Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record
Working Mothers Day Nursery has been serving Roswell’s parents for 60 years now. Del Jurney, Executive Director of its parent organization Family Resource and Referral, talked about how the organization has grown and changed over the years.
“It started in an old school house by the Assistance League,” Jurney said of Working Mothers Day Nursery. “They had a nursery there. Over the years, as their needs changed and as their capacity grew, they worked with the city. In 1991 the city, through a Community Development Block Grant, built this facility and opened it up.”
Shortly after the turn of the century they almost had to close their doors.
“Family Resource and Referral took over Working Mothers Day Nursery in about 2002,” Jurney said, “shortly before licensing might close it down. We came in with some expertise that we had. In time we merged the two non-profits into one and we’ve been running it ever since.”
Jurney said that Family Resource and Referral has brought the standards of care up over the years.
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“We’ve improved the inside of the facility,” he said. “We’ve improved the playground area. We’ve brought in portables to expand our classroom capacity. We’re watching more children now than we have in the past. It works as a viable option for people who live in this quadrant of the city, but it’s really for anybody in Roswell and Chaves County.”
They provide care for the youngest among us.
“We have children from 6 weeks until they go to kindergarten at 5 years of age,” Jurney said. “As the child progresses in age and capability, their motor skills begin to develop, then they’ll move up. When they turn 3 years old they go out to the portables and they really get prepared for kindergarten.”
Jurney said all children are welcome, and they can accommodate low income families.
“Anybody qualifies to bring their child here,” he said. “We are licensed by the state and so those parents who qualify for child-care subsidy can come here, but there are no qualifications other than making sure we have the space for them.”
They’ve reached a temporary plateau in number of children they can serve at their main facility.
“Right now our capacity is 110 children,” Jurney said. “We’ve enrolled around 100. We have another portable that has been storage. We’re in the process of getting that cleaned up and getting all the proper furniture and equipment lined out so that we can have licensing come over, take a look at it and we’ll have more space.”
Thanks to a local legend, they have expanded their services.
“We also do the child development center out at the college,” Jurney said. “One of Roswell’s great people that worked out there, Jane Batson, came to us and said they were going to close the child development center unless we would agree to take it over. We did without hesitation because people who live out there need good child care.
“Teachers, students and the people who live out there; but also people working in the aviation business were doing second and third shifts and they have child care needs as well. So we took it over and within a couple of years we were licensed to become a 24-hour child care center. We’re not doing weekends yet, but thats’ coming quickly. We are one of three licensed child care centers in New Mexico that is authorized for 24-hour child care, and two of them are on military bases.”
They’ve also been running the after-school program.
“We are in nine elementary schools,” Jurney said. “That program is licensed as well. All of our staff are background checked and trained in first aid, CPR and health and safety classes. Those kids whose parents work, just walk down the hallway to the multi-purpose room. We have staff and activities waiting for them until their parents show up.”
Jurney talked about the way child care has changed over the years.
“Our objective is to provide a safe, loving, nurturing environment for the kids,” he said. “It really is amazing, if you’ve not been involved. People talk about kids all the time, but seldom do they have an opportunity to see what modern child care is all about.
“It used to be keeping the little ones from sticking their fingers in the light socket. Now it’s about child development. The educational component that goes along with training that staff are required to have, dictate to them what age appropriate fine motor skills, what age appropriate social skills, the capacity of what they should be doing at that age. The staff teaches to those goals.”
Even feeding the children has become a more conscientious effort.
“We have a commercial kitchen onsite,” Jurney said. “We take an exceptional amount of pride in making sure that the quality and nutrition we serve are excellent.”
They also work on building strong relationships.
“The communication that a teacher can have with a parent on a daily basis is significant,” Jurney said. “When those parents pick their kids up at 5 or 5:30 they want to know what happened. The child was away from them all day long. The child was in our care. They want to know the good things, and they want to know the unfortunate things that took place as well.”
Jurney said the field is always changing as children’s needs change and as new developments arise.
“We are always looking for what happens next,” he said, “what opportunity presents itself. We always want to be ready for that.”
Jurney said it’s important that the people there love their work.
“When we talk to people we’re interviewing,” he said, “we tell them this is a job where you get up in the morning and you look forward to coming. The responsibility of taking care of a child is huge, but the job itself in teaching a child how to interact and how to develop is an amazing opportunity.”
Many of their employees stay for years. Pearl Madril runs the Child Development Center at the college.
“I started in the 2-year-old class as a substitute,” she said. “Gradually, I got hired full-time. As the kids moved along the director allowed me to move up with them. In 2013, Mr. Jurney asked me if I would take over the Child Development Center. I’ve been with the company nine years, but I’ve been at the Child Development Center for four years.”
Jurney wants to invite people to see the facilities and learn about the programs offered.
“We’re open to everybody,” he said. “We have two locations. We’re licensed by the state so child care subsidy contracts are accepted. We love to show off what we have. If people are interested they can call the Child Care Development Center or Working Mothers Day Nursery to learn more.”
Working Mothers Day Nursery is located at 500 E. Bland Str., the nonprofit’s phone number is 622-2910.
Features reporter Curtis M. Michaels can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or at email@example.com.