is the fulfillment of a dream. Shirley Herndon, the director and co-owner,
retired from the
Wake County Public School
System following a rewarding 32 year career as a teacher and assistant
principal. During her tenure, Shirley came to realize that her most
confident and successful students shared one thing in common - early in their
lives they were lovingly taught, encouraged and often challenged by a variety of
new exposures and learnings.
Her experiences became
her motivation for creating a haven where preschool children could “jumpstart” a
new lifetime of learning prior to stepping into the new world of elementary
education. Along with her co-owner husband, also an educator with 38 years
of experience as a
teacher, assistant principal and principal, she opened her labor of love,
Bright Beginnings Child Development Center, in May of 2000.
A mother and grandmother, Shirley’s philosophy is founded on one simple
premise, that all children have strengths. The goal of Bright Beginnings
is to help children begin to discover their strengths and interests through a
variety of playful, social and instructional interactions.
A grandmother’s loving touch combined with an educator’s thirst for teaching
. . . a combination that makes Bright Beginnings the place “Where love and
learning go hand in hand.”
Bright Beginnings is
a 5-star rated child care establishment offering full-time child care for
children age 3 months to 5 years. Our hours of operation are from 7am to
6pm, Monday through Friday.
Nothing is more important than our children’s security. That’s why at
Bright Beginnings, we only allow parents and visitors to enter the center
through the locked front entrance. Once in our lobby, a Bright Beginnings
staff member is present at all times to meet, greet and ensure that no person is
allowed into the center who has not been approved beforehand. As an
additional security measure, we require all parents and/or guardians to
electronically sign in and sign out their children during drop offs and pick
Bright Beginnings maintains lower than required student to teacher ratios to
ensure all of our children receive the attention and support they need.
The ratios for each of the classrooms are listed in the
Since most of our teachers have children, we understand the needs of our
parents. Parents are welcome to visit us anytime to meet with Shirley,
volunteer in our classrooms or simply observe their children. We schedule
two parent/teacher conferences during the year for more in-depth conversations.
On a daily basis we provide our parents with a brief note describing their
child’s activities for the day.
We strongly believe that diversity of thought, race, gender, socio-economic
level and appearance are critical to a child’s educational experience.
Therefore, we strive to ensure our students and staff represent the wide variety
of people our children will come in contact with beyond Bright Beginnings’ walls.
Bright Beginnings was inspired by a woman who dedicated her life to brightening the
days of countless children. With an ever-present smile and a gentle touch,
Bertha Scott Herndon, the “Master Teacher”, taught elementary education in the
Chatham County Public School system for 38 years. Her love of teaching
influenced her three children to follow in her footsteps and become educators,
As a testament to Bertha’s vast impact, Bright Beginnings was erected on her
Cary, N.C. property in 2000. Although she departed this life in November of
2002, Bertha Scott Herndon’s legacy will forever live on at Bright Beginnings
Child Development Center.
Co-owners, Leon and Shirley Herndon founded Bright Beginnings with family in mind. Two of
their children, Lisa Ware and Linwood Herndon, play prominent roles at Bright
Beginnings as Assistant Director and Marketing Director, respectively, while
all seven of their grandchildren attend or have attended Bright Beginnings over the
The boundaries of the “family”, however, extend far beyond Leon and Shirley’s
children and grandchildren. All students, parents and staff are considered a
part of the Bright Beginnings family and are welcomed with smiles and hugs. The
approach is simple . . . the more inviting and family-like the environment, the
more productive and successful all children will be.