Jennifer Rees, Center Director
Meet Jennifer Rees, Our Center Director
At KinderCare Since: 1997
Education: Bachelor's Degree, Elementary Education Teaching Certification
Favorite Children's Book: Little Women
Meet Jennifer Rees! She is the Center Director at Downtown KinderCare in Pittsburgh, PA. Jennifer attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she earned a Bachelor's Degree in Developmental Psychology. She has been with KinderCare since 1997 and has an Elementary Education Teaching certification. Every day, Jennifer looks forward to helping children discover their true potential. "Children are apt to live up to what you believe of them." – Lady Bird Johnson. Outside of work, Jennifer enjoys reading, going to movies, and trying new restaurants. She also loves going to the pool and traveling to new places with her family.
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.
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.
Kindergarten Programs (5–6 Years)
Welcome to kindergarten: the gateway to grade school and everything that comes next! Offered in select centers, our kindergarten programs have small class sizes and curriculums that mix learning and fun. The basic building blocks of reading, writing, math, and science are key in kindergarten, so we make sure they get lots of practice in all of these areas.
Interactive Kindergarten (5–6 Years)
Kindergarten is a critical year for young learners. Experienced KinderCare teachers will tap into your child’s natural curiosity to help get them even more prepared for elementary school. Our engaging lessons make the most of current technology while offering plenty of hands-on play and exploration.
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.
Participating Child Care Aware Center
KinderCare partners with Child Care Aware® of America to offer fee assistance for Active Duty military families and flexible support to fit their needs when care at a Child Development Center on the installation is not available.
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!
Our son has participated in a number of Learning Adventures courses, including Music, Cooking, Phonics and Math. He has thoroughly enjoyed each different adventure. He started his adventures with Music when he turned two years old and loved getting to sing, dance, and play musical instruments in the small group setting. He has become quite the little performer and will sing, dance, or play his drums for anyone who will watch and listen any chance he gets. He also enjoyed all of the special treats he got to help make in Cooking and constantly asks to help measure and mix ingredients when we cook at home.
He currently participates in Phonics and Math and loves the one on one time he gets to spend with Miss Megan learning all of the letters of the alphabet in Phonics and learning different ways to sort things in Math. At the end of the day, he is always so proud to share what he has learned in class.
The Learning Adventures program has been a wonderful experience for our son. He seems to thrive in the small class setting and is always excited to learn new things.”
Holly - KinderCare Parent
We have been a part of the KinderCare world since May of 2003. Initially, we were apprehensive about our child care options, so we took much thought and time in making the decision. Many factors went into our selection; convenience was one but not a top priority. Upon visiting Downtown KinderCare, we discovered that the staff was warm, friendly, and very empathetic to this crazy, overprotective, felt guilt ridden, and emotional new mom. You were patient with the hovering and forgetful new dad as well.
Now, here we are 10 years later. You have cared, loved, and nurtured two of the most precious people in our lives. As a result, we are eternally grateful. Although I am still a crazy, overprotective, guilt ridden and emotional mom while Jon still is forgetful, you have made me less crazy, guilt ridden and less emotional. I have let out some of the string on my kite, but I have a hard time believing I will ever be able to let go of my parental instincts completely.
In these 10 years, a lot of teachers have come and gone, but the quality of teachers and the sizes of their hearts have remained the same. We have a special place in our hearts for many of the teachers and always will. They have helped ensure that my boys feel cared for and loved.
It is going to be bittersweet when we say goodbye at the end of the summer. We will not missing the check each week, but it has been worth every penny! Wish us luck on our children's' new adventure! We will keep you all in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers as you all journey onto new adventures as well.
Also, a special thank you to Ms. Britney, Ms. Q, Ms. Meghan, Ms. Jennifer, Ms. Tia, Ms. Melissa, Ms. Jenn and so many others! There are too many to list. We truly appreciate everything!”
