STEAM Learning Center Picks Up Steam for Young Children

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By Helena Tavares Kennedy

Story time is an important part of early education at the Learning Center.

Some parents have a hard time finding a daycare center for their children that fits their needs, and most are pretty picky about where to leave their children for the day. Visiting the centers, meeting the teachers, checking out the classrooms, and talking to other parents is all part of the process when choosing the right environment for your child. But the Precious Bookworm Daycare and Learning Center LLC stands out from the rest for one big reason: STEAM.

STEM is the more familiar term for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, but this daycare adds “A” for Arts and substitutes the “M” in math for music. The Precious Bookworm STEAM Learning Center rotates the focus for each day of the week so that children from ages six weeks to 12 years old have access to high-quality learning opportunities in STEAM subjects, as follows:

Monday – Science,
Tuesday – Technology,
Wednesday – Engineering,
Thursday – Art, and
Friday – Music.

“Our goal is to provide a safe, high-quality setting that is both enriching and enjoyable for children as they learn, play and grow,” said owner and founder Meschelle Williams. “We feel the formative years of children who attend are most critical for learning. Each application and instruction is uniquely tailored to
meet a child’s individual needs and interest.”

Childcare Is Prep for School
Williams created Precious Bookworm in 2008 because a girlfriend of hers, who had a child with congestive heart failure, “asked if I could care for her child after three long years of being in/out of the
hospital,” said Williams. “Since we were foster parents that dealt with children who were therapeutic and had special needs, she felt comfortable leaving her daughter with me and that was the start of Precious Bookworm.”

With a staff of four, one volunteer, and two flexible floaters, Precious Bookworm cares for 12 children currently. “Our mission is to prepare children for successful navigation into kindergarten,” said Williams. “Our clients know that their children are not just dropped off here to a babysitter, they are here to learn.”

The staff at Precious Bookworm use language, sounds, signs, written words and movement to teach letter and number awareness, color identification, and shape observance. “Our communication, which includes making sure the giving, receiving and understanding of information is clear, [caters]to their age level, which sometimes includes incorporating rhythmic sound and body movement,” Williams said. The staff also work hard at meeting the Virginia Star Quality Initiative (VSQI) program objectives when teaching children. VSQI is a state program that assesses child care and preschool programs every two years.

Signature Program Connects Children to Local Community
“One of our signature programs brings local professionals from the community in to visit Precious Bookworm students, giving children an opportunity to hear storytelling, see and share new books and experience musical performances by local musicians, and see demonstrations from educators, community helpers, and fire safety and EMS personnel,” said Williams. “These professionals include community leaders like the executive director of Smart Beginnings Greater Prince William, Kendra Kielbasa; author Michael Otaigbe, Ph.D.; co-owner of Mahogany Books, Ramunda Lark Young; president of Eastern Prince William Area Family Child Care Association, Mary Braxton; and other amazing community leaders.”

Some examples of recent STEAM projects are a “Living in Ice” project where children were able to observe the effects salt has on ice, a make-your-own playdough project, a “Musical Bottles” experiment to find out how differently pitched sounds are made, and “The Floating Egg” project, where children discovered in which liquids an egg will float.

Rave reviews for Precious Bookworm abound, with parents highlighting how caring the staff is and how much their children enjoy attending. One parent, Jonathan James, said, “I truly can say that Precious Bookworm exceeded my expectations. I’m always worried about how my son adjusts when entering a new environment. Mrs. Williams made him feel welcomed and loved. We still use some of the learning techniques he learned while attending the daycare.”

When asked what makes Precious Bookworm stand apart from other daycare centers, Williams said the STEAM focus is an obvious differentiator, but the center’s focus really is on “creating a wholesome,
family-centered partnership.”

Parents are also kept in the loop with Precious Bookworm’s monthly newsletter that “shares local family activities, parenting tips, sight words, bible verses, stories, letters, shapes, and color awareness
activities for the month,” said Williams.

The center is also a USDA certified feeding center, serving children nutritional breakfasts, lunches and healthy snacks every day of the week. “Our students are introduced to a variety of fruits and vegetables to promote healthy eating,” said Williams. “A meal plan is generated and sent to USDA’s Childcare Network to review and approve.”

For parents searching for a unique daycare and learning center for their children, check out Precious Bookworm Daycare and Learning Center online at or call Meschelle
Williams at 703-254-7429.

Helena Tavares Kennedy (, a longtime Prince William County resident, is a freelance writer and communications consultant at and


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