Category Archives: Blog

Early Childhood Education Award goes to Richland Hills

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Tonight Little Tyke Richland Hills was one of several learning centers in Tarrant County that was recognized for 100% staff participation in the Early Learning Registry for professional development.

Quality early care and education begins with a highly qualified early childhood workforce. This state program assists individuals who are working in the field of Early Education understand what knowledge and skills are needed to provide high quality early care and education to young children.

This system also supports seasoned professionals in accessing professional development resources to further their careers and strengthen their knowledge of content in early childhood by staying connected with best practices and new research.

Pictured is Little Tyke Richland Hills former Director Christy Dougan, current Director Trisha Mireles and Ft. Worth Mayor Betsy Price.

Providing Child Care to North Richland Hills Then and Now

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Serving others is one of the fundamental principles for pursuing happiness in life. At Little Tyke we are proud to share in a long legacy of serving children in the North Richland Hills area. As a family owned and locally operated business since 1972, we’ve been providing child care to the local community and we look forward to being an important part of children’s lives for years to come.

Smithfield History Article

Mr. Gene Little Director Of The Year Award Recipient. Congratulations to Mrs. Christy Dougan from Little Tyke Richland Hills Campus.

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Christy Dougan Director Of The Year Award 2015

Ms. Christy Dougan came to our company as a young girl with an Associate’s Degree in Child Development and was employed with Little Tyke as an Asst. Dir/Pre K teacher in the 1990’s for 5 years at our Little Tyke – Northeast location.

In 2003 her husband’s job and family situation required them to move back to her husband’s home town in Iowa, where again she continued to serve her community of retires and children as a dance and gymnastics instructor for the local YMCA.

In 2009 she returned to her home town of Hurst and the DFW area and her first call for employment was again Little Tyke – Northeast.

She was immediately rehired as the Asst. Director. She jumped right back into her job and responsibilities as the Asst. and we could tell she hadn’t missed a beat with regards to her love for the children, our company and our industry as a whole.

Our witness to her strong determination to support the Director she worked so close with strongly supported our decision to promote her to a Director’s position at Little Tyke – Richland Hills in 2009.

During her initial year as Director she spent a lot of time doing what new Directors do, second guessing herself, decisions and ability to manage people. We continued to train, support and consult her and in doing so, found that she was her harshest critic.

Ms. Christy has the biggest heart and as a Director managing people this positive attribute can be taken advantage of and seen as a weakness by those being managed. It took Ms. Christy roughly two years to work through her own fears and perfect her own personal management style with regards to long term staff and long term families.

I would describe her style as a Director who is always at her center, approachable, appreciative, and honorable, one who listens to the needs of her staff and the families we serve and does what is ever necessary to fulfill those needs from a customer service standpoint. She ALWAYS goes above and beyond to satisfy the children’s needs and expectations with making sure her staff are offering a learning/nurturing environment.

With managing our company’s oldest location comes the high standard and expectation of having to manage some of our oldest and tenured employees. Employees who had worked for the same Director, Ms. Linda Dawson, for 30 years. Ms. Christy made this transition very seamless and with the least amount of push back from employees we have ever witnessed with a change in Directorship. She did this by not being afraid to work closely alongside and do the hard work necessary to GAIN their respect instead of DEMANDING their respect. This is probably one of her best attributes and one that is required in order to be successful in any management position dealing with people.

We became so impressed with her management style that we make special efforts to send ALL of our managerial trainees to her center in order to work under and with her. Trainee’s evaluations of Ms. Christy’s training techniques have been nothing but positive praise for her ability to really spend the time necessary to make sure they learn ALL aspects of the Directorship position.

5 years later Ms. Christy has become a Director that our other eleven Directors go to with questions and for ideas regarding daily operations. She is respected and appreciated as someone who exhumes confidence. She has become through her own hard work ethics the IDEAL and RESPECTED LITTLE TYKE DIRECTOR and a person we as a company are proud to call a VALUED employee and VALUED person.

When she left in 2003 dad hugged her and told her she would be back and we would still be here for her return and she would always have a place with Little Tyke.

In 2009 upon her return dad was their again to hug her and welcome her back. 6 years later as Director and after 12 years of employment the “young girl” has become a VALUED successful WOMEN with the company that gave her, her first opportunity in child care! A Cinderella Story everyone loves to see happen and as an owner, I am proud to have been a witness too.

Keith Davis Vice-President & Alex Little President
Little Tyke Creative Child Care, Inc.

Texas Rising Star Adopts Quality Standards that Enhance Care for Texas Children

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AUSTIN – The Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is changing its Texas Rising Star (TRS) child care provider certification program to enhance quality childcare services to children and families. In January, TWC commissioners adopted modifications that include a new rating and logo system making it easier for parents to choose a child care provider with the advanced levels of certification standards required of TRS child care providers. The enhanced standards and new star ratings take effect Sept. 1, 2015.

