This year marks the tenth anniversary of the opening of Rainbow Learning Center and Daycare. It was a dream that owner Minerva Graham had 10 years ago to have “simply the best” daycare.
She had a goal of creating an all-around daycare with an environment that is academically enriching as well as compassionate and nurturing.
Seven years ago, the original daycare burned to the ground in the same location, which Graham said was a blessing in disguise. After the daycare was rebuilt, it could hold more children and could have more space in general.
When Rainbow opened 10 years ago, the enrollment was 12 children, there were four classrooms, and four employees, including Graham. Now the enrollment is between 60 and 70 children, there are six classrooms and 15 employees. The child development associates that started with Graham 10 years ago are Shelia Sanders, Traci Gamble, and April Cook.
Graham’s family has a background in running family businesses, so that prompted her with the want to continue the family tradition and open her own daycare.
She taught in education in Tupelo for 14 years, has a background in business and has received numerous degrees.
She received her bachelors degree in liberal arts from Spelman College, she received her elementary education degree from Blue Mountain College, she received her masters degree in gifted education from the Mississippi University for Women, and she received her specialist degree in education administration from the University of Mississippi.
Currently, she is the owner of Rainbow Learning Center and Daycare and is the director at New Albany South Tippah Union County Alternative School (NASTUC) Behavioral Management Center. Graham is also minority business certified with the Arkansas Mississippi Minority Development Council.
Shelia Sanders, director of Rainbow, said, “God called upon me at the age of 24 to work here at Rainbow.”
“I love kids. I have been keeping kids and taking care of them since I was 12 years old. I care about these kids, their well-being, and their education – we want these kids to succeed,” said Sanders. If I can help one child succeed, I know I have done a good thing. I love talking to those I have kept when they were children and see how they are doing now and progressing in life. I love the idea that there are children that will get their start at Rainbow and will go on to do something positive in their life.”
Graham and Sanders said that over the past 10 years, accountability standards is what has changed the most.
Graham said, “Academic requirements have changed a lot under Mississippi Department of Education. Lesson plans have to follow the dept. of education guidelines, there has to be a daycare center handbook, learning centers are required, weekly lesson plans need to be written out, a monthly calendar for parents needs to be in place, and parent-teacher conferences need to take place.”
Charlotte Polk, resource technician for Mississippi Department of Human Services, Division of Early Childhood Care and Development, goes to Rainbow on a constant basis and she said, “We partner with childcare centers all over the state and help them achieve a quality star rating.”
Rainbow Learning Center and Daycare teaches using the Mississippi Child Care Quality Step System.
All of the staff members at Rainbow are equipped and trained to keep handicapped children. The ages that Rainbow associates takes care of start at six weeks old and go up to 12 years old.
Rainbow Learning Center and Daycare is located at 706 S. Central Avenue and the business’s phone number is 662-539-0408.