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Childcare Center and Preschool Staff

Lis Ernst
Childcare Center Director

About Lis

I have been the Director at Hills & Dales Childcare since 2010.  Before becoming the Director, I taught four year old preschool and two year old preschool for several years.  I attended the University of Iowa receiving my Therapeutic Recreation Degree in 2006 and then returning to school to receive my Elementary Education Certificate in 2008.  Throughout college I worked at a before and after school program in Coralville and loved the experience working with school age children, which is what pulled me in the direction of Elementary Education.  Upon returning to Dubuque after college I took a preschool teaching job, as they were not hiring in the schools.  I thought this would be a one year experience and then try to get an elementary position the following year.  Turns out I loved early childhood!  I continued to teach preschool and then taking a two year old teaching position here at Hills & Dales in 2009.  My passion now is working with young children.  As the director I have the opportunity to work with families and young children.  Early childhood is more than just babysitting, while families are at work or school.  We are teaching young children to become lifelong learners, focusing on skills such as social-emotional, physical, language and cognitive development.  I cannot think of anything I would rather be doing than help educate our youngest learners.


Staff Training

All staff members: Trained in CPR, First Aid, Universal Precautions and Mandatory Reporting. 10 hours of additional training are required annually for all staff. These trainings include developmentally appropriate practices, health/safety standards, and curriculum ideas. All trainings are approved through Childcare Resource and Referral.

New staff will receive the New Staff Orientation training through Iowa State University Extension. The director will also orientate new staff to Hills & Dales policies and licensing regulations. All trainings and orientations will be documented and kept on file for each staff.

Director: Hills & Dales Childcare Director will have all the above qualifications and trainings. The Director will also meet training requirements identified for QRS or other certification requirements by attending additional trainings and conferences each year. The director will hold monthly meetings and share information from trainings and conferences with staff members.

Child/Staff Ratios

Child to staff ratios are maintained in accordance with licensing standards established by the Department of Human Services.

  • Infants/Toddlers: 1 childcare staff to 4 children
  • Two-year olds: 1 childcare staff to 6 children
  • Three-year olds: 1 childcare staff to 8 children
  • Four-year olds: 1 childcare staff to 12 children
  • Five to Twelve-year olds: 1 childcare staff to 15 children
  • Children/adolescents 13-18 to be determined by Director