Meet Our Child Care Director

WardMelissa2012Melissa R. Ward is our Director for the Gail and Terry Richardson Center for the Child. 
She received her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from FMU in 1995. 
Since that time, she has taught 5K in Florence District One, and 3K at the Central
United Methodist Church Preschool Program.  Her last four years at Central were spent
acting as the Director for Central UMC Preschool.  Melissa has two children, Cameron
and Hailey, and is excited to put her knowledge and experience to work with our children
at the Center, and for her alma mater.

Meet Our Lead Teachers

Sharon Maxwell is our lead teacher for the infant room.  She lives in Marion, SC, and has 15 years of experience working with children of various ages.  She graduated in the summer of 2012 from Ashford University with a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood Education, with a Specialization in Infant and Toddler Care.  Prior to joining the Center as Assistant Teacher in the infant room for our 2012/2013 school year, Sharon was in the public schools as a 4K assistant.  She has a son, Ja'Mere, and says "it is her pleasure to take care of the center babies, and is very excited to see them grow before our eyes"!



We are currently hiring for this position.  Do you possess a four year degree and love to    work with children? Apply on the FMU website


Anna Townsend is teaching our twos class this year.  Anna has been at the Center since 2011, working primarily as an assistant in our toddler class while she attended the graduate program in Psychology at FMU.  She graduated with a Bachelor of Social Work degree from Coker College in 2010 and received her masters in Psychology from FMU in 2013.  Anna is enjoying having her own class, and putting into practice all she has learned in child development skills with our two year olds.  She is from originally from Cheraw, SC.




  Chelsea Hopkins is the assistant teacher in our three year old class.




  Martha Floyd is the lead teacher in the four year old class. 


Teachers and caregivers are expected to base their work on their knowledge of each child's age and developmental level, his or her individual needs, and the family's culture. They are to enhance and support children's intellectual, social, emotional, and physical growth and development, demonstrating their understanding that learning and development are integrated across all domains. Read More
The Center follows the Creative Curriculum for Infants, Toddlers & Twos approach to programming with children from birth through 2 years old and the Creative Curriculum approach to curriculum with older children. Read More
The classrooms are designed to maximize learning and social activities, while giving each child space to have individual time. The rooms are designed for age-appropriate activities consisting of interest areas. These interest areas include blocks, dramatic play, toys and games, art, library, discovery, sand and water, music and movement, cooking, and access to outside activities. Read More


Our nursery program focuses on creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for each child. The caregivers maintain the highest standards in providing individualized care. We will maintain a 1:4 child to staff ratio in the nursery, which exceeds the SC state requirements of 1:5. The 1:4 ratio helps provide the time necessary to have individual quality time including holding each infant through the day, and providing a great deal of individual interaction throughout the day. The caregivers ensure your child is loved and provides for each stage of your infant’s development by encouraging language acquisition, social interaction, and sound physical growth. Read More
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The toddler program focuses on children ages 12 months to 24 months of age, and focuses on creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for each child. Your toddler will feel secure and loved while growing in self confidence and accomplishing the development goals of this age group. Our indoor and outdoor environment is designed with areas of interest, specifically to allow the children to explore and play together as they begin their understanding of socially-appropriate behavior. There is also individual time to focus on fine motor skills, and specific areas of interests of each child. Your toddler will thrive while enjoying creative play and interaction in an environment that builds visual, verbal, and physical development as well as artistic and expressive fun.                                                                                                

We build upon the toddler’s natural curiosity and imagination. We focus on colors, sounds, smells, shapes, and textures in the support of their exploration of the world around them. We stimulate language development by reading to the children, and teaching songs that they will love to sing as they develop their language skills.

The toddler room has the most current state-of-the-art design. It is designed to ensure your child is never out of sight or out of touch with his/her caregiver. The diaper changing areas are designed so that our caregivers are never facing away from the children.

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The two-year program focuses on creating a nurturing and stimulating environment for each child, and begins to establish a daily schedule. Planned educational activities and creative play are mixed through the day to help accomplish the developmental goals of this age group. Your inquisitive two-year old will be gently guided in making the transition from individual to group interaction, which is an important step in developing social skills. Through problem-solving activities, your child will begin to link written words to objects. Your child will have fun throughout the day by participating in activities including movement, art, dramatic play, and other activities to stimulate creativity and imagination. Read More
The three-year program continues to build on the fundamentals taught in the two-year program. What sets threes apart from toddlers more than anything is their newfound ability to express themselves in words and ideas. We continue to focus on providing a loving and nurturing environment for the children, and ensure they feel secure while they have fun learning their new skills. The school day continues to become more structured, while still giving each child the time to explore and learn individually as well. The small class sizes show the Field of Dreams commitment to providing individual interaction with each child, and to focus on having fun while they continue to develop their skills. Read More

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The four-year old program prepares the child for the next big step in their education – Kindergarten. Four-year-olds approach the world with great curiosity and use their imaginations to understand it. We encompass a wide variety of planned activities centered on the developmental goals of this age group. Our program and curriculum is committed to providing individual interaction with each child, and to focus on having fun while they continue to develop their skills. In addition to the 11 areas of interest, the educational activities will include math, science, and foreign language. Read More

Special Needs Policy 

The Gail and Terry Richardson Center for the Child accepts children with special needs as long as a safe, supportive environment can be provided for the child.  When a child with special needs’ application for admission to the program is submitted, the Center Childcare Director, a FMU Psychology faculty member, and the parent will meet to review the child’s care requirements.  To help the program staff better understand the child’s needs, the parent of a child with special needs will be requested to provide relevant developmental assessment information or arrange to have the child assessed as determined by the RCC Childcare Director and a FMU psychology faculty member.  If the RCC Childcare Director and FMU psychology faculty member determine the RCC program is unable to meet the needs of the child, the Director will work with the parent to find a more suitable environment.

Parents also may be asked to authorize release of information from providers of special services to help the Center coordinate the child’s care.

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