April 2016
In the Spotlight

A Child's Garden and Wee Lad Lassie
When asked what inspired her to participate in Maryland EXCELS, Lisa Herbst, Director of A Child’s Garden and Wee Lad and Lassie said, “It is really a journey we started in 2003 when pursuing accreditation.”

For Lisa and her Assistant Director, Laurie Cloud, accreditation was the foundation for Maryland EXCELS. Once the accreditation pathway was applied in the accounts, both programs were well on their way to earning the Overall Quality Rating of 5 at which they were published. “There is a benefit to our staff in the sense of pride at achieving and publishing at a Level 5,” notes Lisa. “It provides a kind of encouragement to really give it their all.”

From her participation in Maryland EXCELS, Lisa found that peer support is a great resource. She enjoys talking with providers from other programs and creating mentor-like relationships. It is one area Lisa hopes to see expand in Maryland EXCELS for other programs which would allow for exchanging of ideas and improvement of quality child care in the region.

And when it comes to ideas, Lisa and Laurie never seem to exhaust them especially when individualizing their programs to meet the needs of the children they serve. Whether allowing children to sit on a ball or stand for a class, they know that keeping an open mind about how a child is comfortable learning can make all the difference in the world.

Keep the great ideas coming, Lisa and Laurie!

Did You Know?
Increasing Your Maryland EXCELS Quality Rating:
Did you know that you can continue to work on reaching higher levels within EXCELS at any time? Even if you are waiting to publish, you can keep uploading evidence in higher levels. Or if you have just published, you can work toward the next level immediately. There is no waiting period.  Reaching higher levels within EXCELS is a win-win for both providers and children.

New! Maryland EXCELS Workgroups and Trainings
Workgroup sessions are available all over the state. Click HERE to find a workgroup or training session in your area.
MSDE Accreditation for Center-Based Programs, Public PreK, and K
The first step towards accreditation is to attend an accreditation orientation. We’ve added another resource to assist in providing accreditation orientation sessions throughout the State. Approved Validators, local Child Care Resource Centers, and NOW Maryland EXCELS Quality Assurance Specialists can help you with the details. Maryland EXCELS Quality Assurance Specialists have been trained and are available to provide an orientation for you and your staff!

Let’s get started! For more information please contact Vanessa Jones at, your Quality Assurance Specialist, or local Child Care Resource Center.
Maryland EXCELS is Growing and You are Getting Noticed!!
  • The Maryland EXCELS mobile app has had over 300,000 downloads!
  • 72% of eligible child care centers and 41% of eligible family child care homes are participating in Maryland EXCELS.

News and Events

This week, April 10 – 16, is The Week of the Young Child. The Maryland EXCELS Team would like to thank you for all that you do to make the magic of childhood shine! 

April 22, 2016 is Earth DayIt’s never too early to pass this message along to young children who can easily learn to reduce, reuse, recycle, restore, replenish and celebrate the Earth. Here are some ideas for projects that help or teach about our environment:
  • Children can create great art with recycled items that would otherwise go into the trash. 
  • Take children on a nature walk and play “I Spy.” Children can collect leaves, pine cones, clover, grass, small sticks, and acorns to make a nature collage individually or as a group activity.
  • Ask families to donate clean food containers and shoe boxes. They make great building materials for busy young architects. They also make great props for your Dramatic Play area.
  • Have you ever thought about planting a small garden?  If a small area of land is not available outside, plant a small container garden.
What does your program do to take care of the Earth? Share your photos with us at  Consider getting the Maryland EXCELS Eco-Friendly Achievement. Click HERE for more information.