By: Gin Butler, Visitor Center Ambassador
In August we had a new addition to the Stapleton family of schools; the Acacia Learning Center, whose programs range from six weeks old to twelve years old.
I recently had the opportunity to tour the school and meet with the Executive Director, Erin Jones. The school partners with St. Stephens Missionary Baptist Church; and I had the opportunity to also meet with Pastor Randolph West during my time with Ms. Jones.
There are a couple things that make this church/school unique: one thing is it is the first church to build in Stapleton from the ground up; also their school is faith based. This means the school uses the Golden Rule as a way to help children develop the characteristics of respect, acceptance, forgiveness, understanding, and conflict resolution. You can explore this in more detail via their website. http://www.acaciastapleton.com/
Although Acacia opened less than 2 months ago, there is a waiting list for their infant and toddler programs, much like all of our other Early Childhood Learning centers. They certainly have the room to enroll more children; however, there is a shortage of educators. Acacia’s standards are high in that their teacher to child ratio is lower than most statewide childhood learning centers. What that tells me is that each child is given more individual attention. Psychologists tell us that we stablish our core value system by the time we are 5-8 years old. If that is indeed true, than schools such as Acacia will have a predominant impact on a segment of our next generation.
Dr. Erin Jones, the executive director, comes to her position with a doctorate in teacher leadership, a master in early childhood development, a specialist in special education, along with a bachelor in speech language pathology (stuttering, lisping, etc. Most of the teachers have a degree or are director qualified, but not all. However, all teachers meet the state requirements for Early Childhood Teacher.
Here is a quote from one parent about Erin and her team:
Wow Erin, I can’t tell you how impressed I am with Acacia. What a unique place. My daughter looks forward to going there every day. She has so much fun. Loreen and staff truly care about the kids and actually interact with them. This is has been the best decision we have made for our family and daughter. Every day I walk in there only to find happy and engaged children. She has been in many different programs and none of them can hold a candle to what I regularly witness. This place has a brilliant business model and will no doubt be the top of town!!!! I will sing your praises to anyone who needs a referral. I am so grateful for your care. Thank you and please keep up the EXCELLENT work.
With admiration and thanks
I would encourage all of you to visit and tour Acacia. I was impressed with the staff, the building and the leadership fostered by Nelson Eagle, the owner and CEO of Acacia and Pastor West. Together they partner on operations, policies and procedures, resulting in this excellent addition to the Stapleton community. Most of all, I was impressed with the children. While I couldn’t take pictures, the smiles on their faces, the laughter as they went about their routines and the respect they showed their peers and teachers, spoke volumes!