MARVEL Center opens enrollment for Meadow River Valley children

By Bobby Bordelon

The Meadow River Early Childhood Learning and Training Center (MARVEL) has opened enrollment for the fall, providing childcare, education, and after-school programs for the Meadow River Valley on the western side of Greenbrier County.

“We’re planning on opening August 31, that’s our target date,” said MARVEL Director Cari Harper. “We have open enrollment until then, and then it will be based on how many spots we have left. … The building is ready for students now. We’re working on part of it, but the part for the kids is ready. We’re waiting on our licensing now.”

With plans for the MARVEL Caterpillar to be painted across the front, the Center is located in the previous, newly-renovated Rupert Elementary School building. Photo courtesy of Ruth Caruthers

The MARVEL Center will be an inclusive resource center for parents, aiming to provide a variety of services, including childcare, after-school programs, tutoring, parenting classes, and more. Located in the recently-renovated old Rupert Elementary School building, the center will service the approximate 150 children throughout the Meadow River watershed, including Smoot, Rainelle, Rupert, Quinwood, Crichton, and Sam Black.

“We’re going to be an early learning facility. It’s not just daycare, we’re going to be focused with a curriculum,” Harper said. “We’re going to be focused on [the Creative Curriculum] from ages six weeks to two years. Then we’ll be doing after school, or during-school depending on how school starts back up, for the five-to-12-year olds.”

Both the MARVEL Center and local schools have adopted the Creative Curriculum, guidelines endorsed by the West Virginia Department of Education for teaching fundamentals in mathematics, language, executive function development, and literacy to preschool students.

Considerations around the COVID-19 pandemic and what the fall semester could look like for students is also under consideration. Even if schools shut down, the MARVEL Center will remain open as it is classified as essential, Harper explained.

“We’re definitely going to take the precautions that are in place from DHHR, as well as the CDC,” Harper said. “Being a childcare facility, it is a little different because we have children, but we’re going to be focus a lot on the handwashing, sterilization of the toys, mask wearing, temperature taking before entering the building, and we’ll limit visitors.”

Throughout the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the MARVEL Center has served as a pick-up location for Greenbrier County students receiving food deliveries through the Greenbrier County school system.

Those looking for enrollment packets can find them at the MARVEL Center Facebook page, or at their website, themarvelcenter.org, or by calling 682-262-2016. The center itself can be found at 138 Cranberry Avenue, Rupert WV 25984.

“If anyone wants an enrollment packet, they can call or they can get on Facebook and message us and we’ll send those out to them,” Harper said.