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East Cedar Rapids KinderCare

Ms. Laura Cook, Center Director

5351 North Park Place North East Cedar Rapids IA 52402
(319) 377-8607 Contact this center

Ages: 6 WEEKS to 5 YEARS

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Located near The Playstation, not far from Lindale Mall. Close to Bowman Woods and not far from Marion.

Elementary Schools Bussed To:
We are not currently providing transportation to any schools.


Welcome to East Cedar Rapids KinderCare! We have been serving the Cedar Rapids community for over 35 years. We provide exceptional care for children ranging from ages six weeks up to five years old. Everything we do is designed for learning at all ages. Our curriculum is designed to develop the whole child. Our staff go above and beyond to form personal bonds with each and every child to provide a warm, nurturing environment for your child to learn and grow in. We look forward to beginning our relationship with you and your child. Contact us today to become part of our KinderCare family!

Ms. Laura Cook, Center Director

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  • Accreditation Seal Every Day · Every Child · Excellence · Accreditated · Knowledge Universe
  • NAEYC Accreditation NAEYC

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We’re so proud!

Nationally only 10% of daycares are accredited–nearly 100% of our learning centers are. That’s a big difference, and that means KinderCare kids are getting the very best. Here’s why.

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Our kids are taking off!

By kindergarten, our kids are testing ahead of their peers. Read all about it.


Many of our child care centers are accredited by national organizations that require us to meet rigorous early childhood education standards and guidelines for high-quality care and education. Programs that are accredited have demonstrated their commitment to go beyond the state’s minimum licensing requirements to meet and maintain these high standards of quality.

Our Programs

Infant Programs (6 weeks - 1 year)

Babies grow and learn every day. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing "home away from home" where babies can explore and make new discoveries. We know that learning through play is extremely valuable at this age and our Early Foundations® Infant program is designed to give babies the skills that will serve as the building blocks for a lifetime of learning.

Toddler Programs (1 – 2 Years)

As toddlers develop friendships, self-esteem, and curiosity, our Early Foundations® Toddler program will help them explore their world in a safe and nurturing environment. Our unique curriculum is based on the philosophy that children learn best through experiences. So each day is filled with fun activities that excite and develop toddlers, giving them the comfort and confidence to speak those first few important words, as well as make their first friends.

Discovery Preschool Programs (2 – 3 Years)

At this age, children are making new discoveries daily. And as two-year olds begin to exert their independence, our Early Foundations® Discovery Preschool program is prepared to open their eyes to a world of learning, sharing, and exploring. Our holistic approach in the classroom engages young minds with a blend of music, art, and movement, as well as the early education fundamentals they'll need as they continue on to preschool.

Preschool Programs (3 – 4 Years)

As preschoolers gain more self-esteem, they may feel ready to take on the world. Our Early Foundations® Preschool program enhances that confidence by providing activities to help children become problem solvers and lifelong learners. Through independent exploration, structured activities, and hands-on learning, children will work on early literacy, math, science, and social studies concepts. A healthy dose of running, jumping, and dancing keeps them active too.

Prekindergarten Programs (4 – 5 Years)

Prekindergartners are preparing for the adventure of a lifetime – school. And our Early Foundations Prekindergarten® program is designed to get them ready by teaching letters and words, math concepts, and valuable social skills. With small group instruction, independent play in an organized atmosphere, and whole-group activities, children will have all the right skills to hop, skip, and jump right into kindergarten.

Summer Programs (preschool, prekindergarten, and school-age)

Don’t miss out on KinderCare’s Summer of Wonder: Six themed programs that will make summer exciting, educational and tons of fun. Whether your child is in our preschool, Pre-K or school-age programs, all of it is designed to help children learn while soaking up the fun. We offer flexible scheduling options to meet the needs of busy families like yours so we hope to see you there.

