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Westlakes KinderCare

Anna Patterson, Center Director

6670 University Ave. West Des Moines IA 50266
(515) 221-0718 Contact this center

Ages: 6 Weeks to 5 YEARS
Open:

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Special Instructions:
On University Ave., in West Des Moines, next to Panera Bread

Elementary Schools Bussed To:
NONE

WestLakes KinderCare is currently enrolling Preschool children for the Summer and Fall.

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

Welcome

Welcome to WestLakes KinderCare in West Des Moines, Iowa. We would love to meet with you and your family to share with you everything that our center has to offer. When you visit our center, you will see how passionate the team is about education and the happiness that we can bring to each child that is enrolled at our center. We strive to develop the whole child; we provide several activities that will help your child develop socially, emotionally and cognitively. The brain develops the most in the first three years of life, so we strive to introduce your child to several learning activities and opportunities every day. WestLakes KinderCare's experts enjoy being a part of our families' lives and have a true passion for educating and nurturing children. Call today to schedule a tour; we would love to show you around our center!

Anna Patterson, Center Director

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Accreditation

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

Cooking

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.

Math

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.

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.

ABC Music & Me

Upcoming Events at our CenterView All Events

  1. Sunday January 01, 2017
    1. January's Learning Focus

      Children 6 weeks to 3 years old: Light and Dark, plus the Sky and Weather

      Through shadow play, experiments with flashlights, observing the Sun and more, infants and toddlers will enjoy learning about light and dark this month. Infants continue sensory development by looking at contrasting patterns and at objects that are clearly defined by sharp edges and bright colors, while toddlers will build on their understanding of the light and dark concepts with play around daytime and nighttime. The older Discovery Preschool children will turn their attention to the sky as they learn about weather, the Moon, the Sun, and stars.

      Children 4–5 years old: Transportation, Healthy Bodies, and Winter

      For children in the Preschool and Kindergarten classrooms, January is filled with variety! They’ll begin by learning about transportation and studying how things get from “here” to “there.” A few weeks later, the focus will shift to health and bodies, with an emphasis placed on how to make good choices for a growing body. Towards the end of the month, children will be introduced to the transformative nature of the winter season and learn how to dress and take care of themselves when it’s cold outside. 

  2. Monday December 26, 2016
    1. Center Closed in Observance of Christmas Day

Teachers & Staff

The teachers and staff at WestLakes KinderCare realize how important your child is to you and your family. That is why we dedicate ourselves to all of the children here at KinderCare by promising to educate and to provide a safe and caring learning environment in your absence.

  • Anna Patterson

    Anna Patterson, Center Director

    I feel so privileged to have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of children. I love that on a daily basis we are educating our nation's future and I am truly excited that I can provide a safe and caring environment where all the children have the opportunity to be successful and reach their full potential.

    Anna started with KinderCare in the fall of 2006. She has experience as an Infant/Toddler/Discovery Preschool/Preschool/Prekindergarten/Kindergarten/ School Age teacher, Learning Adventure Teacher and Assistant Director with KinderCare. Anna enjoys being able to support the teachers in assisting children reach their full potential as learners and as citizens.
    On a personal level, Anna loves spending time with her husband John and their son, Zachary. They love to vacation (usually someplace warm), spend time with family and spend time outside; Anna says it really doesn't matter what they are doing, just as long as they are spending time together.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to joining KinderCare, Anna worked as Kindergarten Teacher as well as training for a major chain restaurant.
    Year Started:
    8/24/2006
    Tenure:
    10 Years
    Education:
    Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education, Associate's of Arts Degree
  • Rachel Ross

    Rachel Ross, Assistant Director

    I love watching the children learn and grow and succeed every day. To see the children and teachers engaged in their classrooms and learning makes my job fun.

    Rachel has been with KinderCare since 2009 and became the Assistant Director in 2013. Before coming on board as the Assistant Director she was a Toddler and Discovery Preschool teacher.

    Year Started:
    10/7/2009
    Tenure:
    7 Years
    Education:
    Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Caroline

    Ms. Caroline, Infant Classroom

    I love seeing them grow and develop every day through their first year of life.

