Maurice & Theressa Stephens

Dawn Cauthen-Thornton | September 19th, 2019
Maurice & Theressa Stephens (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Maurice & Theressa Stephens (Photos by Still Shots Photography)

Investing in a child’s future is key to their success and the prosperity of mankind overall. Nourishing their young minds with creativity allows it to grow and experience a constant metamorphosis needed to flourish.

Theressa Stephens and her husband Terrah ‘Maurice’ Stephens, owners of Church Childcare Center, Inc. and Church Childcare Center Plus, have taken on the challenge and responsibility of shaping the next generation of leaders and creatives and aim to provide them with alternative activities to broaden their interests.
Early on in the life of the daycare center, Maurice noticed that the children, along with his own, would learn the basic things that are taught such as numbers, letters, speech, playing together, among other pertinent subjects and character traits. But not much creativity was being introduced. After years of thought, Maurice, an engineer, couldn’t simply allow the children’s budding brains to stay stagnant so he presented an idea to his wife that she fell in love with.

“The whole initiative with ‘Plus’ is we know what we traditionally get with childcare and the goal was to give children some options outside of what you see in a standard childcare facility. We want to give them the option to touch things and do things that they’re typically told not to do,” explains Theressa.

The couple decided to incorporate an advanced music and entertainment program so they acquired enough state-of-the-art equipment to fill a professional studio. Pieces such as synthesizers, keyboards, drum machines, sound mixers, cameras and various lighting equipment are all housed in a newly constructed event center that also doubles as a gymnasium. Now parents aren’t forced to rush and pick up their children then transport them across town to another location for certain extracurricular activities. They can simply select what they want the child to participate in, pay the additional cost (if applicable) and make one trip at the end of the work day. Some activities are offered during childcare hours.

“Last month we had a film crew come in and help the children make a short film, which was a big hit. Over the summer we hosted a theater camp and the kids were able to do a play for their parents at the end of that week.” Almost 200 parents and family members attended the premiere of the short film.
The facility also offers a sports program that includes basketball, soccer, tae kwon do, yoga, and dance. They hire professionals for a particular activity so the children can learn from someone who is well-versed in that field.

Currently, the center is partnering with Huami For Kids Magazine, on a ‘kidpreneurship’ and talent show project that will introduce children to the world of business and entertainment. In October, they will offer a space for children to sell products or services they’ve created, whether it’s cookies or clothing. They will have the opportunity to set up booths and showcase their items for purchase.

“It’s really all about allowing them access or giving them exposure to a certain type of talent. We’ve also brought in high school bands that come out and set up a full set of instruments. Because high school students are much closer in age, it lets the kids see what’s in reach within the next few years,” says Maurice.
According to studies conducted by the University of Southern California’s Brain and Creativity Institute, instrument instruction appears to accelerate brain development. Neuroscientists compared school children learning to play musical instruments with peers who weren’t.

They found that the young musicians had more-developed auditory pathways, which connect the ear to the brain. Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, an associate professor of education, psychology, and neuroscience at USC says, “Engagement with the arts gives you ways to think about problems as multifaceted and as being open-ended with no single correct answer.”

The Stephens’ seem to be on the right track by offering different artistic activities to enhance the brainpower of their students. Because it resides at the same location, it also allows the parents to streamline how many locations they’re traveling to after school, which maximizes quality time spent together.

The facility opened it’s doors in September 2018 and are slowly increasing student and equipment capacity. They plan to build on the talent show aspect and offer them at least once a month to present to parents more often. A sports league may be on the horizon for the future, though that’s still being explored. They’re currently in talks with other childcare facilities nearby to offer their programs to their students.

Maurice freely admits that the event space has attracted many more families to the center. “The first thing they do is head to the space to see everything we’ve done and added. And the kids are excited to show their parents what’s in there,” says Maurice.

The ultimate goal is to prepare the kids for a real-world environment. The ability to speak in public will serve them well as they matriculate through school, college, then adulthood. “When we ask them to get on stage and present a magic trick, but what we’re really doing is preparing them to not be afraid to present themselves to a large crowd. I have to do that at work now, but I didn’t have that growing up,” Maurice says.

The investment Church Childcare Center, Plus has made in the children with the enhancements to their new program has been worth every penny spent. The joy on the faces of the children that benefit from the entertainment and sports equipment far outweighs the cost. The amazement on the faces of the parents when they what their precious child has accomplished is priceless

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