Child Care Answers helps local catholic preschool director push school quality beyond state requirements through coaching and training.
St. Lawrence Catholic Preschool on Indianapolis’ northeast side is the only Indiana Catholic preschool, attached to an elementary school, that has achieved Level 4 Paths to QUALITY™(PTQ).
It is quite a feat, and it didn’t happen by accident. Nor was it required.
Getting to PTQ Level 4 took vision and diligence.
Each morning, Director Kathryn Kutan, greets 45 eager, cheerful faces, knowing that her students are receiving high-quality preschool. Kathryn’s passion for educating young minds only rivals her own desire for learning and growing. It was that combination that inspired her to reach out to Child Care Answers six years ago to seek accreditation for St. Lawrence Catholic Preschool. PTQ is Indiana’s four-level statewide quality rating system for early care and education programs.
To begin the process, Kathryn contacted Child Care Answers and spoke with a team member to see how to become an accredited program and achieve Level 1 PTQ. The first step for registered ministries is the Volunteer Certification Program, with primary standards of meeting health and safety requirements. Child Care Answers connected Kathryn with United Way of Central Indiana staff who provided funds for needed safety improvements including improved lighting, door installation, bathroom access, sink installation and similar projects.
Once the safety measures were met and St. Lawrence achieved PTQ Level 1, Kathryn pushed ahead towards Level 2, with assistance from Child Care Answers. St. Lawrence was well-positioned for the transition because of the learning environment and curriculum already in place.
The school progressed from Level 1 to Level 3 in less than one year.
“Our Child Care Answers coach was amazing,” said Kathryn. “She helped us navigate the PTQ system and provided us with coaching and training opportunities that allowed us to quickly move through the process.”
After holding at Level 3 for almost four years, Kathryn decided to pursue Level 4 with support from her new principal. “We were already doing a lot of things right,” said Kathryn. “I wanted to see what we could do better and how we could receive that high level of distinction.”
Ultimately, they reached Level 4. The distinction allows St. Lawrence to flourish as a high-quality early learning environment, impacting the rest of the school, which serves kindergarten through eighth grade. Child Care Answers’s coaching and training boosted teachers’ skills and knowledge, providing a better-quality experience for their children.
“Child Care Answers is a great resource for early care and education programs,” says Kathryn. “As teachers encounter training needs or specific situations, the coaches are always available to assist them with meeting those requests and in realizing a higher level of quality.” Kathryn serves as a leader among her peers, encouraging other parochial schools to reach out to Child Care Answers for assistance.
St. Lawrence Preschool has three preschool classrooms and nearly 90 percent of the children enrolled receive financial aid to attend. Child Care Answers provides more than 5,000 coaching hours a year to a multitude of early childhood education programs in Central Indiana.