Learning Adventures - Enrichment Program


The Cooking Adventures program gives children opportunities to participate in fun, developmentally appropriate cooking experiences. They will learn about recipes, ingredients, cooking vocabulary, and the importance of a healthy diet. The curriculum includes lessons on picnics, pizza, and heart-healthy meals.


The Math Adventures enrichment program is designed to teach important mathematics concepts such as geometry, numbers, measurement, and probability. Your child will learn about length, height, and weight. He will learn about shapes and solids. He will learn how to add, subtract, multiply, and count money. Math is everywhere and giving your child every advantage now will add up to success later in life.


Ongoing research proves that early exposure to music helps children think, reason, create, and express themselves. Children will laugh and learn about rhythm, vocal melodies, and a variety of musical genres and instruments, which can lower stress and advance memory. Learning never sounded so good.

Phonics & Reading Adventures

Set your child up for advanced success with literacy through phonics, the study of letters and sounds. Reader books, games, and activity cards help your child understand the basics of vowels and blending syllables, giving him confidence and command of language.

Teachers & Staff

Our staff are a talented, experienced, educated group of individuals. Each member of our team brings their own expertise and personality to their classrooms. Each teacher has the best interest of every child at heart and is your partner in providing the best early education possible for your child.

  • Ms. Laura Cook

    Ms. Laura Cook, Center Director

    I love being a part of the 'aha' moments children have! There is nothing greater than watching children learn and grow each day".

    Ms. Laura began her career at KinderCare as a Pre-Kindergarten teacher. She has served as a co-lead teacher at the Pre-Kindergarten level, lead teacher for School Age summer camp and a Health and Safety Coordinator for her center as well as the district. She enjoys her role as the Center Director because she loves to help the teachers combine their knowledge with KinderCare's curriculum to create the best education possible. She also enjoys spending time in the classroom and getting to know all of the children and their families on a personal level.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Laura has had prior experience as a Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and School-Age teacher. Her KinderCare experience also includes serving as a Health and Safety Coordinator and Assistant Director at another KinderCare location. She has also been a substitute teacher for the surrounding school districts.
    Year Started:
    6 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    12 Years
    Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education and Child Development Associate Credential in Preschool
  • Leiha McNeal

    Leiha McNeal, Assistant Director

    Be somebody that makes everybody feel like a somebody".

    Ms. Leiha is very passionate about her job.  She builds great relationships with all the families in her care.  A favorite part of Ms. Leiha's job is embracing a challenge and finding a way to overcome it.  Ms. Leiha has experience with our Learning Adventures Tutorial Program.  She loves being able to provide small group instruction and teaching the kids something new.  Ms. Leiha has worked with all the different classrooms at KinderCare.  She has spent most of her time with our Infant Classrooms.  Before becoming the Assistant Director here at our KinderCare, she was a Program Specialist at our SW KinderCare location.  There she helped teachers plan and implement curriculum, and ensured that teachers were providing top-notch quality care.

    Previous Experience:
    Previously at KinderCare, Ms. Leiha worked at the Southwest Cedar Rapids location. There, she started as an Infant Teacher. She continued with the company working in all the different classrooms. Ms. Leiha loves a challenge. Some of her favorite moments as a teacher were spent helping children overcome behaviors. She loves implementing curriculum and showing the evidence of learning in her classroom. Before starting at KinderCare, Ms. Leiha worked for a non-profit childcare center. There, she taught a variety of different children ranging in age from birth to school age. Ms. Leiha was a Childcare Coordinator for Young Parent's Network in Benton County. There she planned educational activities while the chilren's parents attended class. Ms. Leiha worked for Kirkwood Community College's Continuing Education Department. There, she taught the "Baby-sitting Basics"class. She enjoyed teaching others the basics on how to provide for children in their care.
    Year Started:
    6 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    10 years
    Early Childhood Education Associate's Degree and Child Development Associate Credential in Infant/Toddler
  • Ms. Stormie

    Ms. Stormie, Infant Classroom

    Be your own kind of beautiful".

