KinderCare has a 'nurturing environment' for children
Published 5:41 pm, Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Every parent or guardian who places a child in day care wants the facility to be safe and the caliber of the staff and care to be high.
KinderCare, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in July, opened a new state-of-the-art center at 204 Danbury Road (Route 7), just south of the Stop & Shop plaza in January.
KinderCare has been operating in New Milford since 2005 when the former Teach the Children day care center's owner, Knowledge Learning Corp., acquired KinderCare. Teach the Children was located at 278 Danbury Road (Route 7).
It wasn't until August 2007, however, that the day care center was branded as KinderCare.
The children "teach you so much," Ms. Drew said of one of the reasons she enjoys being in this field. "Kids really make you humble. They tell you what they think. You see humanity here."
The local KinderCare has an enrollment of 124 children, serving a total of 95 families.
The center has 10 rooms, each dedicated to a particular age group; a learning adventure room for extracurricular activities; a laundry room for on-site laundering of linens; a full-service, ServSafe-certified kitchen with two cooks who serve breakfast, lunch and two snacks; and three separate, fenced-in, age-appropriate playgrounds.
Teachers decorate their classrooms but everything is tailored to KinderCare's curriculum "based on the philosophy that children learn best by doing and playing [with] a hands-on approach," according to its literature.
"The company allows us to be creative," Ms. Drew said, pointing out the colorful signs and decorations in each classroom.
Teachers are given a curriculum book for each season with age-appropriate activities. And often, field trips to the beach, the movie theater or bowling alley may be involved.
Besides the daily curriculum, two other things remain constant: play and nap/rest times.
Children are assigned cots with on-site laundered linens and are asked to nap or rest quietly each day from 1 to 3 p.m.
Infants, however, may nap in their assigned crib. In addition, they have use of a four-drawer dresser next to their crib.
Every classroom has play and reading areas, and every room with children over age 3 has computers.
The school-aged room for children in first grade and older has a Wii fit to promote healthy activities, labeled lockers so each child has a space to call their own and tables available for homework time.
The infant and toddler rooms have labeled toys and storage bins, as well as low-to-the-ground high chairs to ensure they won't tip over.
Ms. Drew said one of the ways KinderCare stands out from other day care/education centers is it offers a full-day kindergarten program, running from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a certified teacher. Up to 20 students can enroll.
The director said the center taught six full-time kindergarteners for the 2008-09 school year. All of their paperwork was transferred to the New Milford School District, allowing the students to start right up in first grade a few weeks ago.
As quality care is a high priority with KinderCare, the company uses particular teacher-student ratio. For children under age 3, it's one to four and for children over age 3, it's one to 10.
Communication between staff and parents is also important, Ms. Drew said. That's why each classroom has a podium outside its door, where each student has a mailbox.
In addition, weekly menus are posted on a bulletin board outside the kitchen.
"I like the nurturing environment, structuring and the great feedback parent-teacher wise," Kim Marsan of Gaylordsville said.
Mrs. Marsan's daughter, Olivia, 4, has been going to KinderCare since she was four months old, beginning with Teach the Children.
One of the reasons she likes the center so much is its curriculum. She emphasized out how impressed she was when her daughter participated in curriculum-based activities when she was an infant.
Ms. Drew emphasized the quality of the more than 30 teachers on staff, all of whom "love the children."
To help teachers keep up to date on curriculum and teaching methods, KinderCare provides two teacher development days a year. In addition, the company offers an educational assistance program providing staff with resources to continue their education or go back to school.
KinderCare Learning Center, at 204 Danbury Road (Route 7) in New Milford, is open Mondays through Fridays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It provides care and learning activities for children aged 6 weeks to 12 years. For more information, call 860-210-1844.