Guadalupe Center earns fifth consecutive five-star rating

(Submitted photo) Guadalupe Center in Immokalee has earned five consecutive five-star ratings from the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, signifying that students are receiving a high-quality education in a safe learning environment.

NAPLES – Guadalupe Center has earned its fifth consecutive five-star rating from the Early Learning Coalition of Southwest Florida, the only preschool in Collier County to earn five stars every year since 2015.

Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program serves more than 300 students ages 6 weeks through 5 years old, culminating with a Pre-K program that sees 95% of graduates meet or exceed Florida’s kindergarten readiness standards.

The Coalition’s “Southwest Florida Stars” program is a voluntary rating system, similar to an accreditation, in which child care providers allow evaluation teams to examine three primary areas: learning environments and classroom interactions; screening, assessment and curriculum; and professional development and staff qualifications.

“Earning a five-star rating for five straight years means our team is hitting the mark year after year, and that consistency is why graduates of our program fare so well once they reach elementary school,” said Guadalupe Center President Dawn Montecalvo. “To accomplish our mission of breaking the cycle of poverty through education for the children of Immokalee, we must start early with a strong foundation so that children are prepared for success by the time they reach kindergarten.”

The Coalition evaluates child care providers in Collier, Lee, Hendry and Glades counties through on-site visits and data collections, awarding five-star ratings to child care programs that offer safe, high-quality learning environments.

Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program is accredited through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), which is the world’s largest organization working on behalf of young children, in addition to the Accredited Professional Preschool Learning Environment (APPLE). The Florida Department of Children and Families recognizes Guadalupe Center as a Gold Seal Quality Care Program.

The waiting list to enroll in Guadalupe Center’s Early Childhood Education Program exceeds 500 students, and the Center recently announced plans to expand the program with a new campus in Immokalee’s Jubilation neighborhood that can accommodate an additional 64 students. Guadalupe Center currently is raising money to support operations for the new facility.

The Immokalee Bulletin is published every Thursday.

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