County honors two child care providers

Laurie Mondry with District 5 Commissioner Lisa Weik after receiving her 2013 Family Child Care Provider award Tuesday. (Submitted photos)
Laurie Mondry with District 5 Commissioner Lisa Weik after receiving her 2013 Family Child Care Provider award Tuesday. (Submitted photos)
com_062713_Michele Acker
Michele Acker with District 1 County Commissioner Fran Miron after Acker was presented with her 2013 Family Child Care Provider award Tuesday.

Women from Forest Lake and Woodbury were honored Tuesday as 2013 “Family Child Care Providers” by the Washington County Board of Commissioners in conjunction with the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association’s (MLFCCA) conference.

Michele Acker of Forest Lake and Laurie Mondry of Woodbury were both recognized for their work as early childhood educators and caregivers. Individuals in the community nominate providers and the applications are reviewed by an ad hoc committee from the county’s Child Care Council with representation from the MLFCCA.

Requirements for potential family child care providers of the year are: have been in the field for at least three years; promote quality child care as a profession and in the community; meet annual state training requirements; have a positive impact on the lives of the young children, and demonstrate professional skills in child care.

Acker has been licensed for 3.5 years, is a member of Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association and has a bachelor’s degree in business. She started babysitting as a teenager, then worked with infants and toddlers in a child care center in River Falls, Wis., while in college.

When asked about her philosophy in working with children and their parents, Acker said, “Everyone must show respect to each other. There must be good communication between myself and the parents as well as with the children to build trust. Children need to try new things and know that it is ok not to succeed the first time and try again until they do succeed.”

Acker offers a preschool curriculum to prepare each child for kindergarten. She participates in the USDA Child and Adult Food Program, providing nutritious meals and snacks every day.

The parent who nominated Acker said, “Michele is excellent at walking the line between allowing kids to be kids, and taking charge. She structures much of their day, but allows them time to make their own choices as well. She is constantly looking for ways to enrich their experience at her house from the preschool curriculum, to watching houses being built across the street, to a scavenger hunt in their backyard.”

Mondry’s child care program is called Laurie’s Little Angels. She has been licensed for 13 years and is a member of the Minnesota Licensed Family Child Care Association, and is working toward accreditation for her program.

Mondry started her child care business 13 years ago so she could be home with her two sons. Communication about their child’s developmental and educational goals with the parent is a very important part of my business.

Mondry’s nominator said, “Laurie has created a family environment in which all children look out for each other. She encourages the children to use their manners and treat others with respect. When my children are at home and playing with a friend, I have noticed that they are better able to share and compromise, and these are skills that they are practicing while at Laurie’s day care.”

Mondry participates in the food program and provides healthy foods during meals and at snack time.  The children exercise daily, inside or outside. A nominator also noted another lesson from Mondry’s care: “Laurie strives to teach the children to become independent with their self-care skills and ready for school. Both of my children’s teachers have commented on how well my children can manage their winter weather clothing on their own.”