Grand Kids Learning Center to celebrate successful merging of two Fraser childcare centers
FRASER — Two childcare centers in Fraser have merged in an effort to provide more local families with quality early childhood education and better serve the community.
Grand Kids Learning Center, the outcome of the merger between Grand Kids and the Fraser Creative Learning Center, will celebrate the successful merger with a ribbon cutting and open house at 4 p.m. on Dec. 6.
“(Grand Kids) had grown out of our space and we had no space to go, we had no space to grow and quite a waitlist,” said Grand Kids Learning Center executive director Ashley Bobo. “So when our boards brought up this conversation to each other it just seemed to make sense.”
Previously, Grand Kids provided childcare and education for infants and children aged two months to six years and the Fraser Creative Learning Center focused on the two and a half years to five years age group.
Since the merger, Grand Kids Learning Center is able to serve kids aged two months to six years.
“We were able to divide all the classrooms into the group that they will eventually then go to kindergarten with, so it’s a smaller age group that is able to really focus more on developmentally-appropriate and age-appropriate learning activities and curriculum,” Bobo said. “With us being able to create that junior preschool classroom, it really helped eliminate a lot of our current waitlist.”
The former Grand Kids building, located at 505 Willow Lane, now houses the infant and toddler classrooms and the Fraser Creative Learning Center, located at 150 Eastom Avenue, houses the pre-school and pre-kindergarten classrooms.
The merge was initiated in September for the beginning of the school year, but wasn’t completed until more recently.
“It’s more convenient, just speaking from being a parent, there’s just one place where you need to donate time and there’s just one school where we’re doing the activities and parties and family dinners and the fundraisers,” said Megan Waymire, Grand Kids Learning Center board member. “It’s something that I think we all agree should have been done many years ago.”
Waymire, who had previously been the president of the board for the Fraser Creative Learning Center, said the merger also helped with staffing issues.
Currently, Grand Kids Learning Center has five classrooms, with room for a sixth, and they are caring for 50 children with capacity for 65.
Bobo cites the similar curriculum and values of the two learning centers for making it so successful, particularly the community focus.
“Our missions had been very similar in looking at the whole child and creating a fun, safe environment that they can explore and grow in and really utilize our community, our county too, in exploring not just indoors, but outdoors,” she said.
Waymire also noted that the support of the parents and the community throughout the merger played a huge role in making it successful.
Ultimately, Waymire said they would like to be able to expand the learning center to house all the classrooms in one building, whether that means a new location or building onto the existing building.
“I think in the future our dreams would be one large facility,” she said.
“We always have lofty goals,” Bobo added with a laugh.
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Editor’s note: The following letter to the community was submitted to the Sky-Hi News by Winter Park Mayor Nick Kutrumbos.