March 2016 Child Care Provider of the Month – The Growing Patch

April 01, 2016

provider childrenArlington, VA – Child Care Aware® of America (CCAoA), National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC), National Head Start Association (NHSA), and National Indian Child Care Association (NICCA) would like to congratulate Tarra Stangl and the staff at The Growing Patch in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. They have been named Provider of the Month for March 2016.

The Provider of the Month campaign was launched in May of 2015 in conjunction with Provider Appreciation Day on May 8 to honor outstanding child care providers and early childhood educators who exemplify what it means to be a high-quality care provider for children.

Providers like Stangl go above and beyond to be outstanding in their field—and while being a child care provider started out as a means for some extra income, infant and toddler care soon became a passion for her. Stangl actively seeks out opportunities to improve her family child care home and grow her child development and parent engagement skills in order to be the best provider she can be.

Family engagement at The Growing Patch starts from the moment children are dropped off for the day. Stangl intentionally staggers pick-up times so that she has an opportunity to check-in with parents one-on-one. Parents receive a monthly newsletter and calendar, attend a mandatory parent meeting at the beginning of each year, have several opportunities to participate in special events on-site, and are included in community outreach.

Stangl and The Growing Patch put a heavy emphasis on nurturing healthy growth and development of the children in their care. This includes participating in Ages and Stages twice a year, setting goals with parents on developmentally appropriate skills for children, and planning activities based around those goals. Stangl even shares a meal with parents during these planning sessions to help build the relationship between the family and the provider.

Stangl herself takes trainings to engage the children in her care in healthy eating and active behaviors. Color Me Healthy has led to an interactive experience for the toddlers to discover healthy foods while learning their nutritional value. Yoga Pretzels was an easy physical extension to the healthy eating activity and has had an obvious impact on the anxiety and energy of the children. Some trainings Stangl participates in are applicable to parents, too, and she is more than happy to invite parents to participate. Learning how to better read the nonverbal cues of small children and handle social interactions between them through the Circle of Security training not only benefits children while they are in child care but also when they are at home.

Stangl took advantage of local child care resource and referral agencies (CCR&R) when she became licensed, and in the last seven years she has been mentoring new providers.

We are so grateful to Tarra Stangl—she is setting the standard for child care providers by encouraging the healthy development of the children in their care.

Congratulations to The Growing Patch, an outstanding child care provider in Des Moines, Iowa!

Nominate an Outstanding Provider

Do you know an outstanding provider or early childhood educator who is deserving of the Provider of the Month award? Visit for details on how to nominate them, and help Child Care Aware® of America and partner organizations honor those providers that go above and beyond every day!
cca-america-logo-rgbChild Care Aware of America
Child Care Aware of America is our nation’s leading voice for child care. CCAoA works with state and local Child Care Resource and Referral agencies (CCR&Rs) and other community partners to ensure that all families have access to quality, affordable child care. CCAoA leads projects that increase the quality and availability of child care, offer comprehensive training to child care professionals, undertake research, and advocate for child care policies that improve the lives of children and families. To learn more, visit Follow them on Twitter @USAChildCare and on Facebook at

naeycNational Association for the Education of Young Children
NAEYC’s mission is to promote high-quality early learning for all children, birth through age 8, by connecting practice, policy, and research. NAEYC advances a diverse, dynamic early childhood profession and supports all who care for, educate, and work on behalf of young children. Learn more at

NAFCCNational Association for Family Child Care
The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) is dedicated to promoting quality child care by strengthening the profession of family child care. NAFCC accomplishes this mission by strengthening state and local associations as the primary support system for individual family child care providers, promoting a professional accreditation program which recognizes and encourages quality child care for children, representing family child care providers by advocating for their needs and collaborating with other organizations, and promoting the diversity of the family child care profession. Learn more at

New NHSA LogoNational Head Start Association
The National Head Start Association (NHSA) is a non-partisan, not-for-profit organization committed to the belief that every child, regardless of circumstances at birth, has the ability to succeed in life. The opportunities offered by Head Start lead to healthier, empowered children and families, and stronger, more vibrant communities. NHSA is the voice for more than 1 million children, 200,000 staff and 1,600 Head Start grantees in the United States. For more information about NHSA, visit

NICCA logo with nameNational Indian Child Care Association
The mission of National Indian Child Care Association is to unify tribes and tribal organizations to promote high quality culturally relevant child care and development. National Indian Child Care Association will provide leadership, support, and communication on behalf of Native American children, families, and communities. To learn more about NICCA, visit or follow them on Facebook at


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Topics: Workforce, News

Chrisi West

Written by Chrisi West

Chrisi has more than 11 years of experience in advocacy (grassroots and digital) through her work for nonprofits, and on candidate and issues organizing campaigns in Virginia and at the national level. She joined Child Care Aware of America in March 2015 and has supported the work of Child Care Aware of America on communications, digital organizing, and now as the director of advocacy, empowering CCR&Rs and family advocates to take action on child care and early childhood education.