    Ms. Caroline joined our team in 2015 after completing her Bachelor's in Adult and Family Services at the University of Northern Iowa. Caroline's passion was to work with children and families from a very young age. Ms. Caroline loves to read in her spare time at home and everyday to the infant room.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to KinderCare Ms. Caroline worked in a childcare center as support staff while she was in college and a full time infant teacher once she graduated.
    Year Started:
    4/13/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Education:
    Bachelor's in Adult and Family Services
  • Ms. Shannon

    Ms. Shannon, Infant Classroom

    I love helping the children and their families, and giving them peace of mind for the many hours they are away from their children.

    Ms. Shannon relocated to our center from the Cedar Rapids location in 2013. She has a son and daughter who both attended our program. Ms. Shannon started in our older Toddler classroom and then joined our Infant room. In college, she studied Early Childhood Education and Elementary Education.

    Year Started:
    9/27/2011
    Tenure:
    5 Years
    Education:
    Associate's Degree in Early Childhood & Elementary Education
  • Ms. Kathi

    Ms. Kathi, Infant Classroom, Health & Safety Coordinator

    I love being able to help the children reach their first milestones in my classroom.

    Ms. Kathi started with KinderCare in March 1999. She started out as a Prekindergarten teacher and worked her way to management. She also received her Child Development Associate's Credential. Ms. Kathi is now the lead teacher in our Infant classroom and our Health and Safety Coordinator.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Kathi was a Nanny and Preschool Teacher prior to joining our team in 1999.
    Year Started:
    3/29/1999
    Tenure:
    17 Years
    Education:
    Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Amanda

    Ms. Amanda, Toddler Classroom

    I love watching each child grow into their own personalities.

    Ms. Amanda has worked around children for a few years in a home setting and is excited to expand her career in the Early Childhood Education field. In her experience she found that she was passionate about teaching infant and toddler age groups, which led her to join our family at KinderCare in 2014.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Amanda has a two year old son, and had nannied before coming to KinderCare.
    Year Started:
    10/1/2014
    Tenure:
    2 Years
    Education:
    Child Development Associate
  • Ms. Arati

    Ms. Arati, Toddler Classroom

    I love that I get to see them grow every day.

    Ms. Arati is orginally from India and has lived in Iowa since 2008. She has two children and previously worked at a in-home childcare center in India. Ms. Arati really enjoys reading to the kids and helping them learn new songs!

    Year Started:
    9/14/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Education:
    Bachelor's Degree in Economics
  • Ms. Martha

    Ms. Martha, Toddler Classroom

    I love seeing the growth of the children and being a part of that process.

    Ms. Martha grew up in Des Moines and studied at the University of Northern Iowa. Ms. Martha's favorite activities are music time and dancing with the toddlers! 

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Martha had worked at a YMCA as a Site Supervisor and a school age teacher before relocating to Des Moines.
    Year Started:
    2/5/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Education:
    Studies in Leisure, Youth and Human Services, Currently working on her Child Development Associates
  • Ms. Sidney

    Ms. Sidney, Toddler Classroom

    I love that I play a part in shaping the children of today to be caring, successful individuals.

    Ms. Sidney joined our Kindercare family in the spring of 2014 after finishing her Early Childhood Education degree. She has a passion for teaching and a knack for creativity that she likes to share in the classes artwork.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to KinderCare Ms. Sidney was a baker and cake decorator.
    Year Started:
    4/16/2014
    Tenure:
    2 Years
    Education:
    Early Childhood Education Associates Degree
  • Ms. Zymrije

    Ms. Zymrije, Toddler Classroom

    I have four children myself and my love for children grows every day!

    Ms. Z helps the children transition from babies into toddlers by teaching them new and exciting things every day. She loves her group times and teaching them new words and songs. Ms. Z has created many lasting relationships with our children and families in the years she has been with us.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Z was a Toddler teacher in Arizona for eleven years before moving to Iowa.
    Year Started:
    10/13/2011
    Tenure:
    5 Years
    Education:
    Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. April D.

    Ms. April D., Discovery Preschool Classroom

    I love to see the children smiling when they see me walk in to the room every morning, it makes my day!

