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Darien KinderCare

Carrie Ahrendt, Center Director

7906 South Cass Ave. Darien IL 60561
(630) 964-9094 Contact this center

Ages: 6 Weeks to 12 Year-Olds

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Elementary Schools Bussed To:
Maercker District 60, Cass District 63, Center Cass District 66, Downers Grove Grade School District 58, Gower District 62, Darien District 61

Our center is dedicated to providing a quality experience for all children and parents.  We are very proud to be a member of The Association for Early Learning Leaders (NAC).   By achieving NAC Accreditation we have demonstrated (and live) our commitment to excellence in the field of early childhood care and education. 


Welcome to the Darien KinderCare, where we partner with families to create a nurturing and exciting environment that helps support your child through all stages of their development. We look forward to having you and your family join our school community. Our large outdoor activity space helps to create a great environment for learning. We accept CCAP subsidy. The large open floor plan helps create a bright and inviting space to learn, explore and grow. We provide a variety of year round programs for children ages six weeks through 12 years including Spring, Summer and Winter Break Camp.

Carrie Ahrendt, Center Director

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

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children with teacher


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.

illustrated bear in rocketship


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.

Before- & After-School Programs (5 – 12 Years)

Even after school's out for the day, children need to be engaged in a comfortable, yet stimulating environment. That's where our Catch the Wave® program comes in. This innovative before – and after-school program allows school-age children to balance learning and fun through a variety of experiences. From homework help to fun physical activities, our program is designed so that everyone goes home happy.

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.

Participating Child Care Aware Center

KinderCare has partnered with Child Care Aware® of America in an effort to offer fee assistance for Active Duty military families and solutions to their child care needs when care at a Child Development Center on the installation is not available.

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.


Spanish Adventures provides young learners with a foundation for later success with the Spanish language. Music, games, children's Spanish literature, and other tools give children multiple opportunities to hear, practice, and see Spanish language for vocabulary and conversational development. Curriculum includes lessons on greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family, body parts and pets as well as how to get engage conversationally during common scenarios at home, a restaurant, or at the zoo. Qué pasa?

Teachers & Staff

The staff at Darien welcomes all families. We pride ourselves on great family connections and making sure all families leave happy and satisfied each and every day. We provide great curriculum and a fantastic learning experience.  We hope you decide to take a moment to set up a tour to see our teachers in action!

  • Carrie Ahrendt, Center Director

    Carrie has worked at KinderCare since 2011. She started as a prekindergarten teacher in Orland Park and has worked her way up to Assistant Director of Darien in 2015. Early Childhood Education is such a rewarding field and she feels truley blessed to be working at KinderCare.

    In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, running, and gardening at her home in Palos Heights. She has two daughters, ages 10 and 12.

    Previous Experience:
    I was previously the Assistant Director here in Darien and prior to that I was a Program Specialist at the Lemont KinderCare and a PreK taecher at the Orland Park KinderCare. I also taught preschool at Farm and Nature Discovery Preschool in Palos Park.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    8 years
    Bachelors Degree from Illinois Wesleyan University
  • Shavon Houston, Assistant Director

    Shavon has been with the company since 2012. She started at the John Humphrey Drive Center in Orland Park where she was lead teacher in the Infant Room before being promoted to Program Specialist. Currently she is Assistant Director at Darien Center. Words cannot express the joy tthat she has working in the field of ECE.

    Previous Experience:
    Before being promoted to Assistant Director in Darien I was Program Specialist at the John Humphrey Drive center in Orland Park. Also I worked as lead infant room teacher and the lead school-age teacher at Pathways To Learning Child Care Center before being promoted as Center Director for two years.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    " Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    14 years
    Bachelors Degree in Business
  • Ms. Donna

    Ms. Donna, Discovery Preschool (2's)

    You can learn something new everyday, if you are open to it...

    Donna holds a degree in Early Childhood Education from Triton College (graduated Phi Theta Kappa).  She has over 20+ years experience in the child care field as well as an additional 15 years in business management.
    A "transplant" from Berwyn, IL, she has been residing in the near west suburbs for 25 years.

    Degree in Early Childhood Education from Triton College
  • Ms. Jen, Kindergarten

    I have a true passion for teaching and love helping students feel successful in all aspects of their learning.