    Ms. Stormie is a mother of three amazing boys.  She began teaching at our SW KinderCare location.  She instantly fell in love with teaching.  The children are here passion.  Ms. Stormie enjoys designing and implementing activities to help her Infants and Toddlers learn and grow.  She believes that children learn through hands on activities.  Ms. Stormie takes pride in the relationships that she builds with her families.  Ms. Stormie has furthered her education by earning her Child Development Associate Credential in Infant and Toddler Care.  She is always looking for ways that she can grow her classroom and herself as an educator. 

    Previous Experience:
    Stormie has worked as an Infant and Toddler Teacher at our SW Cedar Rapids KinderCare. She also has experience as a Program Specialist helping the teachers enhance their classrooms and provide the absolute best quality of care.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Dr. Seuss
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Child Development Associate Credential in Infant Toddler Care
  • Mr. Aaron

    Mr. Aaron, Infant Classroom

    Childhood is not a race to see how quickly a child can read, write, and count. It is a small window of time to learn and develop at the pace that is right for each individual child. Earlier is not better".

    Mr. Aaron started at KinderCare in April 2015.  He joined our KinderCare family to get hands on experience in the Early Childhood Education field before continuing his education.  Aaron has been working with young children since he was a junior in High School.  He became a Toddler Teacher for Sunday School.  His love for children and education made KinderCare the perfect opportunity for him.  He is passionate about working with families and their children.  Aaron is currently continuing his education working towards his Child Development Associate's Certificate in Infant Toddler Care.

    Previous Experience:
    Mr. Aaron has experience as a Sunday School Teacher. He has worked with 4th grade, Special Education, Kindergarten, and ELA classrooms.
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Associate of Arts in Liberal Arts, Bachelor of Arts in Religion and Philosophy, Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Cindy

    Ms. Cindy, Toddler Classroom

    Children learn what they live. I believe children are the future, teach them well and let them lead the way...

    Ms. Cindy has been working at KinderCare East since March 2014.  Before joining the KinderCare East team, Ms. Cindy worked at the KinderCare West location as well as another childcare center.  She has also owned and operated her own in home daycare. 

    Ms. Cindy loves working with and encouraging children.  She knows that she would not have made it in life if it were not for caring, positive adult role models. Ms. Cindy feels that it is her responsibility to pay it forward and be a positive role model in young people's lives.

    Ms. Cindy has her Child Development Associate's Certificate in Infant and Toddler Care.  Ms. Cindy believes there is always something she can teach her children and something the children can teach her.  You can often find Ms. Cindy singing and dancing with her Toddler Friends.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Cindy has owned and operated her own daycare. She has been teaching and providing for other children since she was a teenager. She has five childen of her own.
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    20 Years
  • Ms. Crystal

    Ms. Crystal, Toddler Classroom

    Courage does not always roar, sometimes courage is just saying, "I will try again tomorrow"". "I am passionate about developing the whole child. I provide learning activities that improve all areas of development".

    Ms. Crystal has worked for KinderCare since July of 2009. She attended Kirkwood Community College, eventually earning her Bachelor of ArtsDegree in Criminal Justice with a Minor in Psychology at Mt. Mercy College. Ms. Crystal believes that every moment is a learning experience.  She prides herself on teaching each child as an individual.  Ms. Crystal provides a multitude of hands on activities to encompass all aspects of learning.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Crystal worked previously at a juvenile counseling center.
    Year Started:
    7 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    8 years
    Bachelor's of the Arts Degree in Criminal Justice, Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Mellany

    Ms. Mellany, Discovery Preschool Classroom

    I love my job because I love being able to teach and watch a child learn and grow and open their eyes to a new wonder. I love the feeling when a child can finally complete a milestone and knowing I had a great part in helping them get there".