    Ms. April moved to Iowa from New York in 2011 with her husband and they have two little boys. April started in our Toddler class room and moved up with her first class to Discovery Preschool. She loves to sing and dance with the children and do anything to make them laugh! She is also our Learning Adventures teacher.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to joining KinderCare Ms. April was a restaurant manager in New York.
    Year Started:
    2/3/2014
    Tenure:
    2 Years
    Education:
    Degree in Criminal Justice, Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Britta

    Ms. Britta, Discovery Preschool Classroom

    I love to see the children smile. If I can see that every day I know that I am doing a good job.

    Ms. Britta is originally from Minnesota and moved to Iowa to attend Iowa State University. Ms. Britta was an intern for Department of Human Services child protective services for six months before she joined our KinderCare team. Her favorite part of the day is arts and crafts with her kids.

    Year Started:
    8/19/2013
    Tenure:
    3 Years
    Education:
    Bachelor's of Science Degree in Child, Adult and Family Services & Psychology, Currently obtaining her Master's Degree in Elementary Education
  • Ms. Kim H.

    Ms. Kim H., Discovery Preschool Classroom

    I have had a passion for teaching since I was young. I enjoy helping them develop and grow.

    Ms. Kim an her family retired from the US Air Force after 20 years. During that time they lived in many place and most recently Germany. The last teaching position she held was working with special needs children. She enjoys spending time with her four children and supporting them at their sporting events.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms.Kim worked in Germany on a US Air Force Base as a teacher where she received her Child Development Associate's credential. In addition to her work overseas, she owned her own daycare for five years.
    Year Started:
    7/21/2014
    Tenure:
    2 Years
    Education:
    Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Nicole

    Ms. Nicole, Discovery Preschool Classroom

    I love to see the children practicing a new skill that I have taught them! I am passionate about teaching the children new skills and ideas.

    Ms. Nicole joined our Kindercare family in August of 2015 after relocating from Buffalo, New York. She loves spending time with this age group and seeing them explore so much!

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to KinderCare Ms. Nicole taught Preschool in Buffalo, New York.
    Year Started:
    8/4/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Education:
    Bachelor's in Early Childhood Development and Master's Degree in Education
  • Ms. Julie

    Ms. Julie, Preschool Classroom

    I love seeing the children smile and laugh. Their smiles are why I am in this profession!

    Ms. Julie went to Iowa State University and achieved her Bachelor's Degree in Elementary Education with Certification in K-8 Art Education. Ms. Julie currently lives in the Beaverdale area.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to joining KinderCare Ms. Julie worked for a HeadStart Preschool.
    Year Started:
    9/23/2013
    Tenure:
    3 Years
    Education:
    Bachelor's of Science Degree in Elementary Education
  • Ms. Nicole

    Ms. Nicole, Preschool Classroom

    While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about.

    Ms. Nicole graduated from Davis County High School in 1999 and then graduated from Indian Hills Community College in 2001. She has worked with children of all ages but has spent the majority of her time teaching Preschool. Ms. Nicole started at Westlakes in 2008 and had also worked at a KinderCare in Wichita, Kansas.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Nicole previously worked as a Preschool teacher in Bloomfield, Iowa for 10 years.
    Year Started:
    4/7/2008
    Tenure:
    8 Years
    Education:
    Child Care Technician
  • Ms. Shannon

    Ms. Shannon, Preschool Classroom

    I am a big kid at heart, so I enjoy teaching them new and exciting things that make them wonder.

    Ms. Shannon worked at KinderCare in 2003 until she moved to Minnesota in 2007 and worked there as Preschool Teacher. She loves to do fun science experiments with the kids, and always has great insight on how to help each child learn.

    Year Started:
    3/17/2015
    Tenure:
    1 Year
    Education:
    ParaEducator Certification in Early Childhood Education
  • Ms. Stacie

    Ms. Stacie, Preschool Classroom

    I love watching the children's different personalities develop every day.