    Jen has worked at KinderCare since June of 2014.  She has a Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Eduation from Illinois State University.  Prior to working at KinderCare, Jen worked within a school district as a Preschool assistant (teaching assistant ans Special Education assistant) and a Literacy Assistant for grades K-4.  She now teaches School Age students during the summer program and is the PreK/Kindergarten teacher during the school year.

    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education from Illinois State University and ELL certification from Benedictine University
  • Ms. Sherry

    Ms. Sherry, Preschool (3's)

    Ms. Sherry has been a Preschool teacher for KinderCare since 2014 when she relocated fro Vicksburg, MS.  She has been working in the early childhood field since 2002.  She began her carer as an infant teacher in a daycare where she realized her love for children.  Sherry earned an A.A.S. in Child Development Technology at Hinds Community College with a 3.7 GPA.   In additional, she earned a BS in Child Development from Alcorn State University.  She has also successfully completed several training hours under Jackson State University and Mississippi State University, in which she continued to learn about quality preschool education.
    Sherry is experienced in conducting comprehensive learning activities and care about the guidance of young children and making stories come alive.  When not enjoying time with her preschool children, she loves laughing and spending quality time with her family.

    Previous Experience:
    She has been in the ECE field for 14 years and most recently was a teacher for Head Start in Mississippi.
    A.A.S in Child Development Technology and BS in Child Development from Alcorn State University
  • Ms. Tricia

    Ms. Tricia, Toddler

    Ms. Tricia has always enjoyed working with children.  She holds a Masters Degree in Special Education and spent the last 6 years teaching in Virginia.  She recently had her first child and began working at KinderCare as a way to work and still be close to her child. 
    In her free time she loves to travel, cook, and take walks with her husband and son.  She also enjoys being crafty and being able to share my craftiness with my students!

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Tricia spent the last 6 years teaching in Virginia.
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Masters Degree in Special Education
  • Ms. Diane

    Ms. Diane, Infant

    Ms. Diane received her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Development in 1975 and her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from NIU in 1977.  She worked as a teachers aide at Concord School in Darien for two years.  She has been a licensed Home Childcare Provider for 15+ years.  Diane was a Girl Scout leader for 17 years for her two daughters and 2 granddaughters.  Most recently, she ran the Children's Department at Barnes and Nobel for 8 years doing and crafts.  She even got to meet author Ella Jenkins!

    Previous Experience:
    15+ years as a licensed home daycare provider
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Associates Degreen in Early Childhood Development and a Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education from NIU
  • Ms. Shibani

    Ms. Shibani, PreK

    Ms. Shibani has been working at the Darien KinderCare for 12 years.  For the past 5 years, she has been working in the PreK classroom with the 4 year old children.  She also has experience working in all of the classrooms.  She enjoys working with children because they provide her with joy, encouragement, and fufillment.  She also learns a lot from them!

    Year Started:
    14 Years

Upcoming Center Activities

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September's Learning Focus

Children 6 weeks to 3 years old: Spaces and Places and All About Me
As infants and toddlers explore the spaces and places around them, children in Discovery Preschool will learn all about what makes people the same as well as what makes them different. Infants will experiment with moving toy cars around, build block towers and then knock them down, and even take a tour of the center to see what things are like outside of their classroom! Toddlers will get all revved up as they take a closer look at different vehicles and learn more about neighborhoods, communities, and the jobs that grownups have. In Discovery Preschool, children will be learning about themselves as they play games that strengthen their five senses, discuss feelings and emotions, practice self-help skills, and work on learning the names of body parts.

Children 4 to 5 years old: All About Me and My Home and Family
It’s the beginning of the school year—the perfect time to get to know each other better! Older children will be spending time sharing about themselves, their homes, and their families as they learn what makes people the same and what makes them different. Children will bring their own experiences to the drawing board as they create group stories and 3-D collages about families and homes, pantomime different home- and family-related activities, and draw self-portraits. With our curriculum’s project-related learning component, children in Transitional Kindergarten work together to decide on an individual or whole-group project related to the theme. Past projects have included creating a class book about emotions or working together to build a small-scale home, but who knows—the children may come up with a unique idea that’s entirely their own!

Monday September 04, 2017
Center Closed for Labor Day

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.

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

Child safety is a primary focus. The center has a dedicated Health and Safety Coordinator, all staff is first aid and CPR trained. The Center has a key code entry; the building and playground are fenced. The Center does a child name to face count every 30 minutes. Only authorized parents can take children out of Center.

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

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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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Resources for Parents

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