Kelly and Jonathan - KinderCare Parent
It is with heavy hearts that we write this letter to you. Today will be our children's last day at KinderCare USS. After four years of wonderful times it is extremely difficult to move our children to KinderCare North Hills. You all have grown to be part of our family. Our children are so lucky to have had such wonderful people caring for them, teaching them, and loving them. We have always felt comfortable each day knowing that you had our babies and that they were being so well cared for. Please know that there are not enough words to thank you for all that you have done each day for our children and for the peace of mind we had each day going to work. I am sure that the staff at the new center will be great, but you will always hold a special place in our hearts as you were the first to care for our children. How do you thank the people who helped make your children the beautiful people they are becoming? There are no words or gestures big enough. So...here are some smiles for you. We wish we could give back all of the smiles that you gave us each day, the smiles on our children's faces when they talk about school, and the smiles we had on our faces knowing they had the best care and teaching possible!”
The Durbin Family - KinderCare Parent
I am writing to say how happy I am with your downtown location. My son (20 months old) has been attending since Mid-March. We were delighted to so quickly get a spot (on the waiting list since January). I am a university professor who relocated to Pittsburgh without any family or close friend connections, and I have had quite a bit of anxiety about finding a daycare and a location that give me peace. Your downtown location is perfect in so many ways. It is barely two miles away from our downtown, waterfront apartment, and I pass the Steel Building on my way to work. I cannot commend Kinder Care enough for its flexibility, which is probably one of the most important things to me. We travel a lot. My son and I took eight flights between September and January due to my conference schedule, holidays spent in my hometown in Virginia, vacation, and visiting his godmother. Your policy that permits me to shift his weekly schedule (he is 3-day part-time right now) and that give a two-week yearly benefit of a half-fee vacation rate are greatly appreciated. Also, the ability to temporarily withdraw, which we will do for approximately two months of the summer while we travel, is so important. The staff has been awesome. The Director, Melissa, is friendly, always concerned, and flexible, and his teachers are so pleasant, attentive, concerned, and helpful that I have great peace about my son's care in a "strange city." Ms. Kianna, Ms. Nina, Ms. Patty, Ms. Kelly (as well as Ms. Linda occasionally and one other staffer whose name I forget) really helped out a lot with my son's first couple of weeks of separation anxiety. He would cry when I dropped him off, but they quickly distracted him. I watched through the corner of the window, and each time, they calmed him down in less than 20 seconds. I was so relieved. He gets excellent practice walking beside me based on the twice daily playground visit. The executive location of the facility is teaching the children subtle things about patience and order (walking the corridors, waiting on the elevator, etc.). I have been amused by the small things he is learning--like saying "thank you" much more frequently, saying "Wheeeeee" while on the swingset, saying "High five," and having excellent timing and gestures for the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." Since we are part-time, he misses the alphabet emphasis days, but I work with him at home on this regularly. My son caught Hand and Mouth disease his first week there. I was a little startled, but appreciated the staff's support for the children and the families as this common disease made its rounds at the facility. I wondered what measures they were taking to clean and disinfect, but my question was answered as I arrived early one day to see the room cleaned thoroughly in the middle of the day while the children were at the playground. The staff also showed me their quarantine attempts, which was very nice even though I understand that we cannot control these type of childhood ailments. Last week I finally got a call (after a year) that the Jewish Community Center in Squirrel Hill has a spot for my son in the fall. With the mandatory $90 per month JCC membership, the price is equivalent. I declined the offer because I am very satisfied with his experience at the downtown KinderCare. The staff is amazing. The curriculum is awesome (I see the postings for the next level class that my son will begin in the fall at age two), and the sense of community is very high and very sincere. I like the open spaces of learning wherein the classes seem to overlap a little in public space. I am very impressed with the diversity of the students and the staff--with respect to culture/ethnicity, class, and gender. My son bit three students in one day about two weeks ago. I was a little alarmed at first, but your staff handled it with high finesse. It was an isolated incident likely due to pacifier changes in my son's life and a really busy 24 hours for me. I think he detected that Mommy was mentally somewhere else. The staff gave me an information handout and was NOT alarmed or labeling. The Director did not even mention the episode, which was awesome because it demonstrated that Kinder Care is not alarmist and overreacting to some of the normal behaviors of children. I am satisfied on so many levels, and not even realizing that this is a week to celebrate caretakers, I was compelled to give the Melissa a compliment. I am so glad she directed me to you so that I could share, in-depth. Keep up the good work!”
