Nefeli Mckinney, Center Director
Ages: 6 weeks to 12 years
Elementary Schools Bussed To:
Center does not provide transportation. Parents are responsible for providing transporation (Center directs parents needing transportation to Children's Transit Express - speak with Karen 773-487-1066)
Our center is accredited by NAEYC.
Meet Nefeli Mckinney, Our Center Director
At KinderCare Since: 2018
Favorite Children's Book: I'll Love You Forever
Meet Nefeli Mckinney! She is the Center Director at South Loop KinderCare in Chicago, Illinois. Nefeli attended National Louis University, Triton College, and Rasmussen University. She has been with KinderCare since 2018, and before that she was an assistant director. Outside of work, she enjoys music, and in spending time with her family. "Every child needs a champion."
AMERICA’S MOST ACCREDITED
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.
South Loop KinderCare Programs
Infant Programs (6 weeks–1 year)
Leaving your baby in someone else’s care is a big step. Everyone at our centers—most importantly, our naturally gifted infant teachers—will work with you to make sure the transition goes smoothly. When you step into our infant classroom, you’ll see how much we want your infant to feel safe, loved, and ready to explore their world.
Toddler Programs (1–2 Years)
Everything in our toddler classroom is designed for little explorers. That’s because a lot is going on at this age. When your child is wandering all over the place, that means they’re learning and discovering new things every day. We’ll help them explore their interests (and find new ones!) as they play and learn.
Discovery Preschool Programs (2–3 Years)
This age is filled with so much wonder and curiosity. That’s why we offer a ton of books and toys and bring artwork down to kids eye level. Children in discovery preschool also begin to learn how we all work together in a classroom. Simple math and science, pretend play, and group play help them get used to a more structured school setting.
Preschool Programs (3–4 Years)
This age is all about expression, when kids really start to form their own ideas about what they want to play and how they want to create. Every day in our preschool classroom, your child will explore science experiments, create artwork, and play pretend—all the skills needed for their big next step: kindergarten!
Prekindergarten Programs (4–5 Years)
When you walk into one of our pre-K classrooms, you’ll see artwork and writing displayed around the room. Labels are everywhere to help kids connect letters with words. You’ll also see pictures on the walls that reflect the families in our community. Your child will also deepen their knowledge in language, math, science, Spanish, and social skills.
School Break Programs (preschool, prekindergarten, and school-age)
Winter break, spring break, summer break—when school’s out (but you still need to work), you can count on KinderCare to provide a safe and supportive learning environment that’s focused on fun. We welcome children ages 5–12 during school break times and make sure they have a sensational, screen-free experience they won’t forget.
Elementary School Distance Learning
Healthy bodies, happy hearts, growing minds. We make distance learning easy on your whole family! Our teachers are trained to facilitate safe and dynamic learning experiences online and in-person. Since every school has their own learning plan, we’ve added flexible enrollment options to meet your family’s needs. Whether you choose to enroll full-time, part-time, or before and after school, we’re here for you!
Learning Adventures - Enrichment Program
Cooking Academy™ (3 – 12 Years)
In Cooking Academy, kids learn new recipes from cultures around the world and develop a healthy relationship with food. They’ll whip up everything from Southwest rainbow lettuce wraps to pumpkin muffins, building their skills in STEM, communication, and more along the way. And yes—little chefs get to eat their culinary creations!
Music Explorers™ (2 – 4 Years)
KinderCare families are already giving a standing ovation to our newest Learning Adventures program: Music Explorers! Kids will learn to sing, move, listen, play instruments, and even create their own tunes. Our original curriculum blends math, science, social studies, literacy, and mindfulness (think yoga!) for a uniquely KinderCare way of learning the foundations of music.
Phonics Adventures® (2 – 4 Years)
Learning how to read is a whole lot of fun at KinderCare! We help kids grow to love books and words (and get ready for kindergarten) in our Phonics Adventures program. From discovering the basics of vowels to practicing poetry, kids learn all about letters and sounds in small-group lessons made just for their age group. (Bonus: Kids who attend our phonics program are more prepared than their peers for school—and we have the data to prove it.)
