Adel residents with children between 6 weeks and 12 years of age could see a new option for daycare services within the city by this summer.
Little Tigers Learning Center is currently under construction at 1720 Nile Kinnick Drive South, south of the downtown square and north of Grace Lutheran Church. Anika Blum, the owner of Little Tigers, would like the daycare to be open soon school lets out for the summer at Adel-DeSoto-Minburn in late May or early June.
“We look forward to being able to provide care and nurture to these tiny humans that the families are entrusting to us, and we take that very seriously,” Blum said. “We’re excited to be a part of their growth and development, to see them become and grow into amazing children that go on to do amazing things later.”
The planning and the work on the project began in the summer of 2017.
Blum said that she saw a need and an opportunity for a new daycare in Adel. She said that she and Jackie Giles, who will serve as the director, are eager to make the project a reality.
“I have up to 143 full-time spots and Adel is growing so much that I’m not sure it’s going to be enough,” Blum said. “But I hope that we’re going to make a dent and provide a service to the community to be able to find local, quality child care.”
Blum has a degree in human services and criminal justice and a minor in psychology and sociology and worked at ChildServe for nine years, working with children with special needs in a few different roles.
Giles has been a registered childcare provider in Iowa since May 2004.
Blum said that she receives a lot of emails from parents in Adel that are looking forward to having something a little closer to home as a daycare option and that many in the area are taking their children as far as Downtown Des Moines for childcare each day.
The location was intended to be easily accessible from Highway 6 and Interstate 80.
“We wanted to be more convenient,” Blum said.
The site will also include a full kitchen.
“We will be focusing on healthy foods that we cook here,” Blum said. “We’re not going to do a heat-and-serve. We have capabilities to actually cook here, so that’s something that we’re pretty excited about.
There will also be two outdoor playgrounds, as well as a dual-purpose room that will host the before and after school kids, but will also serve as a “gross motor space.”
“When it’s like today and it’s super cold, or it’s raining, or it’s way too hot, they can come in here and they can run around and they can bounce their balls, and they can ride their bikes,” Blum said. “They can do all of that inside.”
There are also hopes in the future to be able to add an outdoor classroom, which Blum said was a passion of Giles’s. The outdoor classroom would allow the kids to learn about natural elements, gardening and other outdoor subjects.
Blum anticipates that there will be about 40 employees working at Little Tigers, between full-time and part-time employees, and that they will start taking applications in March.
The programs listed on the daycare’s website include:
- Explorers - Infants
- Discoverers - 1s
- Adventurers - 2s
- Voyagers - 3s
- Navigators - 4/5s
- Inquirers - School Age
- Collaborators - Preschool
The preschool program will allow kids to attend for a part of each day, but return to their in-home providers while the rest of the kids will attend the center full-time and receive preschool curriculum in the classroom.
“We have the capacity to run four (preschool) classes through here through the week and can support 66 children in our preschool program,” Blum said.