“Through the Texas Rising Star program, we are committed to improving access to quality child care for parents and their children,” said TWC Chairman Andres Alcantar. “We encourage child care providers to consider TRS standards when enhancing the quality of their child care centers.”

The new TRS logos indicate the level of certification met by child care providers participating in the TWC TRS certification system. TRS certified providers offer quality care that exceeds the State’s Minimum Child Care Licensing Standards in five categories: director and staff qualifications; caregiver-child interactions; curriculum; nutrition and indoor/outdoor activities; and parent education and involvement. TRS certified childcare providers exceed minimum licensing requirements to obtain a progressively higher quality level as follows: 2 star level – exceeds minimum licensing requirements in all five categories 3 star level – meets high-quality standards in all five categories 4 star level – meets highest standards of quality in all five categories “Improvements to the new TRS logo and rating system are beneficial for working or job seeking parents because they offer them the opportunity to identify a quality childcare provider for their children,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Labor Ronny Congleton.

Child care providers, parents and other individuals can learn more about the TRS program by visiting the Texas Rising Star website. “Quality childcare is vital to the workforce system because it provides peace of mind to working parents as they train for, find and keep good jobs,” said TWC Commissioner Representing Employers Hope Andrade. “The enhancements to these standards are a good step forward for Texas families and their employers.” TWC’s Child Care Services program provides subsidized child care services needed by low-income families. Eligible families of children under the age of 13 may receive child care financial assistance in order for parents to work, attend school or participate in training. Resources for parents, and child care providers, as well as TRS Certification guidelines, can be found at TWC Child Care Provider Resources.

Source: San Angelo LIVE!

Little Tyke Included In Top 50 Largest for Profit Childcare Companies

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A Message From Our President and Vice President
Today, we are very excited to announce that Little Tyke has once again made it into the Exchange Top 50. If you’re not familiar with the Exchange, it is a listing of the 50 largest for-profit child care organizations in North America, similar to the Fortune 500 of child care services. Little Tyke has remained on the list for several years and we are very proud of this accomplishment.

Dedicated To Children
Even as the child care services has undergone a ‘no growth’ period, due to the economic slowdown, we have remained steadfast in our goal to provide quality early education to children.

We believe our success comes from the belief that every child is unique and has the right to the best childcare possible in a nurturing, educational, and fun environment. We understand that the right environment enables children to gain skills that help them succeed in school.

As more and more parents recognize the value of high-quality child care services, they are also realizing that there are lots of options available. Finding the best child care program can be a daunting task. This is where Little Tykes shines.

With 12 child care locations across the Forth Worth area and a curriculum that offers early learning, after school, and food & nutrition program, parents can’t go wrong.

We also offer a summer camp, spring break, and winter break camps that nurture the imagination and creativity of all age groups. When children engage in activities like sports, arts & crafts, field trips and games, it makes them grow positively in all aspects of life.

Little Tyke and its Promise for a Brighter Future
Little Tyke is grateful for the support that the community continues to give us. We work hard every day to create a positive outcome for everyone. Thank you to the parents and staff for helping to create a brighter future for our younger generation.

Alex Little, President
Keith Davis, Vice-President
Little Tyke Creative Child Care

Little Tyke Receives 2014 Best of Fort Worth Award

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Fort Worth Award Program Honors the Achievement

Best of Fort Worth Award 2014FORT WORTH August 21, 2014 — Little Tyke has been selected for the 2014 Best of Fort Worth Award in the Child Day Care Services category by the Fort Worth Award Program.

Each year, the Fort Worth Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Fort Worth area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2014 Fort Worth Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Fort Worth Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Fort Worth Award Program

The Fort Worth Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Fort Worth area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

The Fort Worth Award Program was established to recognize the best of local businesses in our community. Our organization works exclusively with local business owners, trade groups, professional associations and other business advertising and marketing groups. Our mission is to recognize the small business community’s contributions to the U.S. economy.

SOURCE: Fort Worth Award Program

‘Little Tyke’ Teachers Recognized for 20 Years of Dedicated Service

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Little Tyke Child Care Teacher - 20 year award
‘Little Tyke’ Creative Child Care is proud to recognize two of our outstanding teachers celebrating 20 years of dedicated service as members of the ‘Little Tyke’ family. Both teachers were highlighted at the corporate workshop on May 17, 2014 where they were acknowledged for their achievements and presented with awards for their service.

Christy Roberts is a teacher currently assisting in multiple classrooms at the Crowley campus. Ms. Christy started at the ‘Little Tyke’ Burleson facility (no longer open) before transferring to the Hallmark Campus. She has been a Crowley campus team member since 2012. She completed her CDA (Child Development Associates Credential) in 2010. Although she does not have any children of her own, Ms. Christy loves spending time with her niece and nephew. Little Tyke Child Care - 20 Year Teachers of 2014

Denise Hilton has acquired all of her child care experience at the ‘Little Tyke’ Cleburne campus. She has worked in classrooms with all age groups from infants to the school-agers. She began working with the three year olds before moving to the pre-k four year olds.

