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McHenry KinderCare

Karen Grabow, Center Director

4717 West Crystal Lake Rd. McHenry IL 60050
(815) 385-2499 Contact this center

Ages: 14 MONTHS to 12 Year-Olds

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Elementary Schools Bussed To:
McHenry, Johnsburg, Crystal Lake, Wonder Lake, Woodstock

We are proud to have earned the Early Childhood Accreditation through the National Accreditation Council!


Welcome to McHenry KinderCare serving families in McHenry, Johnsburg, WonderLake, and Woodstock communities. We offer an amazing curriculum and educational tools for each age group to support learning and development. Our Preschool curriculum works in alignment with our local schools to ensure Kindergarten readiness for every child. Before and After School Program is offered throughout the school year, while our Summer Camp program for ages Preschool and up provide perfect solutions for families who need care during school break. For a full listing of schools that we transport, please see our Map and Directions tab. At our school, we have exceptional, long-term teachers who are passionate about teaching and caring for children. It is very important to all of us at KinderCare to encourage strong family and community involvement through: Open Houses, Parent Events, Parent-Teacher Conferences, Curriculum Nights and Special Programs designed for children. We are proudly accredited by the National Accreditation Council since 2013. Please visit the accreditation tab below to view more information on high quality programs. We hope to see you soon!

Karen Grabow, 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

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.

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

Our team of teachers have over 100 years of experience teaching in McHenry! Our passion and dedication to education shine everyday through the eyes of each child!

  • Karen Grabow

    Karen Grabow, Center Director

    Mchenry KinderCare is my home away from home. The teachers, children and parents of the center are my family and I love being with them all.

    Karen is a mother of two sons, a grandmother of five grandchildren and wife of the most wonderful person she has ever met.  She has worked a few jobs prior to working at KinderCare but has never enjoyed a job as much as she does working here.  She spends most of her time at the center, but also enjoys reading, taking pictures and spend time decorating her home.  Karen has lived in McHenry most of her life and plans to stay here forever.  She attended most of the the schools in McHenry and graduated from McHenry High School.  She attend the College of Lake County where she received her degree.  Karen attended McHenry County College to become director qualified and still loves to take classes to increase her knowledge of children and how they think.  Spending time with children keeps her young and smiling most of the time, that explains her laugh lines. Karen feels lucky to have the best job in the world.

    Year Started:
    29 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    26 Years
    Associates Degree
  • Tangela Newsom

    Tangela Newsom, Assistant Director

    Children grow right before my eyes. It is wonder to watch. I love seeing the smiles on every child's face as they discover something new.

    Ms Tanegla has been working with children since 2005.  She started off by babysitting and then worked at a childcare center as an assistant infant teacher.  She enjoyed it so much, she decided to go back to school to earn her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Development.  While attending school, she work with infants and school age children and other age groups.  After gaining more experience, she became a leaf teacher in an infant classroom and also became a director for another center. Ms. Tangela is currently pursuing her Bachelor's Degree in Early Childhood Education.  She love teaching children new things eacha nd everyday.  She also loves to see children grow and develop while they are in her care. Ms. Tangee will be working with Ms Maddie in Preschool 3 and with Preschool 1 in the afternoons, along with assisting Miss Karen with managing the center..  Her hours are 9:00 AM -6:00 PM.

    Previous Experience:
    Workd as Assistant Director at Safari Child Care in McHenry
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Bachlor Degree in Early Childhood Adminstration
  • Ms. Cassie

    Ms. Cassie, Toddler and Twos Classroom

    Miss Cassie has been honored to work with children since 2000.  She started working for the Crystal Lake Park District while attending school.  She attended MCC and the University of Illinois Springfield on a basketball scholarship.  She is very passionate about sports, crafts, children and helping others.  She has worked with children ages 1-14 years of age.  She loves to coach basketball in her spare time, along with watching games and movies with her family.  She is happy to expand her family here at KinderCare.

    Previous Experience:
    Worked at Crystal Lake Park District for years with children 5-12 Years of age
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    12 years
    86 hours of college credit
  • Ms. Janet

    Ms. Janet, Toddler and Twos Classroom

    I love to watch the children learn and play. They have so much fun and say the funniest things.

