Children’s Center to open June 1 at 210 E. Main St.

Published 11:16 am Saturday, May 13, 2006

By By ANDY HAMILTON / Niles Daily Star
NILES - It may sound like an odd spot for a daycare. But for Mary Wardlaw, the downtown Niles location could not be better.
The daycare, located in the old office of Fifth/Third Bank at 210 E. Main St., Niles, will be the second facility opened by Wardlaw. The Buchanan Children's Center was opened two years ago and has an enrollment of 92 children.
The Niles location, which is set to open June 1, will have a similar enrollment size and will provide the children access to a number of activities, Wardlaw said.
Because of the large space, the “highly academic enriched program” at The Children's Center will include multiple themed play areas, such as a campground and library, art and science centers, Wardlaw said.
A tent and a small plastic pool for fishing will fill the campground area. Plus, parts of the science, math and literature area are covered in special chalk board and magnet paint.
Children ages 1 through 12 will be accepted at The Children's Center and Wardlaw said she will also provide a private preschool program during the school year.
Guiding the students along the way will be Wardlaw's experienced staff, each of whom have at least earned a degree in the area of early childhood care. Wardlaw herself is quite familiar with the daycare business.
After earning a bachelor's degree in child development from Concordia University 15 years ago, Wardlaw said she began teaching pre-school and was named director of the same center five years later.
She said she worked at that position for a decade before opening The Buchanan Children's Center.
Wardlaw also said she is currently working on a Master's in business administration from Jones International University online.
Many necessary steps to ensure the safety of the building have already been completed, including the installation of an $8,000 fire alarm system and a time clock sign-in device that keeps a “running record” of who has come and gone from the center.
There is also room for expansion, