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Candlewood KinderCare

Melanie Buchele, Center Director

1735 North 121st St. Omaha NE 68154
(402) 493-5399 Contact this center

Ages: 6 Weeks to 12 Year-Olds

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Candlewood II

Elementary Schools Bussed To:
Ezra Elementary

Back to School! We are currently enrolling for fall. Space is limited, visit the center today!

Whether your child has first words or first grade on the horizon, we’re excited to show you how everything in our center is designed for learning!


Welcome to Candlewood KinderCare! We would love to have you come and join our KinderCare family. At our center your child can learn and grow in a creative, fun filled, educational environment. We serve children ages six weeks to twelve years of age. We look forward to meeting you and your family soon!

Melanie Buchele, Center Director

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Our kids are taking off!

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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.

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

The teachers and staff at Candlewood KinderCare are passionate about educating and nurturing children. The majority of our teachers have their Child Development Associate's Credential, Associate's Degree or Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood Education or are near completion of their degree program. The Candlewood KinderCare team strives for excellence through continuing education from biannual company professional development trainings to seeking additional college courses or seminars in the education field. At the end of the day, the true key to our teachers' success is their passion for teaching and their love of learning.

  • Melanie Buchele, Center Director

    Year Started:
    1 Year
  • Geoffrey Barassi

    Geoffrey Barassi, Assistant Director

    I enjoy working with children everday. Their curiosity with the world makes it easy to create meaningful moments and to help them become life-long learners.

    Geoffrey attended San Diego State where he obtained his bachelor degree in Liberal Arts. He also attended San Diego State to complete student teaching and to obtain his elementary teaching credential. Geoffrey was the Prekindergarten teacher at his current KinderCare location for almost eight years before becoming the Assistant Director. The children learn in many different ways in his classroom. He feels it is important to make learning fun because teaching the children is important but teaching the children that learning is fun is just as important to create life-long learners.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to joining KinderCare, Geoffrey was a site supervisor of a before and after school program for San Diego Unified School District. Before assuming his current role, he was a lead teacher in the prekindergarten classroom at KinderCare.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Giving Tree
    Year Started:
    10 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    11 years
    Bachelor's Degree in Liberal Studies, Multiple Subject Elementary Teaching Credential
  • Ms. Ally

    Ms. Ally, Program Specialist

    I love working with children and sharing the love of knowledge. It's the best reward to see their smiling faces and watch them gaining new skills.

    Ms. Ally is a fun, loving, and structured person. She loves adding her own lessons into the already wonderful curriculum provided. Her main goal is to provide a home-away-from-home experience where the children feel comfortable to grow and learn.

    Previous Experience:
    Before coming to the Early Childhood Education field Ms. Ally was a gymnastics coach. For the last five years she has worked as a Preschool teacher at another center.
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    6 Years
    Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education
  • Ms. Lacy

    Ms. Lacy, Preschool Classroom

    I love teaching the children new things everday and the smiles and hugs during the day makes the day great.

    Ms. Lacy brings many years of Early Childhood Education to the Discovery Preschool Classroom.  Ms. Lacy enjoys completing art with the children in her classroom. What she loves most about teaching is the new things she does with her students everday.  The big smiles she gets when she walks into her classroom inspires her to come to work each day.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    Berenstain Bears
    Year Started:
    14 Years
    Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Kristy

    Ms. Kristy, Discovery Preschool Classroom

    I love all the relationships I have made with children, families and staff in the last nine years at KinderCare.

    In her career at KinderCare, Ms. Kristy has worked in all the programs and had a variety of leadership roles in the company. She feels fortunate in all the positive connections she has made with the families here. She also loves that she gets to take her baby girl to work with her each day. In her current classroom, Ms. Kristy loves to add enhancements and do creative art projects that relate to the current theme. When she is not working she enjoys reading, scrapbooking and spending time with her family and friends.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Kristy has held director and assistant director positions at KinderCare. She worked as a Substitute teacher for Fremont Public Schools. She has also worked as a prekindergarten teacher in another childcare facility for four years.
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Curious George
    Year Started:
    12 Years
    Bachelor's of Arts Degree in Art and Education (Field Endorsement in K-12 Art, Concentration in Commercial Art)
  • Ms. Traci

    Ms. Traci, Pre-K

    The thing I loved the most - and still love the most about teaching - is that you can connect with an individual or a group, and see that individual or group exceed their limits. - Mike Krzyzewski

    Traci was born and raised in Glenwood, IA, where she had her first job working with children at the age of 17.  She moved to Omaha in 2012 and started working at KinderCare.  Traci has two great danes and a beautiful baby boy.  In her free time she loves hanging out with family, shopping, and relaxing on the couch watching Netflix.

    Previous Experience:
    Worked as a child care associate in Glenwood, IA
    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Cat in The Hat
    Year Started:
    4 Years
    Years in ECE industry:
    Child Development Associate's Credential & CNA
  • Miss Carolyn

    Miss Carolyn, Infant

    Never miss an opportunity to show children affection - compassion and consideration are essential.