From the classrooms Ms. Denise went on to become the Assistant Director. She completed her CDA (Child Development Credential) four years ago. She is a single mother of an amazing 8 year old who keeps her going strong. She loves working with children and seeing their smiles light up their faces. Ms. Denise said, “To see the children grow throughout our center from such a young age… to seeing them move up to middle school is truly a blessing in itself. I am very glad to be working with this company and look forward to seeing what the next 20 years hold.”

Thank you Ms. Christy and Ms. Denise. Your dedication to the education of and caring for children is inspiring. Strong individuals like you touch the future as you make a difference in each child’s life.

-Little Tyke

Study shows obesity rate dropping in children

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Children Running


CDC research sees a decline of 43 percent

By Nicole Luna

A new study shows that although obesity prevalence remains high, obesity rates have dropped in children between the ages of 2-5 years old.

The study, published in the Journal of American Medical Association by researchers of the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, shows that obesity prevalence for 2- to 5-year-olds went from 14 percent in 2003-04 to just over 8 percent in 2011-12 — a decline of nearly 43 percent.

According the CDC website, researchers do not know the reason for the results. Over the years, CDC researchers have found a decline in sugar consumption in youth could be a factor, among other things.

Dr. Ayman Arouse, a pediatrician on the medical staff at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Cleburne and First Step Pediatric Associates, said there isn’t going to be just one reason but many contributing factors for the decline.

“Unfortunately, obesity is still on the rise,” he said. “However, a lot of parents are becoming more aware about their children’s diet. I especially see a lot of younger parents making conscious decisions in their kid’s diet.”

Breastfeeding is one of the best methods to extending benefits that go beyond basic nutrition, Arouse said.

“Breastfeeding is by far the best decision a mother can do for her child,” Arouse said. “When mothers begin giving a child baby formula early on, they tend to start giving a child baby food early as well.”

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, breast milk contains all the vitamins and nutrients a baby needs in the first six months of life. Breast milk is packed with disease-fighting substances that protect a baby from illness.

Arouse recommends mothers breastfeeding their children, then introducing them to healthy eating habits. The key is to get them while they’re young, he said.

According to a CDC press release, even though the center cannot find a precise reason they have found that over the last few years, many child care centers have improved nutrition and physical activity standards.

Kim Chance, Cleburne ISD child nutrition director, said the goal is change the child’s desired taste. She said if children begin to eat healthy early on those habits will continue as they get older, not only in school but also outside of school.

“From what I’ve seen, the elementary school kids are more receptive than the high school kids,” she said.

CISD follows the Texas Public School Nutrition Policy that provides nutrition standards for each school district.

Little Tyke Child Care Director Lisa Hilton said the facility also follows those same state nutrition program for the children. She also makes sure the children receive daily exercise. However, she hasn’t noticed a decline or change in children’s eating habits.

“We live in a fast-paced world so I do tend to see parents giving their children more fast food meals,” Hilton said. “But there are families who are more health conscious and others that are just not.”

The CDC release also has comments from First Lady Michelle Obama, who launched a campaign in 2012 to end childhood obesity.

“I am thrilled at the progress we’ve made over the last few years in obesity rate among our youngest Americans,” she said.

Arouse commended Obama’s effort, as well as the efforts schools and childcare centers have done to promote healthy lifestyle, but he said it has to start with the families.

“We need to lead by example. As a family, if you are eating healthy together and exercising together, the kids will follow,” he said.

According to the study, obesity is still on the rise and Arouse said parents need to be aware of the serious health risks obesity can have on a child.

Immediate health risks of obesity include:

  • Obese youth have higher risk of high cholesterol or high blood pressure, as well as risk factors for cardiovascular disease. According to the CDC, in a population-based sample of 5- to 17-year-olds, 70 percent of obese youth had at least one risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
  • Even though the disease isn’t necessarily present in the child, within 20-30 years he or she may be suffering from heart disease, diabetes, arthritis or even cancer.
  • Children and adolescents who are obese are at greater risk for bone and joint problems, sleep apnea and social and psychological problems such as stigmatization and poor self-esteem.

Source: Cleburne Times-Review

Santa Claus makes toys in North Richland Hills workshop

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NORTH RICHLAND HILLS — In a tiny workshop in John Horn’s back yard, Santa Claus comes to life.

“I am the real Santa,” he shouted to be heard over the roar of a wood lathe.

A spray of sawdust pitched up from a whirling piece of wood that Horn was working on and flew at his face like a blizzard. When he finally leaned back and switched off the machine, what had been a plain old piece of two-by-four pine was almost a race car.

