Category Archives: News

North Texas mobile art studio teaches children how to paint

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Art on wheels? It’s an everyday thing for one North Texan

“To sit down and to get to just paint for an hour or two or however long it takes, it’s pretty therapeutic,” Little said.

Author: Matt Howerton

TARRANT COUNTY, Texas — Remember being a kid? And a bus would show up to school during the day?

Usually, it meant one thing…field trip.

But for 39-year-old Niki Little, her bus is the field trip.

Little is the owner of the Little Art Bus. It’s a mobile art studio that travels around North Texas teaching children at daycares and schools how to paint and do crafts.

“When I wanted a bus, I thought everyone was going to think that I was crazy,” Little said.

“Instead, they were like ‘oh my gosh that’s a great idea.'”

Three years ago Little quit her job in retail and turned her love for art into a new career.

She started by painting pet portraits.

“That was really addicting, so I decided if there was a way that I could do art full time you know I could be at home more for my daughter,” Little said.

In December of 2017, a lightbulb went off in Little’s head. What if she turned an old Blue Bird bus into an art studio on wheels?

“You can pretty much turn a bus into anything, so that’s how this all started,” Little said.

Little borrowed around $35,000, and the transformation began.

“The bus dealership, they did all of the paint. They took the seats out, so when I got it it was painted, had the generator, and the AC units,” Little said.

Basically, think of a normal school bus but instead of having seats it has tables running along the windows for kids to do their work.

“The tables are just on hinges, and they fold down so it’s pretty easy,” Little said. “We can pretty much make it whatever we want it to be.”

On a monthly basis, Little visits up to nine daycares around North Texas. She also does painting parties, and in her own free time, she even visits the Dallas VA Medical Center to teach veterans how to paint.

“To sit down and to get to just paint for an hour or two or however long it takes, it’s pretty therapeutic,” Little said.

Not bad for someone who quit their job to follow their passion.

“I mean it really is a dream,” Little said. “I can’t believe that I’m driving a bus that we do art on and when I go to daycares the kids are just so excited.”

If you would like to learn more, visit www.thelittleartbus.com.

Source: WFAA Dallas

Using Red Noses to Raise Child Poverty Awareness

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For Red Nose Day USA, Green Valley Healthcare & Rehabilitation Center used red noses to spread joy and raise awareness of child poverty. As part of their local community efforts, they visited Little Tyke Learning Centers in North Richland Hills and had a blast with the kids! Thanks to all the Green Valley staff for encouraging smiles while bringing attention to the important issues that children face everyday.

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

North Richland Hills military home coming

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North Richland Hills Military_home_coming 2017

NORTH RICHLAND HILLS – Tucked inside an empty classroom at Green Valley Elementary, the school’s new mascot for a day is wriggling into a bright green furry alligator costume.

“I got this,” said a muffled Marla Carney from underneath the head of the costume.

After nine long months, Marla is back. The Army Reservist was deployed to Taji, Iraq, last year. She returned stateside after the holidays, but just in time to surprise her 5- and 7-year-old daughters at school their first week back after the break.

“They still think I’m at Fort Hood,” she said, letting out a chuckle. “I almost let it slip last night on the phone.”

Following a bout with the flu, a few white lies, and a little help from her husband, Julien, the mother of three worked it out with the district to surprise her daughters at school. A second surprise reunion would happen later in the afternoon with the couple’s 2-year-old daughter.

“I’m excited, I’m nervous, just super excited to see them,” she said. “I missed numerous birthdays, I missed every holiday imaginable this year. Now I get to re-do everything and start over.”

In full costume, the 29-year-old was ushered down the hallway to the all-school assembly in the cafeteria. Once through the doors, the room erupted into cheers for Gator.

Marla stood at the front of the room, waving her arms and bouncing along to the program.

“I just kept laughing,” she said. “I could see her (Carmi) the whole entire time.”

The sisters were called up to the front to talk about the topic kindness, and share how they help their dad while their mom is away. Then came the big moment.

When Marla finally took off the mascot head and revealed herself, and the room erupted again, the girds didn’t even recognize her at first.

“It was so nice,” Marla said. “I didn’t want to let them go.”

It took the Carney’s oldest daughter, Carmi, only “two blinks” before she figured out her mom was standing there. But once they knew, they wouldn’t leave her side.

“I’ve been through all of their emotions all year of them missing her, and then for them anticipating her (return),” said Julien Carney who had been hiding at the back of the cafeteria during the assembly. “Actually seeing it, was exciting.”

After posing for photos, plus more hugs and kisses, the family was escorted back to an empty classroom where they could visit while the students returned to their classes. A family dinner was planned for that evening at Cheesecake Factory that had the girls yelping for joy.

For now, the Carney’s will get some much needed leave time together.

“You don’t know how much you miss it until you don’t have it,” Marla said.

Source: WFAA.com

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

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