Greetings Katie’s Kids families!
I am thrilled to have celebrated 14 years of high quality care in our community! I am often asked, “What made you decide to open your own childcare center?” This is an easy one….I LOVE CHILDREN! More than that, I had a father who believed in my passion and love of children. While attending Illinois State University, I started looking for a job in early childhood. I did what most of you did, I Googled childcare centers in Bloomington/Normal. I researched them and toured the ones that I thought would be most aligned with my own personal beliefs. I found only one center that was somewhat aligned with my beliefs. That’s right, only one! I interviewed at this center, got the job, worked in every classroom, and taught my own class within 3 years of starting. I loved it, but something was missing. I then received a phone call from my dad (a commercial contractor) who said that he had found some land for a childcare center. I had to pinch myself to see if this was really true. Quickly we were working with architects, DCFS, and Maureen Kelly who mentored me in how to run a childcare center. We researched every square inch of how to be the BEST, from the paint on the walls, the entrance into the center, to the playground! We made sure that everything that we did was research based, tangible, and best for children. Don’t get me wrong, I would love to have a forest as part of the playground layout, but unfortunately being located in the midst of corn fields is a barrier to a bigger dream! Building a center that reflected my vision was hard, but the hardest part was getting our name out in the community. Before we knew it, we were full with a waitlist. Families in our community wanted exactly what we had created; a place where children are free to be themselves (and be accepted for it), an environment where learning occurs naturally at all times of day, teachers that love their children as much as their parents do, and an environment where children and parents feel safe.
I want to extend my sincerest appreciation to all of our families for supporting and believing in Katie’s Kids. I also want to thank my amazing Leadership Team and teaching teams for also believing in my mission and passion. It truly isn’t possible to do it alone.
I wanted to share a few of our greatest milestones that we have celebrated over the past 14 years.
- 2006 – We opened our center with only 14 kids.
- 2008 – We were chosen by Laureate Education Inc (California based online school) to be videotaped/interviewed for one of their online courses in Early Childhood.
- 2009 – We opened Katie’s Kids II of Normal in 2009.
- 2010 – Dr. Laura Berk interviewed, observed, and photographed our classrooms at Katie’s Kids II for a text book.
- 2011 – Johnna Darragh interviewed, observed, and photographed our classrooms at Katie’s Kids I for a text book.
- 2012 – We were highlighted in a video titled “Planning to Survive Disaster”, because we are the only center in town to have a tornado shelter.
- 2013 – Katie’s Kids II achieved the Silver Circle of Quality with ExceleRate Illinois.
- 2014 – Katie’s Kids I achieved the Silver Circle of Quality with ExceleRate Illinois.
- 2014 – Katie’s Kids II enrolled in the self study for NAC Accreditation.
- 2016 – Both of our locations were chosen to be sites for training the evaluators of the ExceleRate Illinois program.
- 2016 – Katie’s Kids II was evaluated by NAC accreditation and we are patiently awaiting the news of accreditation.
- 2017 – Katie’s Kids I enrolled in the self study for NAC Accreditation.
- 2017 – Katie’s Kids II was awarded a NAC Accredited Center.
- 2019 – Katie’s Kids I was evaluated by NAC
- 2019 – Katie’s Kids II was evaluated by NAC
- 2019 – Katie’s Kids I participated in a research video in conjunction with Dr. Laura Berk’s upcoming textbook.
- 2020 – Katie’s Kids I was awarded a NAC Accredited Center.
Thank you for choosing Katie’s Kids to partner with you as your children are creating the foundation for the rest of their lives! We are honored!