Kids’ Corner and YMCA Announces Strategic Partnership

Children and childcare providers and YMCA members take off on the Healthiest State Walk

Children and childcare providers and YMCA members take off on the Healthiest State Walk

Oskaloosa, Iowa—The Kid’s Corner Child Care Center and the Mahaska County YMCA announced today they are merging child care and preschool services for children birth to school age using existing facilities. The new program will be called the “Mahaska Early Learning Program.” It is a program managed by the YMCA with oversight from both the Y and Kids’ Corner Board of Directors.

The two care providers have built a strong collaborative partnership over the past five years, with the vision of building a new early childhood center together and merging when that facility opened.

The facility design is complete, but the partners postponed fundraising and construction to focus on building stronger staff relationships and programs. While the facility planning was underway, the Y and Kids’ Corner teams explored how a merger might work through resource-sharing and working together for several years.

Steps Toward a Partnership

“At first, our teachers attended training together. You would see Y staff at one table and Kids’ Corner at the other,” observed Sandra Voss, retired Kids’ Corner executive director. “Then, classes went on field trips together. This helped us a lot, because we don’t have a bus for transportation. It also gave staff a chance to get to know each other more.”

In fall 2012 Kids Corner and the Y merged a 4-year old preschool classroom. The Oskaloosa Community School District gave the perfect opportunity by allowing Kids’ Corner to move their four-year-old preschool classroom to the Webster Building and allowed the two to offer child care on-site before and after preschool. This service is known as wrap-around care because child care and preschool wrap around each other eliminating the need for parents to provide pick-up during mid-day.

The Kids Corner and Y established an ad-hoc committee to oversee the development of the plans last summer. The wrap-around child care room serves families with youth in Transition Kindergarten, Preschool, and Head Start by ensuring on-site child care is available before and after these programs.

Building on Successes

“The enrollment in the room was as high as 36 children in the first trimester at any given time. After the Transition Kindergarteners began having full-time days, our child care enrollment declined slightly. We are now serving about 30 children in the room,” said Debbie Cummings, YMCA child care director. “I am very pleased with the quality of the care we are providing together in the wrap-around room. We had to put together a lot of moving pieces to make it happen in a short amount of time.”

The successes of the collaborations combined with Voss’s recent retirement were compelling reasons to consider additional opportunities for collaborations. Both organizations will maintain their identity and work together. Kids’ Corner will not replace Sandra’s position. The savings in administrative costs by our working together will result in better benefits and professional development for our staff.

“Sandra is irreplaceable,” said Nathan Lindsay. “We wanted to honor her with actualizing at least part of her vision before she left. We are committed to making the new facility a reality.” Partnership details are still in development.

“The staff began implementing the transition in August,” Lindsay stated. “Most families and children have seen very few changes in the classrooms. We have worked through most of details with the transition and are ready for families to tour our facilities and learn about the positive changes we have made.”

For more information about the partnership or to enroll in care with one of the organizations, please contact Debbie Cummings at the YMCA (673.8411) or Amy Bunker at Kids’ Corner in University Park (673.7409).

Posted by on Nov 17 2013. Filed under Local Businesses, Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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