    Miss Janet is a high school student who is very interested in becoming a teacher.  She comes over after school to help out in the classrooms.  She loves to play with the children and help them do projects.  She has many cousins and siblings that she helps to take care of.

    Year Started:
    1 Year
  • Ms. Tania

    Ms. Tania, Toddler and Twos Classroom

    I love interacting with children and seeing their faces when they discover something new.

    Miss Tania arrived in America in January of 2015. She is from Mexico and went to college there.  She attended the University of Valle de Mexico where she earned her Bachelors Degree in Psychology.  Her parents live in Mexico and when they are able they like to come and visit her.  She started working with children in 2013 as an English teacher with 4 and 5 year old children in Mexico.  She loves to help children learn new things and guide them to do things by themselves.  Miss Tania likes to cook desserts because she loves sweet stuff.  She also enjoys watching movies at home or going to the theater.  Her favorite type of movies are comedies, cartoon and horror.  When she has time she likes to read and scrapbook.

    Previous Experience:
    Taught english to 4 and 5 year old children in Mexico.
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    2 years
    Bachelors Degree
  • Ms. Lauren

    Ms. Lauren, Prekindergarten Classroom

    I love knowing that what I do helps the children to grow up and become independent individuals.

    Ms. Lauren has always wanted to be a teacher ever since she was little. She loves watching the children learn. Anytime she is having a hard day, the kids always know how to make her day better. Ms. Lauren is a mother of two children ages four and seven. She was married in October 2013 and lives in the Johnsburg area.  She loves animals and has an adorable cat named Captain.

    Year Started:
    12 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    9 Years
    Child Development Associate Credential
  • Ms. Brittany

    Ms. Brittany, Preschool Classroom

    Just breathe.

    Ms. Brittany grew up in McHenry and graduated from McHenry East High School. She began working at KinderCare in 2008.  Ms. Brittany has just become engaged to a wonderful man, Nick.  She loves to scapebook and do crafts.  She loves being with the chldren and learning from them.

    Year Started:
    9 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    seven years
    Child Developemtn Associate Credential
  • Ms. Luisa

    Ms. Luisa, Preschool Classroom

    I love being a mother and bringing my experience to the children at the center.

    Ms. Luisa the mother of three beautiful children: a six year old son, a five year old daughter and a three year daughter. She enjoys spending time with them. She also loves to cook and bring Mexican dishes for the other teachers to try.

    Ms. Luisa was a parent at the center for a year and her children loved it so much they never want to go home.  She noticed they were looking for help and applied and now she gets to be here with her children during the day and see what they do.
    She really enjoys being with the children and helping them learn. She is also bilingual and helps Ms. Karen with parents that speak Spanish.  She attended Crystal Lake High school and now live in McHenry.  She works with the two and three year old children at the center.

    Year Started:
    3 Years
  • Ms. Joni

    Ms. Joni, Prekindergarten Classroom

    Teaching is a wonderful job because we help children learn and grow.

    Ms. Joni has been with KinderCare since 2011. She works with Prekindergarten children during the school year and with School Age kids during the summer. She has 3 children who have all attended KinderCare. She started as a Teacher's Assistant and went back to school to become teacher qualified. She loves working with children and giving them love, attention, and helping them to prepare for kindergarten. Ms. Joni is a PPD Award Winner for the teacher with the most pride.

    Year Started:
    10 Years
    AA in Arts
  • Mr. Brandt

    Mr. Brandt, School Age Classroom/Bus Driver

    I enjoy talking with the children and sharing ideas and discussing their favorite cartoons, characters and more.

    Mr. Brandt has worked at KinderCare since he was in High School. He started as an after school helper. After High School, Mr. Brandt decided he wanted to teach. He is married with threel children and goes to school part-time. He is certified to work as a preschool teacher but his goal is to someday be an Elementary School teacher. Mr. Brandt enjoys video games, reading, and doing art and really loves working with the children at KinderCare.