    Ms. Mellany designs and implements a lot of fun learning activities to keep the children engaged.  She has been working with children since she was 17.  Ms. Mellany volunteered at a Boys and Girls Center for two years.  She has also volunteered as a teacher aid at an Elementary school with Pre-K and Kindergarten children.  Ms. Mellany greets any situation with a positive outlook and a tremendous amount of patience.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Mellany was a Lead Teacher at a Learning Center with 3-4 year old children for two years. She was also a teacher's aid and volunteer at an Elementary School for one year.
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Associate Degree in Elementary Education
  • Ms. LeAnne

    Ms. LeAnne, Pre-K Classroom

    Judging a person does not define who they are, it defines who you are".

    Ms. LeAnne has experience working in all they classrooms her at KinderCare.   Ms. LeAnne loves doing arts and crafts with the children.  Her favorite moments are spent watching and helping children reach their milestones.  She also has two boys that attend KinderCare.  We are very excited to see where Ms. LeAnne's KinderCare Career takes her.  She plans on starting her CDA this year, and shortly after, she plans on continuing her education by getting a degree in Early Childhood Education.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. LeAnne has nannyed with children for four years. She has worked with children in a daycare setting for six years.
    Year Started:
    4 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Ms. Renae

    Ms. Renae, Support Staff

    Let's be creative!

    Ms. Renae loves spending time with children.  She loves to be creative and energetic.  Ms. Renae is currently furthering her education by pursuing her CDA. 

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Renae has many years experience providing childcare for children in her community. She has also worked with children at one of our local trampoline parks.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Year Started:
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Mr. Matt

    Mr. Matt, Preschool Classroom

    I enjoy working with my preschool children, because I get to see them develop new skills and behaviors in real-time".

    Mr. Matt has worked for KinderCare since 2014.  In his classroom, he prides himself on working on healthy behaviors that promote school readiness.  Children learn to respect themselves, their classmates, and their teachers. His drive to teach children appropriate behaviors comes from his time as a middle school/ high school teacher in the Iowa City Community School District. Mr. Matt finds that children who are polite and respectful thrive in the classroom.  They are better able to socialize with their teachers and peers, which bolsters their self confidence and willingness to participate in their own education.

    Previous Experience:
    Mr. Matt has experience working at Four Oak's Achievment Academy. He also worked for the Boys and Girls Club. He has worked in the Iowa City Community School District. Mr. Matt has experience working at our SW Cedar Rapids and Pleasant Hill KinderCare locations as well.
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelors Degree in English
  • Ms. Karisa

    Ms. Karisa, Preschool Classroom

    A teacher takes a hand, opens a mind and touches a heart. I love my job because I am passionate about helping students learn and grow".

    Ms. Karisa graduated from the University of Northern Iowa in May 2015.  She loves her Preschool Classroom.  Ms. Karisa had no idea how fulfilling it would be not only to teach students standard literacy and math skills, but also everyday life skills such as holding a spoon and properly washing their hands.  She goes to work everyday excited to see what the day brings.  Seeing the students excited and ready to learn is a big enjoyment for Ms. Karisa. 

    In her classroom, Ms. Karisa's motto is try and try again and don't give up.  It is amazing to her how many students continue to try and then complete the task at hand.  The excitement in her eyes is very rewarding to Ms. Karisa.  This is why she became a teacher, to watch students learn and grow.  She loves seeing when the "lightbulb" goes off in their mind.  It is the most wonderful thing to be a part of.  Ms. Karisa wouldn't have it any other way.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Karisa was an Assistant for a Preschool and Childcare Center.
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education with a Literacy and English Language Arts Endorsement
  • Ms. Taryn

    Ms. Taryn, Pre-Kindergarten Classroom

    I love to see the smile on a child's face when they learn something new".

