Samantha Maldonado, Center Director
Meet Samantha Maldonado, Our Center Director
At KinderCare Since: 2006
Education: Bachelor's Degree in Human Development and Family Studies
Favorite Children's Book: Love You Forever
Meet Samantha Maldonado! She is the Center Director at Forest Crossing KinderCare in the Woodlands, Texas. She attended the University of Houston, where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She has been with KinderCare since 2006, and before that she worked in childcare and was a director. "Be Humble. Be Hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room." - Dwayne Johnson. Outside of work, Samantha loves cooking for family and friends, and spending time with her two dogs.
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.
Before- and After-School Programs (5–12 Years)
You can count on us to provide reliable care for your school-ager while you’re at work, with safe transportation from our center to your child’s school and back! Whether your child wants to start a drama club, build a volcano, or create a comic book, they will have a place to follow their dreams. Your child will start and end the day with a whole lot of fun!
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.
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.
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!
I have three children at Forest Crossing Kindercare. They have been here since they were each eight weeks old. From the very beginning, the staff at Kindercare made me feel comfortable leaving my little ones in their care at such a young age. You can truly see how affectionate and caring the teachers are with their students. There is no better proof than seeing your child running into school or not wanting to leave. My children are now six years old, four years old, and six months old, and they still love it. Ms. Jen and her staff have done a fantastic job of preparing them for kindergarten. The staff here go above and beyond to make you feel like you are part of their family. Thank you, ladies!
Elizabeth - KinderCare Parent
We entrusted the care of our three-month-old daughter to Forest Crossing KinderCare in January 2009. Our jobs required us to find an acceptable facility that opened early and stayed open late. We discovered KinderCare met all these qualifications and was convenient to our home. The staff gave our daughter attention and care as if she was their own. My daughter always was happy to get to daycare, and some days did not want to leave. The curriculum adopted by KinderCare encourages children to explore and learn while having a good time. The staff members are well-qualified and have positive attitudes, and even encourage the students and parents to join in activities similar to ones they will be doing when they go to public school (for example, wear your favorite college shirt, wear your pajamas, and dress up for Go Texan Day in your western wear, to mention a few). KinderCare offers extracurricular activities that children with working parents may not have the opportunity to participate in otherwise (i.e., dance, phonics, cooking, etc.). The fees were affordable and classes optional. My child was taught by a certified teacher for two years while in the prekindergarten program! Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc. were always encouraged to visit and were welcomed. KinderCare provided opportunities during the school year for parents and extended family to come into the facility for programs, parties, and for observations. The summer program is filled with fun activities and play. My daughter is now in kindergarten and the transition went smoothly. She is doing well and received the tools she needed for this next step in her education. She participates in the KinderCare before and after school program this year.
We and her extended family could not be more pleased and thankful for the wonderful caring people here who have taken such good care of our daughter.
Kelley - KinderCare Parent
My six-month-old attends the Forest Crossing KinderCare, and I am so lucky to have stumbled upon them! As a teacher and mother of two, I cannot stress enough how imperative it is to not have to worry about your children when you are at work. Every single morning when we walk in, we are immediately greeted warmly not only by his teachers, but by the entire staff. You can obviously tell that KinderCare is a great place to work because the teachers are always in good moods, no matter what time of day. They are all so energetic and positive. I also cannot believe how much they know about my child and his classmates. They tell you so much about my child's day that I feel as if I was right there with him! As a teacher, I rarely get a moment to myself throughout the day and my husband is only home on the weekends, which means we rely so much on my son's teachers. For my husband, knowing how wonderfully they take care of our child and seeing all the pictures of him that they give us truly puts him at ease when he's away. Also, the facility is extremely clean, bright, and filled with decorations from student photos. In my son's classroom, they even have pictures of the kids on rings that are "chew-proof" for them to explore. Again, just another example of how this school is student- and family-centered. I want to specifically express our family's gratitude towards Ms. Shawnee, Ms. Alyssa, Ms. Paige, Ms. Stephanie, and the Directors. These ladies are helping my family and I raise our baby boy, and this means the world to us. Yes, the building is beautiful, but these teachers are what makes KinderCare truly a thriving, loving atmosphere for children.”
Jennifer L. - KinderCare Parent
There are not enough words in the world to describe how wonderful Ms. Jennifer and the staff at Forest Crossing KinderCare are! My son is highly allergic to peanuts and eggs, and so they double check all packages before giving my son any food. Ms. Jennifer and the staff have made me feel so comfortable about leaving my son in their care. I have nothing but positive things to say about the staff at KinderCare at Forest Crossing!”
