Wee Care plans for summer months

Thursday, April 3, 2003

The Lepanto Wee Care Learning Center is planning for the summer months. Wee Care teacher Denise McGhee is compiling a cookbook to help raise funds to support the center through the summer. The cookbook, with approximately 300 recipes, will sell for $12. McGhee hopes the fundraiser will earn $1,000 for the center. That amount will sustain their program through the summer and allow teachers to purchase items for their classrooms. Because the center receives a large amount of funding from the government, the staff conducts fundraisers throughout the year to help provide extra materials and activities for the children. "Our toys get used some much, we have to replace them so constantly," said McGhee.

Books and children's music are some of the items at the top of their wish lists. Donations such as the climber sets on the playground make the summer months more fun for the children, and the center has already added several new pieces through fundraising and grant-writing. Volunteers are also greatly needed and appreciated to help with fundraisers, assemble playground equipment, and help with projects like the Terrapin Derby float.

McGhee said the inside of the building was given a facelift, with the help from Regional Punishment Facility prisoners last year.

According to McGhee, the non-profit learning center is licensed to care for 48 children, ages six weeks to 12 years, and they normally have a waiting list. "We provide a stable environment for these kids," she said.

The center is open from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m. and provides a "full range of lesson plans," said McGhee. The center provides its children breakfast, lunch and a snack each day. Teachers work on home skills, including toileting skills, manners and social skills. "My hope is that each of them can write their name before they go to kindergarten," said McGhee. Most of her students can recite their ABCs and count to 20, she said.

Normally, the center has a staff of 10, including Director Cindy Hood and Assistant Director Regina Roach. However, they have reduced their staff recently to help with expenses. The center runs according to the East Poinsett County Schools calendar, with the exception of teacher flex days and parent-teacher conferences, when the Learning Center will remain open. The center is evaluated yearly and received very high scores on its most recent evaluation. McGhee's classroom received a 6.6 out of a possible 7.0.

The Wee Care staff is already planning an open house/luau to be held on May 23 to celebrate the 21 children will be going into kindergarten from the day care. Fun activities are being planned to last all day, and McGhee is hoping to find a donor for a bouncer for the children. Because of recent car seat restrictions, the center is no longer able to take the children on their annual trip to the zoo, so the staff tries to have more "fun days" at the center.

Recipes are being accepted for the Wee Care Learning Center cookbook. Booster ads are $10.50 and display advertisements range in price from $25 to $100. McGhee plans to wrap up the cookbook by April 15. To submit a recipe or to purchase an ad, contact her at 475-3469.

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