The Ottumwa Courier


May 3, 2013

Combined effort generates more day care options

YMCA, Seton, school district joining forces to launch programs to fill child care gap


"We aren't in the business of day care, but we are in the business of child development," Eidahl said. "We sat at the table for this because 4-year-old child development is a key component of our strategic plan to ensure we graduate each and every child prepared for a successful post-secondary transition. It all starts early."

The district will also launch an all-day, free "Kindergarten prep class" this fall for those 5-year-olds with late summer birthdays who don't qualify for Kindergarten.

"We run into many students with late birthdays that don't qualify for preschool funding, yet they aren't quite ready for Kindergarten," Eidahl said. "This would be a transition in between the two."

In addition to these new programs, the school district will continue to offer its longstanding Prime Time Youth Care program, where working parents can drop off their children as early as 6 a.m. and pick them up as late as 6 p.m.

Schuttlefield said there is also another group of people "working to start a day care center in September," though she could not name them as they are still in preliminary planning stages.

"I've been really pleased with how our existing centers have stepped up," she said. "The Y, Seton, the school district — they're doing what they can, and they are truly caring for our children."

Indian Hills' Small Business Development Center will give those wanting to start a day care consultations and business planning. A free class on how to start a day care will be held 7-8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Advanced Technology Center.

"If there are people in the community thinking they're interested but not sure if they can do it, they will — free of charge — help you do that," she said. "They'll help with your business plan, give you advice and suggestions and teach you what certifications you need. We do need more people to open up some quality day care. The need for quality day care continues, because there are people who are trying to expand, but then they're going to reach full capacity, and we'll have a need greater than that."

For more information on the class, call Bryan Ziegler at 641-683-5127 or Kelly Gale at 641-683-4278.



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