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Childcare center opening in Wood River

Published: May. 1, 2021 at 7:02 PM CDT
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WOOD RIVER, Neb. (KSNB) - Wood River was able to recover from those floods in 2019 and now they have also finally solved another problem plaguing the town.

They used to be a childcare desert.

“What that means is that there are more children from the ages 0-5 with their parents working outside the home than there are licensed childcare spots,” said Nebraska Children’s Family Foundation Early Childhood Program Associate Vice President Marti Mcfadden - Beard.

Parents used to have to travel outside of town to find childcare but not anymore, Stick Creek Kids Early Childhood Development Center is finally opening next week.

“We’re now to the point where, we’re going to have children in these walls on Monday and that, I can’t express how that feels,” said Stick Creek Kids Committee Board Member Chelsie Doane.

Over the last three years they’ve applied for grants, received tons of donations to make this childcare center possible for the community.

“None of us came from early childhood in the community,” Stick Creek Kids Committee Board Member Elizabeth Troyer-Miller said. “We came as members of a community, parents who experienced a shortage and said we need to find a better solution.”

Eight-years-ago the town did a needs survey and realized childcare was a huge issue for families. The only place for them to send their kids were after school programs by the Wood River School District.

“What we’ll be able to do is start to fill in some of those gaps where families may want to opt into a three-year-old pre-school,” Troyer-Miller said. “They’re going to be able to access that here, even if they don’t want to send their kids to childcare.”

The new childhood development center is 25,000 sq. It has a playground, laundry room, commercial kitchen and multiple classrooms.

“A lot of people travel to Hastings, Grand Island, whatever to work and this is a good spot right along Highway 30 or Interstate 80 to drop your child off and have a good quality education,” said Wood River Mayor Greg Cramer.

90% of a child’s brain develops by the time they are five, so not only will Stick Creek Kids fill childcare needs within the community but it will also prepare children to be successful for the future.

On Saturday, Stick Creek Kids had a ribbon cutting ceremony where people got to tour the facility for the very first time.

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