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 to develop vocabulary and conversation skills. Curriculum includes lessons on greetings, numbers, colors, animals, family, body parts, and pets, as well as how to engage conversationally during common scenarios at home, a restaurant, or at the zoo.
STEM Innovators (3-8 Years)
You’ve probably heard a lot about how important STEM education is for your child, but what does that really mean? Our STEM Innovators program takes kids’ natural ability to make sense of the world and applies it to robotics, chemistry, coding, geology, and more. While your child experiments, they’ll discover how to use technology to do amazing things!
We're the only company in early childhood education to select teachers based on natural talent. Being a great educator isn't enough though. KinderCare teachers are also amazing listeners, nurturers, boo-boo fixers, and smile-makers. Put more simply, we love our teachers and your child will, too.
Meet just a few of our amazing KinderCare teachers!
A KINDERCARE TEACHER WITH
An Artist's Heart
"My classroom is full of art!” says Mary Annthipie-Bane, an award-winning early childhood educator at KinderCare. Art and creative expression, she says, help children discover who they really are.
We put our best-in-class teachers in a best-in-class workplace. We're so proud to have been named one of Gallup's 37 winners of the Great Workplace Award. When you put great teachers in an engaging center, your children will experience an amazing place to learn and grow.
Don't take our word for it. Hear what our families have to say about our amazing center!
We enrolled our son in South Loop KinderCare when he was three months old. We have always been amazed at his connection with his teachers, at his closeness with his peers, and especially at how much he has learned! Our second child was born with Downs Syndrome. After our experience with our son and speaking with the center director, we were sure South Loop KinderCare would be the right choice for her as well. It truly has been. We have been thrilled with the relationships she has developed with her teachers and grateful for all of the support they give her development. We couldn't be happier with our choice to send our children to KinderCare.”
Kelley V. - KinderCare Parent
We enrolled our daughter Emma at 3 months in 2006. Her experience at KinderCare was nothing short of amazing. She had fantastic teachers along the way and her academic achievements at KinderCare allowed her (and several of her classmates) to test into a selective enrollment schools here in Chicago. We were so pleased with the success of her early childhood development that we enrolled our son Maddon when he was 3 months in 2011. His experience has been just as amazing and has even had many of the same teachers that Emma previously did. Thank you KinderCare for being an important part of our children’s educational and social development.”
Jim C - KinderCare Parent
It is hard to put into words how wonderful this center is. I am a pediatric nurse who sees how accidents happen on a daily basis. So when I had my first child, the idea of sending her to be cared for by others was terrifying to me. However, from the moment I walked into this center on my first tour, I knew it would be a great fit. As soon as we walked into the classroom, the children ran up calling him name and hugging him. As a mother, to see this response to the assistant director who doesn’t spend the whole day with the children showed me what a warm and caring environment this is. That, amongst other positive experiences on the tour convinced me to sign her up that day. She started attending KinderCare in January 2013 and I haven’t looked back since. My second daughter now attends and I could not put into words how much I love having her there. There are so many things I could say about KinderCare, but this would be a novel if I did. The most important thing I can say is I truly feel my daughter is cared for in a safe, nurturing, clean environment with people who are in her words “my best friends.””
Courtney J - KinderCare Parent
“My 5 year old daughter has gone to South Loop Kindercare since she was three months old and our experience has been so positive. The teachers and staff have been patient, engaged and supportive and my daughter has formed attachments to many of them. In fact, she will be attending kindergarten in the fall and I am very sad that that era of her life is ending. When we first enrolled her at the South Loop Kindercare we were very nervous as new parents should be, but I always tell people we got really lucky about how well it all turned out. Remember, no one is ever going to care for your child exactly the way you do, but the staff at KinderCare have definitely cared for my child in a way I appreciate.””
Andie C. - KinderCare Parent
“My daughter has gone there for the past 18 months and the changes in her are dramatic for the positive. We had a nanny before and decided to put her some place with interaction with other kids. The front staff is amazing. They are not fake or phony. They have always gone the extra mile. I have even called to ask them to measure her so I could figure out what tickets I needed to order for an event I was taking her to and they did it right away. If that is not amazing I don't know what is. I love South Loop KinderCare!””