Cynthia - KinderCare Parent
The faculty and staff at Forest Crossing KinderCare are invested in the children under their supervision. My daughter feels like an essential part of the whole and is always treated with dignity and respect. We enjoy a wonderful relationship with the staff and teachers, and are looking forward to more great things to come.”
Daria - KinderCare Parent
We have been using the services at Kindercare Forest Crossing Center for seven years and it has been a wonderful experience. My child has been through great times and the staff has always been willing to work with me. His teachers always bring his accomplishments and triumphs to my attention. I have used them for full-time daycare services, summers, and before and after school. My child has fun, learns a lot, and engages his imagination on a daily basis. The school's extra classes add more to our experience. He comes home from cooking class ready to cook dinner for the family, and from Spanish class ready to speak to me in Spanish as much as he can. KinderCare has been our partner and makes sure that my child knows he is very special.
Susan - KinderCare Parent
What an amazing atmosphere for children! Ms. Jen and Ms. Winna are incredible and provide a safe, fun environment for all of the children where learning happens every day! Our daughter loved the Infant Classroom and gets incredibly excited to visit the Toddler Classroom! The entire team of teachers is passionate about what they do.”
Ryan - KinderCare Parent
My children have been part of the KinderCare family for more than 10 years. My daughter was in Phonics with Ms. LuLu when she was four years old, and she was reading before she even started kindergarten. My son is now in prekindergarten with Ms. Donita – he loves it! His favorite thing he has learned is counting by fives! He is more than ready to start kindergarten!
Jennifer - KinderCare Parent
Forest Crossing KinderCare is a home away from home for my two daughters. The entire staff is friendly, welcoming, and truly care about the well-being of not only my children, but all the children they care for. The center's summer program offers fun on-site and off-site field trips that my daughters enjoy. They are always excited to go to KinderCare and see their friends and teachers.”
Meagan - KinderCare Parent
Forest Crossing KinderCare has been like family since our daughter started attending in 2013. We relocated to Texas due to a job opportunity. Up until that point, our daughter was being cared for by our grandmother; so this was an extremely huge adjustment for her. Our daughter moved with us away from our entire family and everything she knew. The staff at KinderCare showed our family such care and concern, and helped make this adjustment possible. They took our daughter in and treated her as if she was one of their own children. Our daughter was so shy when she first started going, but now you can't get her to leave for the day. She loves it there and we know this is because of how well they treat her and the rest of the children. We love the staff at Kindercare; without them, we would not have made this adjustment. We can't thank them enough for their love and support.
The McQueens - KinderCare Parent
My girls (ages three and five) love Forest Crossing KinderCare! They look forward to going to school and are always happy when I pick them up at the end of the day. The staff is warm and caring. We appreciate how flexible they are with our unpredictable schedule.
Jodi - KinderCare Parent
We made a big move to a new home, new town, and new state, and wanted to be sure that our children had a safe, loving, and enriching place to call their new school. We found that place when we came to Forest Crossing KinderCare. After visiting a couple of other schools in the area, we felt like the schools were all fairly similar and offered their own perks and benefits, but we left each one feeling like something was missing. When we visited KinderCare, we felt an overwhelming sense of welcome and immediately noticed the attention and focus that the teachers and staff gave the children. We knew that this would be our boys’ new school. With Forest Crossing KinderCare, we know that the boys are getting the love and attention that they need to feel secure while they learn, play, and grow, and that means the world to our family.”
Emily - KinderCare Parent
The staff at Forest Crossing KinderCare love my kids as if they were their own.”
Jason - KinderCare Parent
The teachers genuinely love the children. They individualize their approach when teaching because they know not all kids learn at the same pace or in the same way.”
Jeanette - KinderCare Parent
My children have been attending KinderCare Forest Crossing for over three years. We love all of our teachers! My daughter is in first grade and constantly surprises her teachers at how well she does in school. My son is three and was recently able to pass a kindergarten entrance test! I attribute my children's success to Forest Crossing KinderCare--the staff here are so great with their students and teach them in a loving environment. Ms. Jenn and Ms. Winna are wonderful at what they do. I highly recommend KinderCare to anyone looking for a home away from home for their children!”
Ginger - 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.