    Infants absorb everything around them! Carolyn wants the infants to have the most positive and caring environment possible while still providing a place for the children to learn about themselves and the world around them.

    Previous Experience:
    She worked in Accounts Payables, Customer Service, and Credit Disputes for 20 years. Decided to take a break to return to college, took this job, and is loving it!
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Where The Wild Things Are
    Year Started:
    2 Years
    Some Early Childhood Education classes
  • Molly

    Molly, Prekindergarten Classroom

    If we wait until we're ready, we'll be waiting for the rest of our lives. -Lemony Snicket

    Molly was born and raised in Omaha, Nebraska.  Prior to working at KinderCare, she managed and ran summer camps, and held positions as supervisor, assistant department head, assistant event planner, and site director.  Molly is pursuing her bachelor degree in Exercise Science at UNO.  In her free time she enjoys concerts and traveling.

    Favorite Children's Book:
    The Kissing Hand
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    Pursuing Bachelor Degree in Exercise Science
  • Miss Kali

    Miss Kali, Infant Classroom

    What I love is that each child who comes into my room and gets to learn something new that day - even if its not what I wanted them to initially learn - they still are able to take away new knowledge!

    When Kali was a child her mom always said she would teach, she never believed her, yet here she is teaching little children about animals, plants, sharing, friendship, and much much more!  The children teach Kali just as much as she teaches them.  Kali encourages her students to explore and use every moment to assist them in learning or to help them engage in new surroundings.

    Previous Experience:
    Volunteer at Arc of Platte Valley County for 4 years and an Aunt to a very independent 3 year old
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Goodnight Moon
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    Associate in Arts and Science. Pursuing Bachelor in Theater
  • Miss Kacie

    Miss Kacie, Infant Classroom

    Don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened." - Dr. Seuss

    Kacie enjoys traveling and hanging out with her family and friends.  This is Kacie's first job in a childcare setting and she loves working with all the infants, from 6 weeks all the way to 18 month olds.  Kacie is furthering her education in the field of Early Childhood Education as she pursues her Bachelor Degree.

    Previous Experience:
    Nanny for a 4 child family Child photographer for 4 years
    Favorite Children's Book:
    Cat in The Hat
    Year Started:
    1 Year
    Years in ECE industry:
    Pursuing a Bachelor's Degree in Education
  • Miss Ciera, Toddler Classroom

    You can find magic wherever you look. Sit back and relax, all you need is a book."  - Dr. Seuss

    Ciera moved to Omaha from Phoenix, Arizona one year ago and is very excited to work with the Toddlers here at KinderCare.  She has 5 years of experience working in an elementary education setting and is studying Speech Pathology at the University of Phoenix.  She fell in love with helping children learn and grow when she worked with first graders at Hopi Elementary in 2011.  She is passionate about improving the lives of children and wants to work with children with speech delays to improve their lives.  When she is not teaching little ones she is at home with her fiance, training and playing with her puppy, Ody.  She also enjoys baking, trying new food, and playing the cello.

    Previous Experience:
    Five years experience with children in an elementary educational setting.
    Year Started:
    Years in ECE industry:
    Pursuing a Bachelor Degree in Speech Pathologist

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.

Languages Spoken at Our Center

  • Spanish

Meals & Menus

Meals Served

  • Breakfast
  • Lunch
  • PM Snack

Center Menu

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 understand that your child’s health and safety is of the utmost importance which is why it is our top priority! We are dedicated to providing a safe, healthy and clean environment for you and your family. The center has a dedicated Health and Safety coordinator who oversees all state and KinderCare health regulations and cleaning procedures. All center staff are trained on SIDS prevention, Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention, First Aid and CPR. The center office is located in the front of the building and secured access to the building is provided through use of key code entry. The building and playground are completely fenced in with access only from the inside of the building. Our teachers take name to face attendance every 30 minutes to ensure all children are accounted for at all times. Only parent authorized individuals are allowed to take children out of the center and are required to have photo identification. Rest assured, we take the safety of the children in our care very seriously and provide a healthy and safe learning environment.

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.

Like many parents who struggle with daycare options, I was overwhelmed.  My wife and I narrowed our list down to three after a long search.  While she was focused on our daughters ability to express herself and grow artistically, I was more concerned about the quality of education.  With that in mind I was also a bit scared by the weekly cost of attendance.   Its not exactly cheap.  With that said, I would pay the weekly amount again and again if asked!  Not only was I impressed immediately with the quality of education, we took it a step further and enrolled our daughter in phonics and later in math.  She knows a few words in spanish, can count to 100 on a regular basis, has embraced the rule structure that will be needed in kindergarten, and made lots of friends.  Ms. Holly and Ms. Ally are not only great teachers but great people.  My daughter will truly miss them next year.  I cannot forget to mention the director Lee-Ann and and asst. director Geoff.  I have never seen people in such positions know the names of EVERY child and take a interest in their well being.  Oh, and they are completely approachable and will always work with you about anything.  In summary, despite my initial concern about cost, I would repeat this experience for my daughter in a heartbeat and know she will miss her teacher and friends.  DO NOT forget if education is what you are most concerned about, you cannot do better than Kindercare at Candlewood!  