    Ms. Taryn works with our Pre-K students.  She loves this age.  She loves to watch them learn and grow.  One of Ms. Taryn's favorite things to do is handprint and footprint art.  She loves creating portfolios and adding children's accomplishments to them to show their progress.  Mrs. Taryn loves to do Pinterest projects with the kids.  They love it too!  Ms. Taryn is working hard to ensure that each child in her care is prepared for Kindergarten.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Taryn worked for the Boys and Girls Club for four years working with School Age children. She has experience working at another childcare center. Ms. Taryn started working at our Southwest Cedar Rapids location where she worked in all the different classrooms. She was our Learning Adventures Coordinator at both locations before transferring to our NE location. Upon transfering to the NE Cedar Rapids KinderCare, Ms. Taryn worked with our School Age and Pre-Kindergarten Classrooms.
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Child Development Associate Credential in Preschool, Associate of Arts in Social Work
  • Ms. Cathy

    Ms. Cathy, Support Staff and Cook

    Watching the children grow and learn new things brightens my day".

    Ms. Cathy does a great job providing for each individual child's dietary needs.  She is the cook.  She also helps out with breaks.  Ms. Cathy enjoys spending time in the classrooms so she can talk and play with the kids.  She enjoys the conversations she has with the older children and the cuddles she gets from the younger ones.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Cathy has worked in all of the classrooms at the NE KinderCare, and loves working with children. Before coming to KinderCare, Ms. Cathy was a nanny for ten years.
    Year Started:
    18 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Ms. Katelyn

    Ms. Katelyn, Support Staff

    It takes a village to raise a child".

    Ms. Katelyn is currently pursuing her degree in Early Childhood Education.  She has a passion for learning.  We can not wait to see what Ms. Katleyn and the children teach each other.  When she is not working at KinderCare, Ms. Katelyn can be found working at Target or spending time with her cat.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Katelyn has experience providing care for many children in her community.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Pete the Cat
    Year Started:
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Ms. Kailee

    Ms. Kailee, Support Staff

    Everyday is a new day to learn amazing things"!

    Ms. Kailee began working in our Infant Classroom at KinderCare.  She has been continuing her education by working towards her Child Devlopment Associates's Certificate.  She now works as support staff helping in all the different classrooms.  She enjoys getting to know each child individually in each classroom.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Kailee has experience working at other child care centers. She completed a volunteer internship with the Pediatrics Unit at the University of Iowa Hospital.
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Completed Cousework for Child Development Associate Credential

Upcoming Center Activities

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April's Learning Focus

Children 6 weeks to 3 years old: Growing Gardens

What better time to explore the beauty and science of flowers and gardens than the spring? Infants’ learning will focus on sensory experiences with different plants and flowers, while toddlers and three-year-olds have the opportunity to learn how to care for plants. We’ll plant seeds in soil, water the plants, observe bugs and discover how they help plants grow, and even plant a butterfly garden outside! We’ll build math skills by counting seeds, learn new vocabulary words related to flowers and plants, and as always, sing songs and read books involving gardens. 

Children 4–5 years old: In the Spring + Wild Animals

For children in the Preschool and Transitional Kindergarten Classrooms, April is about exploring all things spring and discovering wild animals! Preschoolers will look for signs of spring outdoors, make mud cakes and count the twigs placed in them, and paint still-life paintings of things related to spring. When our learning turns to wild animals, we’ll learn about the habitats and habits of creatures big and small while maintaining a focus on learning lowercase letters. 

The older children in Transitional Kindergarten will focus on project-related work and pick something to work on together. In years past, children have painted a mural, made spring parade floats, painted wild animal masks, and created a model of a wild animal’s habitat. Both of these units focus on expanding the children’s understanding of the natural world around them.

Monday April 10, 2017
Come get a sneak peek of summer at KinderCare during our Open House event, from April 10th – 14th.

At KinderCare, our summer adventures are designed for learning and fun. We love taking our experiments outside, having special guests visit our centers, and even exploring our senses on walks outside or by rolling around in the cool grass. We can’t wait to meet you and show you what makes our centers special and why we would love to spend our summer with you!

About Our Center

Our staff would like to welcome you to visit our center. The staff takes pride in keeping up to date with the latest trends in Early Childhood Education. Ongoing training is offered to the staff during the year at the center and through the various training opportunities in the community.

