Monthly Archives: September 2008

We are what we eat…or don’t

Lunch time at Day Nursery

Lunch time at Day Nursery

Recently the New York Times did an article about children being picky eaters and it mentioned the “6 Food Mistakes that Parents Make.”   While we can’t control what children eat when they are with their parents, we do have a big responsibility to make sure our customers are being served a healthy offering each day at our seven Day Nursery centers.

To find out more about our food program I went to our expert Patty Fisher. Patty is Day Nursery’s Director of Curriculum and Accreditation and she heads up the team planning the menus of what we serve in our centers. She told me that Day Nursery uses a 6 week menu rotation to offer as much variety as possible while still keeping the favorites that children love.  Patty just wrapped up meetings with our cooks to fine tune this rotation and to work more fresh vegetables into our meals.  Not only do we have to make sure each child gets the proper portion size of each menu component, Patty has to balance the meal to make sure it contains all the proper components to meet the guidelines of the federal food program (CACFP) which we participate in.  Another factor that has to be taken into consideration is the age of the child being served.  For example, when the preschoolers are eating fresh carrot sticks, the younger children are having the same fresh carrots, just cooked and diced to an appropriate size.  Patty and the cooks have also been working on modifying our baking recipes to use less sugar.  In many cases, this means adding applesauce to the baked goods. 

Day Nursery Clarian Center Director Rene Withers says no matter what you offer, there will always be some children who don’t want to try it. “Some of this comes from what they are familiar with from home.  We continue to offer new foods to children and sometimes they surprise me.  About half our children love spinach and every day I find more children who love cottage cheese.” 

If you want to hear what parents across the county are saying about the “6 Food Mistakes Parents Make” follow the link at the top of this post.  There is a lively discussion going on.

Life Long Learners

Erin Unger leads new Day Nursery employees through their first day of training.

Erin Unger leads new Day Nursery employees through their first day of training.

At Day Nursery, we think of ourselves as life-long-learners.  Because we are in the business of educating the youngest children of Indianapolis, we have to stay up to date on our education too.  When we hire a new employee, they start down a new educational path. Yesterday I stopped by the conference for a moment to snap a picture of this process in action.  We had three new employees in the training class this week.
The New Employee Training consists of a total of 8 hours.  In the first 2 hours, new employees are given overview of Day Nursery’s benefit plans and policies. The remainder of the time is spent covering Licensing Regulations, Mealtimes, Rest Time, Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Interest Areas (or Learning Centers), and Creative Curriculum. Additionally staff are introduced to our on-line training modules (some of which are completed in class, the remainder are completed as a Self-Study course). These modules cover Developmentally Appropriate Practice, Code of Ethics, Parent Communication, Health & Hygiene, Child Abuse, SIDS, Outdoor Safety, and Supporting Appropriate Choices. Once the employee is working in the center they start on-going training throughout the year consisting of a combination of trainings to meet the state required 12 hours of additional education.  This includes CPR/First aid and blood borne pathogens training annually; our staff trainings/conferences and finally the training done at the center level by the Center Director such as parent communications, lesson plans, daily interactions.

Day Nursery salutes our staff of nearly 200 life-long-learners.

Day Nursery is a Company That Cares

Day Nursery receives Company That Cares Award from United Way

Day Nursery receives Company That Cares Award from United Way

We had a nice visit today from the United Way of Central Indiana.  Diane Johnson and Dudley Green, both UWCI Loaned Executives stopped by to present our Executive Director Carolyn Dederer with Day Nursery’s 2007 “Company That Cares” Award.  UWCI presents Company That Cares awards to organizations that display exceptional commitment during the annual United Way campaign.  Day Nursery has been associated with United Way since the very beginning.  In fact, we were around before the name was changed to United Way. Day Nursery was first funded in 1918 when United Way was known as the War Chest. In 1920 after WWI the organization was renamed The Community Chest. I am not sure how many agencies were in the original group, but Day Nursery and a few remain today: Alpha Home, Volunteers of America, Boy Scouts, Salvation Army, and Red Cross.  As a United Way member agency, Day Nursery employees know the importance of a successful United Way campaign.  Your donation goes to support more than 100 certified agencies, while also helping children get a great start in school through United Way’s Ready to Learn, Ready to Earn programs.

To be eligible for the award a company must have participation from at least 70% of employees–I am proud to say that 88% of our employees participated in the campaign last year.

We are also grateful that Indianapolis has many strong companies who support the United Way financially and by loaning their executives to United Way to help carry out the campaign in our community.  Thanks to Citizens Gas & Coke Utility for their loan of Diane Johnson and to FedEx for their loan of Dudley Green.  We enjoyed meeting them today!

Day Nursery Annual Meeting-Hold the Date


Eva Johnson, a 20-year employee will be among the teachers recognized at the Day Nursery annual meeting.

Eva Johnson, a 20-year employee will be among the teachers recognized at the Day Nursery annual meeting.

On Tuesday, October 21, 2008, the Day Nursery Association will hold our annual meeting.  This year it will take place starting at 5:00 pm at our Ruth A. Lilly Center at 3522 N. Central Avenue in Indianapolis.  We will be honoring 46 of our teachers and administrative staff members for years of service and for reaching academic milestones. Included in this group is Eva Johnson, a teacher with Day Nursery for over 20 years. If you would like to join us, please email Denise Hancock at




A Critical Year for Children

This is a very important election year for children. How much do you know about the candidate’s positions on child care? The National Association of Child Care Resource and Referral Agencies (NACCRRA) and Every Child Matters have put together some great links to help you answer these questions.

Tomorrow, children from the Day Nursery center at the Indiana State Government building will join with members of the Children’s Coalition of Indiana and Every Child Matters to make a statement to local political representatives and politicians around the country on “Step Up for Kids Day,” which is September 16, 2008. We will walk from the government complex to Monument Circle and back.  We will join with other child advocates in handing out material to parents we meet on our morning walk. Every Child Matters has developed a non-partisan educational campaign designed to inform parents and others who care for and about young children about the difference quality child care can make in a child’s life. Here’s a link to their website if you would like to see how Indiana stacks up around the country

How will the decisions you make in November impact the quality of your child’s program? Learn more about pending Federal legislation and how it affects your access to safe, affordable, and high quality child care by visiting the NACCRRA website for additional info

Grandparents Day is this Sunday

Center Director Deanna Saylor with special volunteer Jeffrey Coe

Center Director Deanna Saylor with special volunteer Jeffrey Coe on opening day of the Fitness Fun Place

This Sunday, September 7th is Grandparents Day. The impetus for this recognition originated with Marian McQuade, a housewife in West Virginia. Among her goals, she hoped to persuade grandchildren to tap the wisdom and heritage their grandparents could provide. The event became official in 1978 when President Jimmy Carter proclaimed it an annual national event. 

With Grandparents Day just around the corner, I thought this would be a good time to recognize a special volunteer at the Day Nursery in the Indiana State Government Center.  At first, Jeffrey Coe started visiting the center just to spend more time with his preschool age granddaughter.  Now he can be found at the center several days a week, helping out wherever he is needed.  Center Director Deanna Saylor says Mr. Coe has helped hang shelves, fix broken items and he even assembled most of the equipment the children use in their indoor recreation area.   Mr. Coe loves to greet the parents and children as they come into the center each morning and at special family events like the annual Thanksgiving luncheon.  Happy Grandparents Day to Mr. Coe and all the other Day Nursery grandparents who share so much with our children.