Military News

Thursday, May 07, 2015

RAF Mildenhall CDC best in Air Force

by Airman 1st Class Kyla Gifford
100th Air Refueling Wing Public Affairs

5/6/2015 - RAF MILDENHALL, England  -- The RAF Mildenhall Child Development Center was awarded Air Force's best Child Development Program of the Year 2014. Competing against 84 other CDCs across the Air Force was no small challenge, and it took an above and beyond effort of the whole team.

"It's a lot of hard work, a full team effort. What we get rated against is all about the team and having great base support," said Janet Evans, CDC director from Manchester, N.H. "Many of the things we were recognized for involved our leadership backing us. It's the program, yes, but it's also the support of people from the top, down."

The RAF Mildenhall CDC serves over 250 families and about 400 children throughout the year. Staying on top of this evolving environment takes constant work and dedication.

"It's learning how to get creative real quick, and that's what we do," said Evans. "No job is beneath anybody."

Everyone is motivated to be part of the team. The CDC staff is more like a family than co-workers; all of the decisions are made together.

"We come together and we try to think outside the box. What can we do differently? What can we do better? What can we offer up? Getting information from all of our staff and our parents," Evans said.

The family style atmosphere and innovative mindset, coupled with the dedicated and passionate leadership allows the staff to focus on its top priority on the needs of the families and children.

"It's just basically doing the job, but then doing more than the job as well" said Nick Batey, CDC assistant director from Brandon, U.K.

One program that goes above and beyond is the CDCs newest project, the Inclusion Action Program. This program focuses on children with special needs, and working on what care each child needs from the very beginning. It is based on positive communication between the CDC staff, parents and pediatrician to determine how to provide a more comfortable environment for their child.

"It's been a really impressive success," said Batey. "It's just nice to know that when the family leaves we've done something for both the child and the parent. Watching them grow and develop in the program is amazing."

Other programs offered by the CDC are: the Pre-Kindy program, Month of the Military Child events, job shadow days and quarterly parent workshops. All of these programs are dedicated to making the best environment possible for the children.

The RAF Mildenhall CDC will also host a U.K. conference in September. This gives families and staff from around the U.K. and Europe the opportunity to interact with helping agencies and attend classes. Classes that will be offered include toddler potty training, working with children with challenging behaviors and professional development classes for entry level teachers. The conference will also allow the opportunity for the CDC staff to grow in their leadership skills and education within childcare.

"We have to have the space to meet the needs of the community, make it affordable for everybody and make sure we are licensed and accredited," explains Evans. "But most importantly we ask ourselves every day: what did you do to go above and beyond for the families and the base? These are the reasons our program is successful; the families always come first."

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