Christel T. - KinderCare Parent
Good morning Ms. Jennifer & Ms. Melissa ~ As you both know, my son, PJ, turned four years old not long ago. Four years. Not so many; not so few. As you might imagine, his birthday jogged many memories from the time he was born until present day, which brings me to this note. PJ started at KC when he was four months old. He was a blanketed bundle of binkie and blue socks the first time I walked into the school, skeptically investigating every inch of the Infant Room for traces of dust or sharp corners. Of course, neither were there. That was four years ago. PJ is now in the Prekindergarten class, looking forward to a KC Kindergarten program this Fall. In four years time, I have come to know all of his classroom teachers, administrators, and Learning Adventures instructors; each has been exemplary. Hands down. Their consistency is remarkable. Daily, I am offered information and knowledge about my son's activities, appetite, missteps and triumphs. I am advised of his meal choices, likes, dislikes, growth and socialization. He is consistently challenged every day in nearly every facet of his life: educational, scholastic, creative, intellectual, social, verbal, emotional, logical, and psychological. His classes have taught so much more than colors, shapes and calendar dates. His learning experience is real and obvious every time he tells a story at dinner, opens a book and sounds out words, chooses a Show-n-Tell item the night before class, and searches for rectangular prisms in our home. All things experienced and encouraged at KC. Their caring is undeniable. These people know my child. They know his favorite color; his favorite stuffed animal; his favorite super hero. They know his friends, they cultivate his relationships and teach him how to make more. They remind him to make good choices and provide examples to emulate throughout the day. You do not have to look very far to find good character, kind acts or compassion at KC. They're all there, in abundance. Their commitment is clear. To offer students every good thing they can in the time they share. That's it. It's simple. They want your child to succeed; to triumph, whether it's drawing a circle; counting to 50; knowing his letters; reading books; writing his name; eating healthy; exercising; brushing teeth; singing songs; or playing games. These people take it to the next level, raising an already incredibly high bar. Every day. My husband and I are beyond pleased that our son is excited to go to school each morning. If that's not enough, we're equally delighted at the end of each day, when he's just as excited to come home and tell a tale of a day well spent. In sum, we are a KinderCare family. All of us. Every day. My husband, my son, myself, the teachers, and the administrators; and that's the highest compliment I can pay. With sincerity and admiration for all you've done ~ Patricia R.D.”
Patricia R.D. - KinderCare Parent
I am pleased to write this letter on behalf of Ms. Jennifer- my daughter’s teacher. I have spent countless hours in a classroom setting with various teachers in my life time. One thing is very clear about teachers like Jennifer she is dedicated, hardworking, honest,respectful,energetic. These types of people are very special and very hard to come by. These are the types of people that leave everything on the field, give 150% of their time and effort to the people that matter. Before entering my daughter in to the school I personally had a very difficult decision to make for my daughters education. After touring the facility I could say that it was a good fit. One of the ultimate decision makers that carried weight with Toni and I was Jennifer. The first 1 minute 30 seconds into the conversation I knew that she was the perfect teacher. The skills and tactfulness that she uses to teach the children is unheard of. My child had only spent less than a week at the center and is already speaking Spanish. If this is not impressive I’m not sure what would be. Personally I think each and every person in this world could count on one hand the teachers that really touched their lives. I know of three. If there is some kind of recommendation or some type of award or any kind of incentive that you could give her teacher would be amazing, she deserves it. I have yet to witness her frown after a long day at work; you can tell that is hard work. Not once have I seen her give up. Not once have I heard her say "I am unable to reach your child". Looking at your establishment all of the teachers do a great job, I think they are all amazing and warriors. Warriors in a special way doing battle against the forces of nature to reach the children. Jennifer sticks out in her own special way. It’s hard to explain unless you have personally experienced her kind words and brilliant intellect for yourself. In closing I would like to say, Jennifer is an excellent teacher you should be honored to have such a great person working for your establishment. People like her do not exist anymore, most are just looking for a paycheck. A tool is useless by itself, it’s just a tool. But put the tool in the right hands it can accomplish many of things.
Thanks for changing my daughter;s life and mine.”
Aubrey C. - 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.