New PC Tots Program Director Charts Course Through the End of the Pandemic
Nonprofit early childcare center PC Tots has a new Program Director.
New Program Director Melissa Mendez said she has always had her heart in early childhood education. Creating positive outcomes for children and families would benefit a community over a child's lifetime. Her bachelor's degree is in early childhood education, and she's spent 18 years working in the field. Her resume includes working in military child development centers, Private Montessori Pre-K, and public Pre-K schools. For the past nine years, she was at the Utah Community Action Head Start program, which focuses on kids up to five years old. She is a certified class observer and an early childhood education coach.
PC Tots has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable, early education and childcare for families working or living in Summit County. A group of residents and collective of organizations helped to form the childcare service. It has been in operation since 2015.
Mendez said her immediate challenge is to hire teachers for two to three openings.
“We have infant care in both facilities,” she said. “We have toddler care in both facilities, and then in the PC Tot-2, we have two-year-old care. And those are the classrooms there. And then, on the other side, we go up to pre-K. And we do have a long waitlist. And so, getting staff on board and trained will enable us to really meet that larger goal of opening another center and providing, you know, more quality childcare and education for the workforce."
Interim PC Tots Executive Director Julie DeLong said with the growth needs, maintaining quality programs, and providing professional development for staff, they wanted a person with Mendez's skill set.
Mendez will establish systems for health and safety, curriculum, and professional development. She also believes it's critical she supports families. She said the larger goal at PC Tots is to open another center to provide quality childcare and education for the future workforce of Summit County.
They have plans to increase enrollment after the COVID-19 pandemic, which is still ongoing. Currently, about 70% of the staff are fully vaccinated. With COVID still lingering, she said they couldn't take volunteers to work in their two facilities.
"I am new to the community, but it is so, so amazing,” Mendez said. “I just have lots of positive things to say. The growth mindset of the teachers and the students are so sweet. So, I'm just really excited. If we can just get staffed up and keep that community support coming in through donations or whatever they, feel is needed. I am just really happy to be here."
PC Tots can serve 114 children when fully operational. They offer financial assistance to families working or living in Summit County. Added to their mission to provide quality education and care for young children, they incorporate core values which include diversity, social equity, safety, and hiring and retaining quality staff.
KPCW news reports on issues affecting young children and their parents are brought to you by the Park City Community Foundation’s Early Childhood Fund. For more information, visit earlychildhoodalliance.net.