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Seeing STARS

The grade on children's programs in Grand Isle County

Vermont's Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) helps parents evaluate programs that care for their kids. Sponsored by the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families, STARS assigns star rankings to participating childcare, preschool and after-school programs.

Programs must apply to receive a ranking.

The STARS coordinators consider applicants' qualifications and operating policies, then assign them one to five stars. A single star means a program is new or examining its practices and working to improve them; a five-star ranking signifies that an applicant is established and outstanding in all areas.

Parents who meet the state's income-eligibility guidelines may pay less for childcare if they enroll their children in programs with three, four or five stars.

Each month, Kids VT publishes an excerpt of the list of STARS participants. This month's issue features the listings from Grand Isle County. Find more information about STARS, a complete list of rankings and other childcare resources at

Shining Star: Academy Street Child Care

Cheryl Wells

13 Academy Street, Alburgh, 796-4180
4 stars

Type of program: In-home childcare. The program follows a curriculum, but owner/instructor Cheryl Wells takes theme suggestions from the kids.

Year opened: 1997

Age range of children:  1 - to 11 years

Last field trip: Granby Zoo in Québec, Canada. All the children and their parents went. "It was a great day; we still talk about it," says Wells. "But some of the current families don't want their children transported, so we're not doing field trips right now."

Favorite outdoor activity: Broom ball. "I hit the balls from one end of the deck to the other and the children try to avoid them," says Wells. "They always want to play that when we go outside."

Favorite rainy-day activity: Read a book and make projects using supplies from the "barney" box — a container full of fabric, stickers, yarn, buttons and other crafting materials.

Favorite book: I Stink! by Kate and Jim McMullan. "The children really get involved while I'm reading it," says Wells.

Favorite visitor: Peggy Rainville from Start With the Arts. "She came into our program and read to us every week, and did projects," says Wells. "We really enjoyed it."

Grand Isle County

Aunt Bee's Childcare 
26 Haylde Road, Alburgh, 309-0209
1 star

Champlain Islands Parent Child Center — South 
114 South Street, Unit 2, South Hero, 372-4704
5 stars

Kate's Daycare 
3 Canamak Drive, Grand Isle, 372-4501
2 stars

Lakeside Surprises Child Care 
62B South Main Street, Alburgh, 796-3799
2 stars

Learning Adventure 
12 John Stark Road, South Hero, 372-3930
5 stars

Little Daycare
7 North Main Street, Alburgh, 796-3438
2 stars

Rousseau's Rug Rats
179 Martell Road, Alburgh, 796-3440
2 stars

West Shore Child Care
355 West Shore Road, Alburgh, 796-4019
1 star

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.