- Parents

Ms. Kristi is wonderful and truly deserves to be honored. She takes time out every day to chat with me since we are part-time and do not always have a clear picture of what happens at school. She is always willing to share the day's "going on's", and makes sure to have a report written for us in addition to her verbal report. I've seen our son grow so much since he started a mere 4 months ago. He absolutely adores her. She has such enthusiasm and patience. I don't know how she does it with all those boys!!! I am very grateful to have her as my son's teacher. Sincerely, Carrie

- Parent

Monday through Friday we get up out of bed to get ready for school. I ask my daughter: “Wanna go see Miss Sue?” She replies “YES Mamma!”, with great enthusiasm. It’s such a comfort knowing your child is so well taken care of. Ms. Sue welcomes my daughter every day with a hug and a big smile, NICE! Ms. Sue is so patient and calm with all the children, and her room runs like clockwork. She takes the time to write Elsie’s favorite part of the day on her sheet. Most of the time as I read what she wrote, it puts a big smile on my face and I can see Elsie doing it right then. As working mothers we miss out on so much, so it really makes it easier knowing they are having so much fun at school. We listen to our music CDs every day to school and back home. My daughter is now singing songs to her baby sister and looks forward to music each and every Friday with Lacy!

- Parent

My son is thriving at Candlewood KinderCare! Last summer we had him enrolled in a Montessori program. He cried every day. It broke our hearts. This summer is a completely different story! He loves KinderCare, his teachers and his friends. He looks forward to going every day. He loves the field trips and other fun activities. It is extremely comforting to know he is happy and well cared for when he is not with us. THANK YOU KinderCare from the bottom of our hearts! We'll see you next summer!

- Mother

“My kiddos have been attending Candlewood KinderCare since July 2010. We are so grateful to have found such a wonderful place for our children! We know our children will be well cared for and provided with an early education atmosphere which will more than prepare them for Kindergarten. The staff at Candlewood are all amazing people who really take the time to get to know the children and the parents. They do an awesome job working with the children from learning to walk to learning the ABC’s. I know we never would have survived our potty training days without them! The staff is very understanding and willing to work with parents on everything. They truly do have the best interests of our children in mind.  It is such a relief knowing we do not need to worry about our children when we are at work”

- Mother

My experience with Candlewood KinderCare has been wonderful. My oldest 3 children attended one summer while I was expecting my fourth child. I immediately noticed the cleanliness of the facility, which is huge for me and the whole “daycare” experience. The other wonderful thing was the education the faculty has to have to work with the children that attend. I feel ANYONE who works with children needs to be trained to do so. These factors contributed to my decision to place my new baby in the care of the Candlewood KinderCare. The acting director at the time was fantastic. She was understanding and knowledgeable about everything concerning daycare. She actually cared about the family as a whole. She made the facility very “homey”. I was afraid things would change dramatically with the new director as far as how clean and accommodating the faculty was. I’m thrilled to my ears that things haven’t changed; they have in fact exceeded all my expectation. Deborah Clute is doing a fantastic job!

- Mother

After an exhaustive search for the best learning center for our kids three years ago, we discovered Candlewood KinderCare. Three years later, we couldn't imagine a better place for our kids. The staff is very professional and maintains a core group of teachers that have remained there since we started. Our children look forward each and every day at "school". The best compliment we can pay Candlewood KinderCare is that we don't worry about our kids when they are there. We know they are in a safe, kid-friendly learning environment that fosters imagination and self-confidence.

- Father

Making a choice around your child’s care is a very stressful and difficult decision to make! However, my husband and I feel so fortunate to have found a daycare like Candlewood KinderCare, bringing us peace of mind. While I cannot wait to pick up my sweet girl at the end of each day, it helps knowing she enjoys her time here and the affection she has for the staff. It warms my heart seeing the staff’s interactions with her and I cannot rave enough about how genuine they are! The staff is extremely friendly and updates me on what progress our daughter is making or silly things she did throughout the day. It definitely feels like a team effort (strong parent/teacher communication). I cannot stress enough how much it means to find a center that is clean and organized. We actually had our daughter enrolled in a different center prior to Candlewood KinderCare. After about a month, my gut was telling me something was’t right. Cleanliness and organization were the primary reasons we left the other center and Candlewood KinderCare is leaps and bounds ahead in these areas. I would absolutely recommend Candlewood KinderCare to any family seeking care for their children. The staff and facility continue to find ways to improve and impress me.

- 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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