Special Features

  • We have an open concept layout that allows us to really get to know everyone in the center and have a true KinderCare family feel!

Meals & Menus

Meals Served

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • PM Snack

Holidays Observed

We observe the following holidays:

  • New Year's Day
  • President's Day
  • Memorial Day
  • 4th of July
  • Labor Day
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Day after Thanksgiving
  • Christmas Day

Please note that because holidays observed may vary between centers, please be sure to check with your Center Director for specific closures.

Health and Safety

We have many safety protocols and features at our center. We have a secured entrance with keypad entry, to ensure the safety of all staff and children for any unauthorized visitors entering the building. All of our playgrounds are fenced in, as to keep our children safe, and to not allow the public in. All of our staff are CPR, First Aid, and Mandatory Reporters certified within the first month of employment. We also have a Health and Safety Coordinator on site, who ensures the cleanliness of our center, administers medication, monitors playground safety and emergency procedures being implemented.

At KinderCare, what families say about us means a lot. Read below some of the great experiences our families have had with us.

Share Your Story
If you have a story about your experience at KinderCare, please share your story with us.

We began our adventure with KinderCare a little over three years ago. During that time our son has progressed from the Infant Classroom through the Preschool classroom. I am routinely in awe of the things that he learns in the Preschool classroom. During our car rides home, he will tell me about an art project they did, what sound the letter "M" makes and what other words have that sound (thank you Phonics class!) It is heartwarming to see him say his goodbyes to his teachers. He starts with those in his classroom, then on to his previous teachers and the Directors! Because we have such a strong feeling about the KinderCare curriculum, environment and teachers, we also decided to enroll our little girl when she arrived! The teachers have made her feel comfortable in her new environment, and now they have her smiling and laughing all the time! We feel incredibly fortunate that we found KinderCare and this wonderful group of Teachers and Directors. We have so much gratitude for the kindness, patience, diligence and care they pass on to our little ones!

- Mother

I have two children who attend our local KinderCare and there is never a time I have to worry about them. My oldest has been attending KinderCare for about four years, and my youngest started there when she was around seven months (she is now two years old). My kids wake in the morning excited to see their friends and teachers, which as a mother gives me a sense a relief because I know they are being loved and cared for. I didn't have kids to have someone else take care of them, but sadly life doesn't always work the way you want it to. Knowing that there are people are there with such big hearts educating my children when I am not around makes this mommy very happy. I love the group at our KinderCare and wouldn't want my children being lead by anyone else.

- Mother

Our son has advanced so much developmentally since starting at KinderCare! The staff are great and use fun, age-appropriate ways to make learning fun. They make him feel special when he comes each day and are always welcoming when I drop by to check on him. At the age of two he has several friends in his peer group that he talks about at home and enjoys going to see every day. We’re thankful to have a place to drop him off during the day where we know he is loved and cared for; and where he stays busy and is learning new things during the day as well!

- Mother

My son has been attending KinderCare for the past year. Being around other children and with the help of his teachers, he was potty trained within a month of starting! His teachers do a great job of keeping a structured environment, and giving the one on one attention, as well as group activities to aid in working well with others. My son is better prepared for preschool thanks to KinderCare, and has a better sense of respect for teachers and other children. Thank you to all of the teachers for getting my son on track for his school years to come.

- Mother

The KinderCare Staff have become a part of our family! As first-time parents, the staff at KinderCare embraced and accepted not only our son, but also us! The teachers have influenced our son's life in more ways than expected by teaching him manners, basic skills, sign language, creativity through art and music. We are forever grateful to their undeniable commitment to teaching our son...and soon our daughter! Thank you, KinderCare staff!

- Mother

See what’s happening on the blog

Our staff would like to welcome you to visit our center. The staff takes pride in keeping up to date with the latest trends in Early Childhood Education. Ongoing training is offered to the staff during the year at the center and though the various training opportunities in the community.

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