    Year Started:
    10 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    12 Years
    Assosicate Degree of Science
  • Ms. Carolyn

    Ms. Carolyn, School Age Classroom/Kindergarten

    I love teaching and enjoy when the children are excited about learning.

    Ms. Carolyn enjoys being able to open a child up to the joy and adventures of learning. She does this through hands-on activities with the children.  She has worked at KinderCare since 1991.  Ms Carolyn has one daughter and is married to a wonderful man, Wade.  She lives in Wonder Lake and loves to read.  She must read about 3 to 4 books a week.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Carolyn has previously worked at the Elk Grove Community Day Care Center and for the Crystal Lake Park District.
    Year Started:
    26 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    26 Years
    Associate's Degree in Science
  • Ms. Gina

    Ms. Gina, Preschool classroom

    I love seeing the children's smiles when I walk into a room, it makes you feel so special inside. It is the children that make you want to get out of bed everyday and come to work!

    Gina has been working with childre for sicne 2010.  Currently she attends McHenry County College and is studing early childhood education.  Her favorite color is blue.  She has always known she wanted to work with children since the age of 12.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms Gina worked for Kiddie Campus for over a year
    Year Started:
    3 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    5 years
    some colledge
  • Ms. Danielle

    Ms. Danielle, Toddler and Twos Classrooms

    The smiles of each child and the passion I have to teach is my inpiration

    Ms Danielle is married and is attending Kendle College to earn a degree in Elementary Education with a concentration in Special Education.  Danielle has had a few jobs prior to working at KinderCare all that have helped her love working with children more every day.  What she enjoys the most about teaching is seeing and learning with each and every child.

    Year Started:
    3 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.

Languages Spoken at Our Center

  • Spanish

Meals & Menus

Meals Served

  • Breakfast
  • AM Snack
  • 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 take the safety of all the children in our care very seriously at our school. From daily parent and teacher sign in, to strict parent or guardian identification and single keypad access, we maintain a rigorous standard for safety so that our families can have true piece of mind.
Maintaining a healthy and clean environment is of upmost importance. Our teachers are very proud to keep their classrooms clean by using a cleaning checklist daily. After hours, we also have the support of a professional cleaning crew.
Our school has a designated person to make sure that all health and safety rules and policies are being followed. This Health and Safety Coordinator provides training and follows a monthly safety calendar to ensure that each classroom is up to date.
We ask that our families help keep all children safe and healthy by only bringing well children to school and picking up promptly if children show illness symptoms at school. We work together as a team to maintain a safe and healthy environment of all of our children. Please call our school to get more information. We look forward to hearing from you and answering any questions you may have.

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.

To all who have had an influence on my daughter, Kelli, I just want to let all of them know it is appreciated to the fullest. She learned a lot being at KinderCare and enjoys coming here very much. Everyday I ask her did you have fun not one day in three months has she said "no". That makes me feel very good about bringing her here. The songs they teach the kids are so cute-she performs them for everyone. You all do a very good job! (Kelli has only one problem - she says you have carrots and beans everyday! I laugh, but who knows, maybe someday she'll try them and like them.)

- Mother

To all the Teachers and Director for KinderCare,
Thank you for working with Jessica and making her feel comfortable, confident and happy away from home while Mom and Dad worked. It was such a relief to know she was in good hands. Mostly thank you for your enduring patience in working with Jessie and realizing her limitations and special needs. She's gained so much confidence in her short time with all of you.

- Mother

My son Xavier has learned so much at KinderCare. They have taught him a lot! This place is great and very hands on!

- Mother

We had bad experiences at daycares in the past including neglect, so I was very concerned about leaving my child at KinderCare.  Not anymore.  My son has been attending the McHenry KinderCare since September.  The staff is wonderful!  I never question what went on during the day.  His teachers always keep me up to date.  Miss Karen and Miss Tangee are awesome!  They have been so amazing and are so helpful.  Everyone makes us feel like they are part of their family.  My son's pre-school teacher even made a comment  about his progress since attending KinderCare. Last year he was behind and there were concerns, but this year, he has excelled.  We are very lucky to have found such a wonderful and trusting place for my son to be!

- 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.

View More

Resources for Parents

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