Brigitte R. - KinderCare Parent
Darcy, I wanted to let you know that my son and I think of you and all the ladies at KinderCare often. I could never tell you how much we appreciated the care and attention that he received at the South Loop KinderCare. It saddens me to know that when we have a second child, he or she won't be able to have the same experience. -Laura, Parent of infant that moved away”
Laura B. - KinderCare Parent
My youngest son is attending Poe Classical and my oldest is attending Lenart -- both schools are selective enrollment schools in CPS. We know the wonderful care and education they received at KinderCare contributed to their readiness for accelerated classes. They both continue to be honor roll students and are avid readers. -Kim, mother of two boys who attended South Loop KinderCare for a period of six years”
Kim C. - KinderCare Parent
For the Wonderful KinderCare Staff and Teachers:
Gosh, it's hard to even know where to begin in expressing our appreciation for all that you have done for Kayla and Connor during their time at KinderCare. (And, we had to type this because trying to express these thoughts in person would have been far too tearful).
From the first day we brought Kayla here (when she was four months old), we were met with warmth, care and concern. KinderCare has been a place where our children have learned to roll over, to crawl, to sit up, to walk, to eat solid foods, to talk, to feed themselves, to write, to count, to drink out of a cup, to use the potty (well, almost), to push elevator buttons, to do art projects, to appreciate music and many more. But, more importantly, they have learned how to make friends, to use their imaginations, to show concern for others, to love, to place nicely with others, to use their manners and to be confident in their abilities. So many milestones have happened within these walls and so many lesson that they will carry with them forever.
There are really no words to describe the feeling you have, as a parent, when you know that your child is in a place where they are well cared for and look forward to going every day. That fear and guilt of handing over our most precious gifts each day is immense. But, hearing the enthusiasm with which they tell us about what they did during the day and seeing the smiles on their faces when they are with their teachers and friends (and the occasional groan that we showed up too early for pick-up), is constant reassurance of us having made the right choice in sending them to KinderCare.
We're sure there are many times when it may feel like a thankless job, but we just wanted you to knowhow incredibly valuable the work you do is each day and how much of a difference you are making in people's lives. Even though we will no longer see you every day (just during school breaks), you will always hold a special place in our hearts. Thank you again for all you do!”
Carlene K. - KinderCare Parent
Who Are KinderCare Families?
They hail from hundreds of cities across the country from countless backgrounds, and proudly represent every walk in life. What our families have in common, though, is the want to give their children the best start in life. We are so proud to be their partner in parenting.
Hear from just a few of our amazing KinderCare families.
A Globe-Trotting Family Finds A
Home in Houston
Four young children, four different passports, two languages, two full-time jobs…oh, and a few triathlons thrown in for good measure. Meet the globe-trotting Colettas—a family on the go.
Frequently Asked Questions
What accreditations does KinderCare have?
We are your trusted caregiver. Our centers are state-licensed and regularly inspected to make sure everything meets or exceeds standards, including child-to-teacher ratios and safe facilities. Our centers aren’t just licensed—most are accredited, too! Find out more.
Do you offer part-time schedules at South Loop KinderCare?
Everybody’s schedule is different. When the unexpected arises, KinderCare ensures you have access to reliable childcare in a pinch. We’re happy to offer quality, affordable part-time and drop-in childcare—you’re always covered with KinderCare.
How does naptime work at South Loop KinderCare?
Our teachers meet every child’s needs during naptime. Our teachers know how to get babies to nap. In fact, they are pros at getting children of any age to nap. Visit our article on "10 Ways We Help Kids Get a Great Daycare Nap" to learn more.
Do you support alternative diets?
We strive to be as inclusive as possible. To that point, we provide a vegetarian option at mealtime, take care to not serve common allergens and can adapt menus based on your child’s food sensitivities. If your child has additional needs, we’ll work with you to figure out a plan.
Are meals included in tuition? Can I choose to send my child with lunch?
We provide nutritious meals and snacks developed by a registered dietician to meet the needs of rapidly growing bodies and minds. If your child has special dietary requirements and you would prefer to bring in their lunch, please make arrangements with the center director.
Does my child need to be potty-trained?
Every child begins toilet learning at a different age. Until your child shows an interest in toilet learning, we’ll provide diaper changes on an as-needed basis. When your child shows an interest, we'll discuss how to work together to encourage toilet learning.