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Jackson News

Posted on: July 12, 2017

Business HighLight of June 2017: Mother Goose Christian School



Mother Goose Christian School has been named the City of Jackson’s Business Highlight for June 2017. This pioneering educational child care facility, owned and directed by Dr. Earnestine Bailey-Mason, opened its doors in 1981 with 16 children, which soon grew to the capacity of 26, at a facility on Green Street in Jackson. Dr. Bailey-Mason, an elementary special education teacher in the Pearl School system, saw the need to improve preparation for pre-school children from the great number of children that were assigned to her class that weren’t deficient learners, but just hadn’t been exposed to a learning environment. During that era in Mississippi pre-school learning programs were lacking, so a large number of children went from the home directly to elementary school. Noticing the trend, Dr. Bailey-Mason home schooled her two daughters and some of the children of neighbors. Dr. Bailey-Mason’s late husband Lloyd, also an educator, was very instrumental, along with other relatives and associates, in operating the school at its inception and during the formative years while Dr. Bailey-Mason finished her teaching career. In 1984 through 1989 the school moved to Mt. Sinai Baptist Church on Bailey Ave where services were expanded to children up to 3rd grade. In 1991 they moved to the present facility of 6543 Watkins Drive. In 1992 Mother Goose became the first certified pre-school child care center in rural Vaiden, MS. In 1994, on Nakoma Drive, Dr. Bailey-Mason opened an elementary school, serving children through the 8th grade. The school, Northside Christian Academy, later moved to Boling Street, became the first accredited minority owned private school by the Mississippi Association of private Schools, in which it was accredited in one year, also a first because no school had become accredited in such a short period of time. Dr. Bailey-Mason’s desire to provide service where needed also led her to open the first private pre-school in Pearl in 2005, which led to many parents clamoring to get a slot for their children. In 2009 Mother Goose opened a facility at 1052 Ridgewood Place, which is the only other location that is still in service.

Today, employing 23 individuals with 8-35 years tenure, the Watkins Rd location serves 202 children from six weeks to seven years of age during the school year with the summer months’ service expanding to children up to 11 years of age. The Ridgewood Place location, directed by Dr. Bailey-Mason’s daughter, Rhonda Mason-Chandler, serves 55 children from one year to four years old during the school year with the service expanding to children as old as six during the summer months. In addition to the standard teaching the school offers extracurricular activities of karate, music, soccer, Girl Scouts, dance, and computer literacy. Dr. Bailey-Mason said she meticulously interviews applicants for employment, trying to only hire individuals who care about continuous implementation of the school’s philosophy of encouraging children to learn and grow by providing a foundation of developmentally appropriate experiences where all children can achieve in a safe and nurturing environment. This mode of operation coupled with Dr. Bailey-Mason’s goal oriented, hands on, common sense approach to management all focused on preparing children to be prepared to learn when entering school has made this school one of the most successful programs in Mississippi for a numerous years running.

In addition to all the trailblazing accomplishments throughout the years, several other memorable moments highlight the school’s existence, such as Dr. Bailey-Mason being designated one of 50 directors by the state of Mississippi to take part in a rigorous pilot program designed for credentialing, of which she was successful. The school being regularly acknowledged in educational forums by Jackson Public Schools as having done an excellent job in preparing children for the next level. This has led to teachers from local high performing schools often recruiting children from Mother Goose for their school. The 2016 pre-K valedictorian was lauded for comparing favorably with other high performing schools top performers. The school’s 25th and 30th year anniversary celebrations were community celebrations attracting high profile entertainment and leaders. These feats and others are a part of the long and storied history of accomplishments.

Dr. Bailey-Mason believes strongly in community involvement. The school regularly donates personal care items to personal care homes, nursing homes and to Goodwill. Mother Goose’s Sunshine Choir, comprised of children from the school, provide holiday cheer to residents at local nursing homes each Christmas season by caroling.

Dr. Bailey-Mason feels the school has a very bright future. One of the major reasons is the family lineages keep coming. One of the things Dr. Bailey-Mason is most proud of is that students from back in the 80’s and 90’s that now have offspring or relatives attending Mother Goose compliment the school’s present performance verbatim from their experiences when they were students. Also the commitment from Mother Goose to continue the quality service will always lend to outside referrals. Another reason the school will stay viable is the increased involvement from government regulations created by educational advocacy groups now require that only the truly certified/qualified institutions will survive. Quoting the U.S. Department of Labor, Dr. Bailey-Mason said child care is one of the fastest growing industries nationwide
Being an educator by trade, Mayor, Tony T. Yarber is extremely proud to lead the city of Jackson contingency in honoring Mother Goose Christian School as June’s Business Highlight. The school has exhibited the utmost concern and care for the development of children in our city and for that the city administration says “Job Well Done”.


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