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Kids Next Door opens doors

By Staff | May 30, 2014

Tim Chapman/PCT Sophie Sjol, right, plays with her mother, Kiki Sjol, at the grand opening of Kids Next Door on Wednesday.

It didn’t take long for Kids Next Door, the Heart of America Medical Center’s new daycare, to make an impression on youngsters. At the grand opening on Wednesday one HAMC employee asked her toddler, as he played with toy trucks, if he wanted to go home. That mother received an emphatic, “No!”

“I’m trying to get him to go but we haven’t made it there yet,” said another mother, HAMC nursing assistant Andrea Foster. Her son, Skyler, 5, was eager to test out all the toys the facility had to offer.

Kids Next Door opens Monday for HAMC and Haaland Estates employees as a daycare center for their kids. The facility is on the lower two floors of the renovated old nurses dorm. It houses four rooms for children, two bathrooms per room, two kitchens, an office and reception desk, and it can accommodate up to 59 children.

The rooms are furnished for different age groups. The first floor has an infant room for children 6 weeks to 18 months, and a toddler room for children ages 2 to 3. The second floor has a room for preschoolers, ages 3 to 5, and another room for children between 5 and 12 years. Each room has an assortment of new toys and furniture for the kids. The school age room even has a Wii console for the kids.

“I’m really proud of this and it’s turning out nice,” director Lyndsey Graner said. “I’m really excited to start. You hear some of the older staff say, ‘I wish I had this when my kids were growing up.’ “

The reception by the hospital employees was also good. Foster said: “It’s convenient. It was really hard to find daycare that would open at 5 in the morning. I like the new space. I think there’ll be more learning and he’ll get to use his imagination. I like it.”

Kids Next Door also has ideas for in-town field trips, such as taking the toddlers and preschoolers to the summer reading program, and taking the school age kids to swimming lessons.

The daycare’s hours are from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Monday through Friday and 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

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