    Ms. Stacie was born and raised in the Des Moines Area and still lives here with her husband and four children. She has attended Des Moines Area Community College for the last two years working towards a degree in Human Services.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to joining KinderCare Ms. Stacie worked at Respite Health Care and as a nanny.
    Year Started:
    2/19/2014
    Tenure:
    2 Years
    Education:
    Pursuing Degree in Human Services
  • Ms. Brooke

    Ms. Brooke, Prekindergarten Classroom

    Don't ask what the world needs, ask what makes you come alive and do it because what the world needs is people who have come alive. -Howard Thurman

    Ms. Brooke is a nurturing and silly teacher who enjoys being a part of the development and education of her students. She enjoys science experiments and reading children's books during group time.

    Previous Experience:
    Ms. Brooke has previous experience working as a Toddler and two-year-old teacher.
    Year Started:
    6/3/2013
    Tenure:
    3 Years
    Education:
    Child Development Associate's Credential
  • Ms. Erin

    Ms. Erin, Prekindergarten Classroom

    I am passionate about the children and seeing them enjoy school.

    Ms. Erin went to school at Upper Iowa University for Elementary Education. She enjoys teaching the children all aspects of literacy to help prepare them for Kindergarten.

    Previous Experience:
    Prior to joining KinderCare Ms. Erin taught Preschool in Waterloo, Iowa.
    Year Started:
    12/12/2002
    Tenure:
    14 Years
    Education:
    Bachelor's of Science Degree in Elementary Education, with an Endorsement in Early Childhood Education

December 2016 Events

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  1. Thursday December 01, 2016
    1. December's Learning Focus

      Children 6 weeks to 3 years old: Family, Friends, and Things that Go!

      Infants and toddlers will be exploring family and friends, while three-year-olds will focus on things that go vroom! Social and emotional development is foundational to growth and development in babies, so this month, infants and toddlers will participate in activities that reinforce their connection to family while also exploring connections that exist outside their home, such as friends. Meanwhile, their older friends in Discovery Preschool will learn about and play around with things that move (like bicycles, cars, buses, trains, and airplanes), which are all very exciting for little ones as they continue to explore the world outside their homes. 

      Children 4–5 years old: My Country + Tools and Machines

      The four- and five-year-olds continue exploring the world around them by learning about the state and country they live in! They’ll sings songs, play games based on travel, and learn about flags, state foods, and more. Children will also be introduced to cardinal directions (east, west, north, and south) and gain an appreciation for travel and meeting new friends from different places. 

      Children are naturally fascinated with machines and how things work and are put together. So to encourage that fascination, during the second half of this month children will learn about and play around with tools and machines. In addition to building literacy skills by using the names of machines and tools, children will develop math skills by graphing information, counting wheels, and more.

  2. Monday December 26, 2016
    1. Center Closed in Observance of Christmas Day

About Our Center

We do a lot more than watch your child for you. We are teachers. Partners. Guides. We get excited about making every moment a learning opportunity, and look forward to making the most of our time together – with both you, and your child. We would love for you to come in and experience the Westlakes KinderCare difference!

Languages Spoken at Our Center

  • Spanish

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

Along with your child's happiness and education, your child's health and safety is also at the top of our priority list here at WestLakes KinderCare. We are extremely fortunate to be located right next to the West Des Moines Fire Station; the center is located in a great area that exudes safety. Not only are all of our outside perimeter doors locked to ensure security, WestLakes KinderCare also has a keypad entry as well as two fenced in playgrounds with locked gates. Enrolled families will have access to the code that will allow them past the keypad accessed entry. Otherwise, a door bell is available for visitors who will be greeted by one of our friendly staff members. At WestLakes KinderCare we have a Health and Safety Coordinator on site as well. One of Ms. Kathi's jobs is to conduct monthly fire and tornado drills, and to ensure that all of our staff has current certifications in CPR, First Aid, Universal Precautions as well as current Mandated Reporter certificates. We cannot stress enough the importance of keeping all of our children safe!

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.

Our family has been at Westlakes KinderCare for over five years now.  We couldn't be happier with the care and education that our children have received.  Westlakes KinderCare is truly a learning center.  The teachers are educated and have made a lasting impression on our family.  They are an extension of our immediate family; we are so blessed to have them in our lives!
 
