Daycare facility opens in New England

During a routine preschool registration with her son, Tara Bieber was listening to some of the other parents discussing daycare issues.

The kids at Little Saints Daycare have lots of space to roam around.
The kids at Little Saints Daycare have lots of space to roam around.

Posted August 22, 2014

By COLE BENZ | Herald Editor | cbenz@countrymedia.net

During a routine preschool registration with her son, Tara Bieber was listening to some of the other parents discussing daycare issues. From the conversations she was hearing, Bieber decided to take some action.

“I was here [St. Mary’s] for preschool screenings with my son, and a lot of the mothers were discussing how the lack of childcare changes, how they can even put kids in preschool. Just sitting there listening to some of the dialogue that was going on, I just got to thinking we needed this,” Bieber said.

After the idea popped into her head she began the preliminary planning stages. Starting in March, she took the idea to a few members of the church council at St. Mary’s. From there they brought it to the priest and then it was presented to the rest of the council.

When the project was approved by the council, they began the licensing process. When their licensing and certification was finished, a process they completed through Adams county, they began work on staffing the facility.

Knowing there was another daycare facility in New England, Bieber approached the people at the ‘Rainy Butte Tumbleweed’ daycare about transferring to the larger space of St. Mary’s.

After some conversations, Rainy Butte Tumbleweed was disbanded. Little Saints Daycare then rehired the staff, and enrolled the children. Letters were sent out to the parents, making them aware of the change prior to executing closure and opening of the two daycares. They also were able to utilize materials from Rainy Butte Tumbleweed, so nothing was wasted.

“A lot of the stuff from the other daycare was donated to this [Little Saint’s] daycare,” Bieber said.

Before they could welcome any children, the building needed some work in order to bring it to code for a working daycare.

Starting with the water, the building was only equipped for cold water. Due to the fact that the building wasn’t utilized very often, parts of it were cold-water only. Bringing it to code required the installation of water heaters to give hot water for the kitchen, bathroom sinks, and areas where laundry was going to be cleaned.

Also, in order for the system to support the new equipment, the wiring needed to be updated. The facility also uses portable air conditioners, and along with refrigerators and freezers, updating the wiring was a must.

Funds for the project came partially from a tax grant by the city of New England and partially from a grant from Consolidated in Dickinson. Bieber privately funded the rest of the project.

Their first day of operation was August 4, making the whole process from the beginning stages to welcoming kids a five month process.

The Little Saint’s Daycare actually is licensed for two separate daycares. The top level, with four rooms, is licensed for 30 kids and is more of a daycare in the traditional sense. Taking care of kids as young as newborn through age 12, they have space for naps, snacks and activities.

For kids in preschool, the activities at the daycare are there to supplement the preschool curriculum. Both Little Saint’s and the preschool have an agreement to share educational information in order to work together for the better benefit of the kids.

During the school year, they also have an after school program, which is where the second license comes into play.

The program for after school is for students Kindergarten to fifth grade and the rate is a flat $5 per day, per child and you can either sign up for a permanent spot, or as a drop in pending there is enough room for the child.

After school, the students must be bussed to the facility. They have a locker for their things and will be met at the door by the director or a supervisor of the day. They get snacks and are given time to do their homework.

“The after school program is designed to let the kids come and eat and play and do homework, so that they weren’t at home unsupervised, or [they’re] getting those things [homework] out of the way before Mom and Dad get home and then they can enjoy their evenings together,” Bieber said.

The kids in the after school program will also assist in preparing the daycare meals for the next day. They’ll also get the opportunity to bake snacks, play games and get involved with other educational activities.

The staff of both the daycare, and after school program are currently certified and up to date with licensing and state requirements for child and healthcare with the social services board.

Currently the daycare has three full time employees and three part time employees. One of the full time employees is going to be heading off to college, but Bieber already has plans to hire not only another full time employee, but also a part time worker. Corrie Urlacher is the director.

Lynn Dvorak is the director of the after school program and has five other part time workers. Bieber replied “absolutely” when asked if they’re open to adding more staff members to the group.

Bieber was emphatic in her appreciation for the support the church and its council has given the project.

“There was a lot of work that the parish had to put in before the daycare was ready to open,” Bieber said. “I can’t stress enough how helpful the council, and the parish members down here [St. Mary’s] have been.”

The daycare is open from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and the after school program is from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Busing to and from school is provided. For rates and availability contact Little Saint’s Daycare at 579-KIDS.

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