Protecting the children of those who guard the coast

Coast Guard Training Center Cape May NewsCAPE MAY, N.J. – Local Coast Guardsmen serve the Nation every day both locally and globally, but there’s a group of professionals who protect those Coast Guardsmen’s most precious possessions, their children, while they protect the coast.

The 22-person staff of the Child Development Center aboard Coast Guard Training Center Cape May watches over more than 83 children daily while their parents do everything from drive ships to train recruits. While 90 percent of the children in the CDC have Coast Guard parents, other U.S. armed and uniformed services are represented here including the Army, Air Force, National Guard and Public Health Service.

“How can you serve your country if you aren’t sure your children are being taken care of,” said Kathi Getka, the Director of the CDC. “We take this responsibility and duty very seriously.”

According to the Military Child Education Coalition, Military children generally move six to nine times during their K-12 school years, and the variances in educational programs, separation from a deployed family member and frequent moves can cause frustration and anxiety in military children.

Getka says the program at the CDC is developed to give children a head start to counter act the instability in a military family’s life.

“When our children leave here they have more than their basic readiness skills, many of them usually excel,” says Getka. “The Creative Curriculum we follow here is widely respected among child care professionals nationwide, and we have a comprehensive training and professional development program for our staff.”

The CDC cares for children ranging from six-weeks to four-years old providing multiple activities and opportunities for development. Children make movies, play on child friendly computers, learn on a touch-responsive whiteboard and much more.

“They are very flexible and conducive to the military lifestyle because they will tailor their hours around a demanding military work schedule,” says Petty Officer 2nd Class Mary Hoy, who works aboard Training Center Cape May and has two children attending the CDC. Hoy’s husband Petty Officer 2nd Class Christopher Hoy is also a Coast Guardsman and works as an air crewman and aviation electronics technician at Air Station Atlantic City, N.J.

Hoy also says the structured learning environment and staff have helped her children excel both verbally and socially. She says with each class her children improve in a variety of different skills and developmental areas.

Military children are not the only ones benefiting from the CDC’s advanced curriculum and highly-trained staff. Several members of the community also have children enrolled at the center, which is also open to the public. For more information about the CDC, please call 609-898-6921/20.

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