Step Up To Quality Stories

Step 5 spotlight: How Carime Ruvalcaba positively impacts Nebraska’s children and the profession

Meet Carime Ruvalcaba, director and owner of Karime Child Care, LLC, a family child care home in Grand Island, Nebraska. Achieving a Step 5 rating is one of Carime’s many accomplishments. Her continual learning and involvement in the early childhood education field has elevated the quality of her care and helped others along the way.

What inspired you to become a child care provider?

I worked in the meat processing industry for many years, and after getting through some difficult life circumstances, I found the reason why God sent me into this world: to educate, protect and take care of children.

I wanted to own a business, and I have now been director of my own program for six years. I am the first Hispanic person in early childhood daycare services who has achieved this level in Grand Island. I take care of up to 10 children, and my waitlist has continued to grow. My childcare and educational philosophy is driven by the well-being and development of children.

Although I don’t know English, with the help of my phone and Google Translate, I’ve completed more than 280 hours of training in the past six years.

With the support of Nebraska Early Childhood Collaborative (NECC) and a large group of providers in the Omaha area, I obtained my National Child Development Associate (CDA) credential. NECC has also recognized me as an Elevated Provider of the Month in December 2021 and as Early Childhood Champion in March 2023 for my dedication to developing the future of Nebraska and helping our communities prosper. I continue to be a part of NECC’s Elevate program.

I also have the honor of being a member of the Nebraska Early Childhood Workforce Leadership Cadre by the Buffett Early Childhood Institute, which brings together 26 leaders in the field of education. We provide information and ideas that help implement projects that increase the quality and quantity of professionals dedicated to early childhood education.

I am certified as a Safe With You trainer in Spanish, and I volunteer with a group of organizations in monthly meetings, which are held in College Park in Grand Island every last Wednesday of the month. We offer free assistance to people interested in taking care of and educating children. We explain the process of how to obtain a license, offer trainings and share information that helps them improve their programs. I am happy to share my knowledge and experience.

How did you learn about Step Up to Quality? Why did you decide to join?

I learned about Step Up to Quality through the Nebraska Early Childhood Professional Record System (NECPRS) and decided to join to raise the quality of my program. The first five years of a child’s life determine the kind of adult they will become. The way that you interact with a child influences their brain development, memory, emotions, learning, reasoning, problem-solving and decision-making. I want to be one of the people who positively influences the lives and futures of children and their families.

How does it feel to be rated at the Step 5?

I feel very proud and satisfied. It is a great achievement for my program, and it allows me to further my career as a professional in early childhood education and child care.

In what ways has Step Up to Quality helped boost the quality of your child care practices?

Thanks to the training I completed through Step Up to Quality, I can offer more and better interactions with children, and I can also identify and respond adequately to the emotional and physical needs of each child in conjunction with families. The observations were very important to identify the things I’m doing well and to give me the opportunity to make improvements. I believe better results are obtained if you build instead of repair.

What words of encouragement do you have for providers who are considering joining Step Up to Quality or are still working through the steps?

Joining Step Up to Quality allows you to learn and improve your program, which then gives you the opportunity to improve the future of Nebraska’s children and families. And as part of the Nebraska Department of Education, Step Up to Quality training truly makes you a professional.