Learning Center in Coos Bay.
The center, which is located at 250 Hull St., will open its doors this week after more than 10 years in the making, said Bright Beginnings program director Heather Curtis.
A classroom at Bay Area Hospital’s new Bright Beginnings Learning Center in Coos Bay.
“We’re really excited,” said Curtis. “It’s been a long time coming and we’re happy we get to finally give this benefit to our employees.”
With seven classrooms on site, the center is prepared to accommodate more than 100 children between the ages of 6 weeks old and 6 years old. As of Friday morning, approximately 65 children have been signed up, said Curtis.
“Our (facility) is unique in that it’s not just a childcare center, but also a learning center,” she said. “We did a large recruiting event so all our teachers are highly trained and qualified.”
According to Curtis, the center will feature a variety of programs and curriculum, which include a Spanish immersion program, cooking experiences and yoga.
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The center will also provide a number of learning techniques such as “Zoophonics,” a method that uses a multi-modal approach to learning how to read and spell as well as “Second Step,” a social-emotional learning method aimed at helping students develop skills to better express themselves.
Curtis said the center is also working toward becoming Spark certified from the Oregon Department of Education’s Early Learning Division. The Spark program rates facilities throughout the state to ensure families have access to high-quality childcare services.
In the future, the center is also looking to take part in the state’s “Baby Promise” program, which will help low-income families with infants and toddlers gain access to its quality childcare services, Curtis added.
The program will be open to community members who aren’t employed with the hospital who also met certain requirements laid out by the state. On Friday, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held to celebrate the opening as well as to give folks a preview of the facility.
“Diversity is a huge goal for me and integrating children with special needs children,” said Curtis. “We want to make sure the center is meeting the needs of our community and providing high-quality education.”
In February, the hospital is planning a silent auction at the Coach House Restaurant & Lounge in Coos Bay to help raise additional funds for needed school supplies and materials.
According to Curtis, funding to create the center was made possible by a grant awarded by The Ford Family Foundation.