Moving Mountains Academy for Early Learning to open in Shenandoah on Nov. 6

Moving Mountains Academy_10_16_23

By Randy Arrington

SHENANDOAH, Oct. 16 — This isn’t the first time that Pam Houck has opened a daycare facility, but it’s the first time she’s received this type of welcome.

“This is the eighth time we have opened a center, and this is our first ribbon cutting,” Houck told a group of about 30 supporters on Monday.

Houck has operated early learning centers and daycare facilities for the past 35 years, including the Littlest Lamb Children’s Center (which she has sold) and the Shenandoah Valley Child Development Center in Dayton next to the Cargill plant, which she still operates.

On Monday, the Town of Shenandoah held a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the upcoming opening of the Moving Mountains Academy for Early Learning inside the former Shenandoah Community Center on Monday, Nov. 6.

“On behalf of the Town of Shenandoah, I would like to welcome Pam and the daycare center,” Mayor Clinton Lucas said. “We are proud to have you here.”

Local evangelist Doug Gouchenour blessed the event, the building and anointed most of the staff members that will be working at the childcare center with oil.

“I’m still convinced the planting of seeds in our ground is needed now more than ever,” Doug Gochenour said of the younger generation.

The new facility opening next month at 300 First Street already has about 30 students signed up, but the facility has a capacity of up to 85.

“I used to run a center for 275, and I said I would never do it again…that’s almost the size of an elementary school…We keep it under 100, and it becomes like a family,” Houck told the group gathered on Monday.

The facility is licensed by the state to care for children from birth to age 12.

“We will have space for babies and toddlers, where most places won’t,” she continued. “”When I started I wanted to just have it for after school…but calls came in for more…We’re not trying to take anything away from our babysitters, because we need them…there aren’t enough providers.”

Houck said the childcare center with work with “local babysitters” to provide training in various areas such as CPR, “safe sleep” methods, and other childcare-related resources.

Monica Cubbage will serve as the director of the early learning center and manage the staff of about 15. Cubbage said she “always wanted to work with kids” and entered the field after first serving as a nurse. She holds a two-year degree in Psychology and also worked for a daycare center in Harrisonburg for eight years.

“God sent her to me to do this,” Houck said.

Houck said the learning center will be non-denominational, “but we want to be the light.” The facility plans to hold grace before meals and “tell the true story of Christmas,” according to its coordinator and majority owner. The center will also serve breakfast, lunch and an afternoon snack.

However, Houck wants to make sure that the community knows that the center is open to everyone, especially those in true need of affordable daycare. The early learning center will be accepting subsidies provided by the Department of Social Services, who assist with paying for childcare.

“About 95 percent of the people coming here are coming through subsidies,” Houck said. “Back during COVID, they raised the amount that you could make, so more families qualify…so it’s worth checking into.”

For those interested, information about those subsidies and help with childcare can be found at

Carolyn Richards, who operates Charlie’s Guiding Light in Luray (at the former location of Polliwogs), is an 8-percent owner in the new academy in Shenandoah and part of the “sisterhood” that the industry develops, where they help one another.

In the future the facility made an outdoor playground equipment to complement the options that sit across the street at Shenandoah’s Wigwam Village. The Town helped fast-track approval for the facility across from the tennis courts by holding a joint meeting between the Shenandoah Council and the Shenandoah Planning Commission.

“We are just glad to be in Shenandoah,” Houck said on Monday. “Since I first stepped foot in here I have heard God’s calling. This center belongs to God and to God be the glory.”

For more information or to register for Moving Mountains Academy for Earley Learning,

call (540) 793-1988

or send an email to



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