Building Blocks and Puddle Jumpers childcare centers expand in Wilsonville
According to Puddle Jumpers owner Becki Jones and Building Blocks owner Regina Hieb, early child care education in Wilsonville is in high demand.
So, to provide room for more kids and improve services, both Jones and Hieb have expanded their facilities in Old Town in the past six months.
Here's a look at their renovations.
Building Blocks moved from Charbonneau to its space in Wilsonville, at 30623 S.W. Boones Ferry Road in 2017, and Hieb said the center has doubled in size twice since, most recently after its 1,500-square-foot expansion — which was unveiled in September.
The facility now has nine teachers, preschool for 3- to 5-year-olds, preschool and child care for 2-year-olds, all day child care and after-school child care.
Hieb was able to expand services in part by switching her business type from a residential child care facility to a commercial facility, which have different regulations, during the move from Charbonneau to Wilsonville.
The recently built addition is a tumbling room that allows for physical play and art and science studios.
Hieb describes the Building Blocks philosophy as curiosity-driven. For example, they added an insectarium last year where the kids raised silkworms and butterflies.
"We follow the lead of the child, whatever their interests are," Hieb said.
The preschool also has a spacious outdoor facility with various play structures.
Hieb said there currently are openings in the after school, 2-year-old and full-time child care programs.
"When children walk out of the program, the goal is for them to walk out loving school," Hieb said.
Overall, Hieb said early child care and preschool can improve a child's reading, math, problem-solving skills and help them develop a love for learning.
"Research shows that kids who go to strong, healthy play environments go on to formal education and Ivy League colleges and excel financially, emotionally, physically and intellectually for the rest of their lives," she said. "The payoff is huge. It's really important that it's a good preschool."
Jones decided to expand the Puddle Jumpers facility, located at 30775 S.W. Boones Ferry Road, because many of the parents with kids enrolled there had to go to two or three different child care centers to drop off and pick up their kids of various ages every day.
"They were saying it would be so nice if you had a toddler program and we could all be in one spot," Jones said. "More than anything, we wanted to help
that community and help our families have kids in one center."
To go along with its program for 3- to 5-year-olds, the expansion, which includes an added room, has allowed the center to add a program for 2-year-olds. However, it might be challenging to reserve a spot at this point as they are only allowed to have 10 kids in the program. Jones said the facility is limited by its residential zoning designation.
"It didn't completely fill the need. It seems like there's such a need for it. There's never enough," Jones said. "If you're going to do it residentially, licensing is pretty daunting."
Jones said Puddle Jumpers helps kids develop social skills, such as maintaining personal space, spatial awareness, coping without their parents and learning through playing.
"A lot of them, it's hard just being away from mom and dad. We're working on being OK being independent, earning their trust and keeping them engaged throughout the day," Jones said. "We work on making sure our kids are socially and emotionally ready to enter school for kindergarten."
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