Child care director honored for operating center ‘just like family’

Michele Baker-McElroy, owner/director of Once Upon a Time Child Care in Sycamore, is the 2014 recipient of the Marian Baker Child Care Professional Award given by 4C: Community Coordinated Child Care.

In 1999, 4-C established the Marian Baker Child Care Professional Award in memory of Marian Baker, longtime friend and board member of 4-C. This award recognizes individuals who possess the distinction and passion which Baker exemplified in her role as teacher, board member and child advocate.

A nominator said that Baker-McElroy's relationships with the children and parents in her center are just like family. She always has a smile on her face and welcomes all who enter her center by name. Baker-McElroy is dedicated to the well-being of all the children in her care and strives to create an environment that is nurturing and educational. She works effortless to make sure each child in her center feels important and loved.

A parent wrote, "After visiting her center and meeting her team, we felt right at home. I have never felt so happy for my child when she is away from her mom and dad."

As owner/director of Once Upon a Time Child Care, Baker-McElroy has worked hard to achieve accreditation for her center and always has best practices in mind when establishing her curriculum. An additional nominator noted that Baker-McElroy is her best when she is teaching and encouraging children with an enthusiasm that is contagious.

"Michele’s child care center is not a job to her; it is her passion, her love and a joy in her life," one nominator wrote.

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