An experienced early childhood educator is celebrating 25 years of service.
Liza Alm has been the operator of Just My Imagination day care for a quarter of a century. She has impacted the development of more than 60 children through the years.
Alm has a master's degree in curriculum and instruction from Gannon University in Erie, Pa. Alm uses her educational experience to educate the children who attend her day care. Alm has served on the advisory board for the Chautauqua Child Care Council; was the past president of the Family Day Care Providers Association; a past member of the Chautauqua Childcare Association of the Education of the Young Child; and provides training to other licensed providers.
Pictured from top down, Liza Alm with the children who attend her day care. From left, Owen Marzec, Zoe Chitester, Sofia Agafonova, Henrik Alm, Lucas Arnone and Ejuah Sarvaiya; Just My Imagination day care where Alm provides early childhood education. Alm uses themes like pirates and knights to allow the children to use their imagination while learning. Alm, with Owen Marzec.
''My business philosophy is to be a leader in early childhood education, and I am committed to the success of every child's learning potential,'' she said.
The early years of a child's life are the most important time for a child's educational development, Alm said.
''A child's brain develops in response to the child's experiences, and from from birth to age 5 is proving to be the most important time for growth and development of the human brain,'' she said.
At Alm's day care, the children learn through a variety of themed projects. From Christmas to Mother's Day to Father's Day holiday-themed programs to dressing up like pirates and knights, Alm said allowing the children to use their imagination, while learning, is the key to early childhood education.
''The most satisfying thing about my day care is without a doubt seeing the kids grown, learn and have fun. I've had so many children start with me as infants or toddlers and stay with me until entering school. You just don't have the children for five years; you are in their lives forever,'' she said. ''I keep in touch with the families often. I've attended their school events, sporting events, musicals, graduations, and have even gone to their weddings, and seen them have children of their own, which makes the work even more fulfilling.''
Alm said she is hosting an open house from 4-7 p.m. Friday, for past and potential new families in celebration of the 25th anniversary of Just My Imagination day care. The day care is located at Alm's home on Front Street in Jamestown in an addition that was built for Just My Imagination day care.
Alm said the advantage of selecting her day care is a small group setting, with the maximum ratio of one adult to six children. Also, siblings are allowed to be together, with no age restrictions, having one caregiver instead of several and providing nutritious meals required by the USDA food program. Alm said she receives support from the Chautauqua Child Care Council; on-going training; food expense reimbursement; and reference and referral support.
In order to be a licensed day care, Alm said the state does a rigorous background check that includes finger printing, home inspections, physical exams and training in CPR; first aid; nutrition; and development and curriculum education.
''Selecting a quality day care is a difficult task for parents,'' she said. ''(I) feel that it is an honor to be chosen to partner in co-parenting the children in their education and development.''
For more information on Just My Imagination, call 485-6049.