Arkansas Toolkit Supports Provider’s Success

On the Arkansas Better Beginnings’ user-friendly Web site (, providers can access checklists, applications, toolkits and rule books. The checklists serve as a self-assessment tool for a provider to determine if they can meet criteria at different levels.  The toolkit helps providers gather and structure necessary information and document their program’s progress throughout the certification process and beyond.  Included are:

Administrative tools such as budgets, parent handbooks and agreements, parent surveys, professional development plans, performance appraisals, salary scales, and a strategic planning template; Arkansas’ professional development resources; Child health and development resources; ERS Subscale Self-Evaluation Form; and Learning environment resources such as children’s portfolio documentation, curriculum plans and daily schedules.

Christa Joy Johnson, the director of Childcare Network 185 in Bryant, AR comments that “It is easy to say that you want a quality childcare center. It is harder to define exactly what that looks like. Better Beginnings does exactly that by providing a blueprint and a process to become a program of true quality. The process is fluid and user friendly, but when road blocks came up, we always had the Tool Kit on the website to aid us. Additionally, there was never a shortage of people who were willing to answer questions and aid us in any way.  Over the course of the last two years, our center has flourished. Our teachers have trained for hundreds of hours, and many of them have obtained or are now seeking their CDAs. We have received grant money that has enabled us to enrich our learning environments. We have been the recipient of marketing that has enabled us to remain full with a waiting list. A large portion of this success is directly a result of our journey with Better Beginnings.

As teachers were required to train more as our level increased, they found that they were so much more effective as teachers, that they wanted to train even further. It was a catalyst for teachers to not only want to improve their performance, but gave them respect for their profession. The grant money that was available at each level has enabled us to purchase things that improve our quality, without having to pass that expense along to our parents. The marketing provided to us as a Better Beginning site is invaluable. With the commercials for Better Beginnings educating parents that it is a sign of quality, we are immediately recognized as a center they should consider before they even walk in our doors.”

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