Tiny slivers of wood clung to the wreath of hair that circled Horn’s head. His eyes twinkled from a broad face. He laughed, making his belly shake like jelly and sending wood chips tumbling from a beard that was white as snow.

“I get a great sense of satisfaction doing something with my hands,” Horn said.

Unfortunately, not many of his handmade toys get into kids’ hands. These days a lot of children ask for things like the Rainbow Loom and American Girl dolls, Horn said.

“The older ones want iPhones and iPads,” he said. “They aren’t exposed to wooden toys in the stores and on TV, so they don’t ask for them. But handmade wooden toys by Santa will last through generations.”

Horn’s been turning a variety of woods into works of art — including toys — for a long time. But at 81, the retired band teacher/Army veteran/gumball machine manager knows that wood turning brings more satisfaction than profit.

“You can’t make a living on a lathe that does one thing at a time,” Horn said.

The spirit of Christmas

But you can make a lot of things that bring people joy. Through clubs like Woodturners of North Texas and Golden Triangle Woodturners, toy cars and wooden tops made on Horn’s lathe have found their way to hundreds of kids — most of them underprivileged and/or physically challenged.

Since 1996, when North Pointe Baptist Church in Hurst, where Horn is a deacon, needed Santa for part of its Christmas pageant, he’s taken on the role of St. Nick.

It was the church’s pastor, Paul Paschall, who saw the spirit of Christmas reflected in the twinkle of Horn’s eyes. Santa was soon showing up at members’ homes for Christmas parties.

“I remember when he came to my house on Christmas Day 15 years ago,” Paschall said. “It was like a rock star showed up at our front door. We had a house full of grandkids. He was Santa, and people believed.”

It’s sad when some people stop believing in Santa.

“When I find out someone doesn’t believe …,” he said, “well, there’s no point in coming to see them. Ho … ho … ho.”

‘He’s here! He’s here!’

None of those people are among the children at Little Tyke Child Care Center in Richland Hills, said the director, Christy Dougan.

“As soon as he hits the door they’re yelling ‘He’s here! He’s here!’” Dougan said. “This isn’t your mall Santa. Sometimes at the mall they’re in a hurry to get the kids in and out. He’s very patient.”

He not only listens to what kids have to say, but also gives hugs and knows their names, Dougan said.

“He calls each child one by one by name to his lap,” Dougan said. “And he gives each child a wrapped story book, because Santa wants children to learn to read.”

But Horn also wants people to remember the meaning of Christmas itself, and it’s a message he frequently passes on to the kids who climb onto his lap.

“The thrill is to spread the joy of the celebration of the birth of our savior,” he said.

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Texas Licensed Child Care Association Awards Mr. Gene Little For Dedication and Service to Texas Children

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Gene Little Award 2013

Award Given to Mr. Gene Little (Founder of Little Tyke Creative Child Care, Inc.), from the Texas Licensed Child Care Association.

The Texas Licensed Child Care Association recognized Mr. Gene Little on November 16, 2013 at the Park Cities Holiday Inn in Dallas Texas. He was awarded for his years of dedication and service to children and the child care industry, for his wisdom and guidance to the association. He and his wife Jean have played a meaningful part in children’s lives since 1968. Mr. Little first got involved with TLCCA in 1972 and is considered as one of the founding fathers of the organization. He was also actively involved and the president of the National Child Care Association for many years as well.

Gene and Jean’s History of Service:

  • Gene Little has a BS Ed. & Master’s Degree Education (MED)
  • Gene got his childcare license in 1968.
  • Gene & his wife Jean joined TLCCA of Ft. Worth in 1972.
  • Jean & Gene represented Ft. Worth on the state board in 1973.
  • Gene served two terms as President of the Ft. Worth TLCCA.
  • Jean also served two terms as President of the Ft. Worth TLCCA.
  • Gene & Jean assisted start up Nation Child Care Association and Gene represented Texas on NCCA Board.
  • Gene was Chairman of Accreditation committee for NCCA Board.
  • Gene was the first three term National President.
  • Jean & Gene served on Childcare Advisory Committee for Texas D.P.R.S.
  • Jean & Gene served on numerous committees for Texas D.P.R.S.
  • Jean helped write NCCA original accreditation program and served as an evaluator for the program.
  • Jean served as president and executive director for TLCCA, which operated out of the Little Tyke office to conserve funds.
  • Jean was president of TLCCA when the P.A.C. (Professional Administrative Credential) was written, approved and implemented.

Gene and Jean have always believed that reasonable yet enforceable childcare regulations were necessary.Keeping requirements affordable so that children could remain in licensed, inspected care was a constant challenge. This challenge remains a concern of TLCCA today.

We want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Little for their true devotion to the children of Texas over the years.

Thank you Mr. Little!

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