Anna and Rachel are so accommodating and helpful.  They care about us and the well being of our children.   All of the staff are the same way, they love my children and I feel so comfortable and confident leaving them in their care every day.  They are amazing!  I refer all of my friends because everyone should give their children this opportunity to have this education in this warm and safe environment!
 
Thank you to Anna and the staff for everything that you do!

- Parent

Jacob started daycare with you guys at about 10 weeks old. I was so excited to have him attend the school where his older brother, Noah, had such success. The ladies in the infant room were so awesome! I had to pull him out about 3 weeks later, though, due to unforeseen circumstances at my job. When I was getting close to returning to work, I called Anna and Rachael, and they said you guys had no openings. I was devastated. I put my name on the list and patiently waited and hoped I'd hear back. I looked at another daycare here in West Des Moines, and they seemed like any other average daycare. There were no warm and fuzzies when I visited. Kindercare had been such a stellar experience for us that I just hated the thought of anywhere else. When I got the call that there was an opening, I was overjoyed! The teachers in his new room, Ms. Martha, Ms. Amanda, and Ms. Sydney, have been so sweet and patient with him. He has had a difficult transition from staying home with me to returning to daycare at 15 months old. They genuinely seem excited to see him every morning, and I can see the love and kindness they treat the other kids with as well. They truly love their jobs, and it shows. One morning a few weeks ago, I came in to see Ms. Martha sitting in the bathroom with one of the little ones. She was encouraging them to potty and making silly noises and playing with a light up toy with them. I was just overwhelmed with a sense of how lucky I am to have these great people to care for my son. I could not be more pleased. It is truly a joy to bring my son to you guys every morning. From the smiling faces at the front door when we arrive to all the awesome teachers on the way to his room, his great teachers are the cherry on the top. Kindercare is by far the best daycare I have ever used, and, if i have it my way, I'll always use you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking such good care of my little guys!

- Mother

It is a great feeling knowing that while I am at work my son is receiving the best care imaginable at the Westlakes KinderCare located on University Avenue in West Des Moines. Right away in the morning, as we walk in the door, we are greeted with warm hellos and bright smiles from the management team; Tracy and Anna are always more than willing to assist me with whatever I may need and are always there to listen. As you walk through the secured access entry, you hear sounds of laughter and the welcoming voices of the teachers greeting the children and parents as they walk in the classroom. It is certainly evident that the Westlakes KinderCare is not a daycare facility but a true learning center. In fact, every time I enter our KinderCare, I am reminded of what makes the center so remarkable, the artwork and projects, along with pictures of the children do those learning activities are displayed neatly on each of the classroom walls. I can tell that these educated, tenured teachers are proud and happy to work with my child; their smiling faces and clean, curriculum filled classrooms say it all. If you are looking for a safe and caring environment that gives your child an educational advantage while you are at work, the Westlakes KinderCare is the place for you!

- Parent

“You know what your problem is, don’t you?” my sister rhetorically asked me in August. “You make these people your best friends, and then every year you have to leave your best friends behind. That’s your problem.” It was so matter of fact, it stung. But she was right.  I had made my children’s teachers my bestest of friends, and then my children left their rooms, and there I was, mourning the loss of my beloveds.

Everyone has a story. And for those of you who don’t know us, our story began almost 6 years ago, when we were told our baby boy had a heart defect, a lethal one. Modern medical advances could prolong his life through a series of surgeries, but there would likely be consequences. Saving his heart came at the cost of a few other things. He needed thickened liquids to drink, he barely ate, he needed gtube feedings, his language and motor skills were behind, his body got tired quickly. 

He’s perfect, of course, it’s his body that needs a little help. This was going to be my selling point when I met Anna.

