Where a person spends their time makes them who they are. Atmosphere and activities are certainly an important consideration when selecting a daycare. Other contributing factors, such as convenience, affordability and operating hours compound the complexity of this decision. To select a daycare parents and guardians feel good sending their child to, it’s helpful to explore the distinctions between centers in their area. Northeast Kansas City has several daycare options, including Children’s Choice Too, Della Lamb, Early StART and Whatsoever Community Center.
Della Lamb and Early StART care for children as young as six weeks up until five years, while Whatsoever Community Center’s preschool program cares for ages two up to six years. Their infant/toddler program is currently being reestablished. Children’s Choice Too includes a large range of ages, four months to 13 years.
The daycares all provide breakfast, lunch and snacks for the children, though none provide transportation to and from their facility. They each operate Monday through Friday. Della Lamb and Early StART have hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Whatsoever Community Center extends from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Children’s Choice Too has the longest hours, ranging from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Payment assistance options are available for low-income families. At Early StART, those who qualify can receive full or partial coverage of enrollment costs through the Mid-America Regional Council Head Start program. At Della Lamb, those who qualify for subsidized fees can receive assistance through the Missouri Department of Family Services. Whatsoever Community Center also accepts state assistance.
Each daycare varies in its mission for the children.
“At EarlyStART, our distinctive approach blends the Creative Curriculum with the Arts, sparking each child’s innate curiosity,” explained Rhonda Mays, Early StART’s Director of Family and Community Engagement. “We encourage creative expression and foster each child’s social competence, support learning through play, and forge strong home-school connections.”
More information can be found on EarlyStART’s website, earlystartkc.org.
Whatsoever Community Center incorporates “the development of social skills as well as scholastic preparation for our student’s transition to the public school system,” according to its website.
Della Lamb’s website details that they “provide quality education, child care, nutrition, nurturing and supplemental services in preparation for kindergarten.”
They note that many of their families are refugees and immigrants.
“We invite you to tour,” Cori Wallace, the Engagement Director from Della Lamb, said. “Reach out to our Program Director, Mrs. LaTrecia Thornton at firstname.lastname@example.org, and add yourself to our waiting list by visiting dellalamb.org/earlyed.”
Children’s Choice Too daycare provides a window into its environment on its Facebook page.
“My biggest goal is to ensure each child truly knows they are special, loved, and can do whatever they set their minds to as they grow up,” Joanna Restivo, the owner and director, shared.
The children work on developmental motor skills and milestones and prepare for kindergarten by learning in both English and Spanish. Restivo emphasized they take a “holistic child-focused approach that encourages children to develop emotionally, socially, physically, and cognitively at their own pace.”
Beyond daycare options, before and after school care within the Kansas City Public School District (KCPS) varies from school to school. KCPS partners with the Local Investment Commission (LINC) to operate before and after care.
LINC provides services that support children and families while allowing district staff to carry out their responsibilities of educating students, according to its website, kclinc.org/kcps. Schools that offer care through LINC can be viewed on a map accessed through the LINC website. Transportation is not provided.
Families can reach out to the childcare program closest to them, or most in alignment with their needs, with further inquiries.