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Joliet KinderCare

Merinda Leach, Center Director

2605 Black Rd. Joliet IL 60435
(815) 729-2110 Contact this center

Ages: 6 Weeks to 12 Year-Olds

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Elementary Schools Bussed To:
Troy Craughwell, Troy Crossroads, Carl Sandburg, Lynne Thigpen, Taft, Thomas Jefferson,, Crystal Lawns, Richland, Pershing and Farragut Schools.**Bussing To and From all Schools listed below Restrictions may apply* See bussing for more detail. Opening Determined on Bus Availability, call center for approval and verification.**

Our center is dedicated to providing a quality experience for all children and parents.  We have received a QRS certificate from the State of Illinois through the Illinois Quality Counts Rating System. Our participation in the Quality Count Program validates our dedication to children through providing programs that go above and beyond state standards and provide an enhanced learning and care experience for all children in our center.


Welcome to the Joliet 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.

Merinda Leach, Center Director

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

Image Gallery

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.

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

The staff at Joliet 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!

  • Merinda Leach

    Merinda Leach, Center Director

    I love the personal connection we are able to make with all of our families. I am so privileged to share in so many children's lives!

    Merinda studied for her Early Childhood Degree at Philadelphia Biblical University. Upon beginning her career with KinderCare as a Toddler Teacher, she discovered a home for her passion for working with children and families. Merinda’s career path has taken her through several roles within the KinderCare family – classroom teacher, Enrichment Program Instructor, Assistant Director, as well as her current role as Center Director. She has made the Joliet community her home and is extremely committed to the children and families that she serves.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Merinda began her career in Early Childhood as a Toddler teacher in the Lemont KinderCare. She quickly took on more responsibility as a closing manager, and then the Assistant Director. In January of 2008, Ms. Merinda took over Joliet KinderCare. She lives in the Joliet community and is truly dedicated to the families, children and staff in her care.
    Year Started:
    14 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Early Childhood Education
  • Jamie Hopkins

    Jamie Hopkins, Assistant Director

    I love working with young children and their families. I have so much joy watching children grow and develop year on year in our center.

    I was born and raised in Joliet, Go Steelmen! I am still in Joliet, with my husband and 2 fantastic children. I've always known that I would work with children, from my young days playing school in my dad's basement. I started at the Joliet location in 2007, also working at the DeKalb center while going to Northern Illinois University, where I studied Child Development. I started off working in the toddler classroom, floating around to each classroom. I made my home in Kindergarten, where I worked for 3 years before becoming the Program Specialist.  I've relocated to the Palos Hills KinderCare, where I took the role of Assistant Director in 2015. I was welcomed back in June 2016, where I continued my journey as the Assistant Director. 

    Previous Experience:
    On my ECE journey I've worked in multiple classrooms, loving each and everyone. While at NIU, I completed my 16 week internship working in a multi-aged classroom (ages 3-5), implementing and facilitating lesson plans. I graduated from NIU in 2011 with my bachelors degree in ECE and in line to start my masters degree in April in Early Childhood Administration.
    Favorite Children's Book:

    I love You Stinky Face by Lisa Mccourt

    Year Started:
    9 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachelor's in Child Development
  • Ms. Tracey

    Ms. Tracey, Infant

    Year Started:
    4 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
  • Ms. Jazmyn

    Ms. Jazmyn, Preschool

    Year Started:
    5 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Child Development Associates
  • Ms. Jill

    Ms. Jill, School Age

    Year Started:
    4 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Child Development Associates
  • Ms. Lumi

    Ms. Lumi, Toddler

    Year Started:
    13 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Elementary Education

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.

Meals & Menus

Meals Served

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • PM Snack

Holidays Observed

New Year's Day
President's Day
Memorial Day
Independence Day
Labor Day
Columbus Day
Thanksgiving Day & Day After
Christmas Day

Health and Safety

Here at Joliet KinderCare, your child will not only have a safe, secure and stimulating environment to learn in, but they will have support from a team of child development experts who have a true passion for educating and nurturing children. Our staff works to promote a safe and healthy environment by adhering to strict cleaning policies in additions to sanitizing classrooms daily.

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.

My son has been attending Joliet KinderCare since September of last year. It amazes me when he says a new word or does something new. He loves coming to school to see his teachers. His teachers and all the staff are AMAZING in what they do!

- Mother

I have 3 children that attend KinderCare in Joliet, so we have been in all of the classrooms through the years. We have always had wonderful experiences and my children really enjoy coming to their school. My oldest daughter is now in public school during the day and she begs to come back to KinderCare after school and on breaks. They have made their first friendships there and we can tell that their teachers really care about them as individuals. We could not have asked for a better experience!

- 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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Resources for Parents

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