I stopped by for a tour of Kindercare on a day the power went out, and Anna still had a smile on her face. I had carefully constructed a speech in my head to convey my son’s needs without scaring her into thinking he might die under her roof, while also somehow telling her how amazing he was that investing in him would be worth it. And I had to admit my daughter needed to be hugged for 30 minutes by a teacher at drop off in order for her to feel secure. So not a needy family at all. I’d had lots of other tours at other daycares before.  Anna’s face was the only one whose smile didn’t fade when I mentioned a feeding tube. The only eyes that stayed focused on mine as I outlined what it would take from his teachers. I fell away from my carefully crafted speech.   I revealed details of our lives that were totally unnecessary. I shed a few tears. I took up way more time than her paper planner had lined out for me. And she hugged me in her perfect little well dressed arms and said they would do whatever it took. And I believed her.

My son landed in  Miss Shannon’s room, and the thing about Miss Shannon is that you always know what she’s thinking. Which is beautiful, and perfect for my son. I knew she wasn’t thrilled about the gtube. I’m not a fan of it myself, either. Forcing him to put on his own shoes as he cries because it’s hard?  Not easy, but totally necessary. Encouraging him to eat every.single.day.   Exasperating. Also necessary. Trying to deciper if he really does have to pee or he’s just trying to get out of writing?  This requires an advanced medical degree. But she did it.  And I think this is how I fell in love with Shannon. Because she was fighting my same battles with my exact same thoughts. And then, she got better than me. She got my son's friends to help him to eat. She got him to eat things at school that he won’t eat at home. She never let him get away with something other kids wouldn’t get by with. She advocated for him sticking up for himself, for him getting more and more independent. She was always paying attention. She put lotion on his dry hands, calmed him though dry heaving spells, and managed to see my lovely sweet boy through all that extra work. 

 And now my son has this crazy schedule where he gets off a bus at lunchtime and is at Kindercare in the afternoons. And Miss April, Miss Rachel, and Miss Anna all get him off the bus now. And I want to be the one to see him get off the bus, but I can’t, and they do such a wonderful job of telling me exactly what he looked like and what he talked about. On his first day,  they let him call me at work to talk to me when he got off the bus, and he had so much to say he could barely get the words out. In my absence, these girls still made it meaningful. 

 

And then there is my daughter. I prayed when I was pregnant with her that God would somehow see to it that she wouldn’t get overlooked in the chaos that surrounded my son's needs. And for those who know her, she refuses to get overlooked. Miss April is especially adept at getting her out of her onery moods when she’s giving you the “drop dead” look that is usually followed by high pitched yelling. Miss Nicole used to play Frozen songs, just for her (and probably every other girl in that class). Those teachers  potty trained my daughter, because I was going to wait until she was 10, (because who has time for that?), and they just asked one day if they could do it themselves. Yes, please. When Nicole got pregnant, I basically begged her to take my son's infant things.   We didn’t need them anymore, but it was hard for me to part with them. I had such strong emotions attached to everything. His crib was the only piece of furniture we bought before he came home. I didn’t want to have a room for a baby that never got to come home. And Miss Nicole had become like family; I entrusted her with what I held dear. And Miss Payton, well, I asked her some hard questions about her life, her brother, and she sat and talked to me, with tears streaming down our faces, about life. How beautiful and hard it all is. Kindercare is truly a place that just gets us.

And I’d like to mention my nephew. Because his teachers have always been so supportive of me coming in to see him. My visits are almost always ill timed, like right in the middle of story time, or the end of nap, and his teachers have never once acted irritated that I interrupted to give that little slugger a hug. I’m sure that’s annoying, but thanks for faking that it’s not. I remember when my daughter first started and my nephew and her were in the same class, fighting about who got to sit on my lap when I visited, and it was so disruptive to story time, but their  teachers just acted like it was so great that I was there. And when people are this kind to you, when they are this invested in your life, you love them.     

Like when I come in the front door and Anna and Rachel act like they have nothing better or more productive to do than listen to whatever drama I’m telling them about our lives. Or how Mr. Jerome always says “hey hey” to my daughter and points at her, and last week, she pointed BACK, and it was like she and Mr. Jerome had some secret language, and it was so so adorable. 

 So how can I not love you all as my own?  You are people that I look forward to seeing at the end of my day. People that I care about so much, it hurts when I don’t see you every day anymore. You are raising my children right next to me. What you do matters… And to their new sets of teachers, prepare for being my future besties.  

- Parent
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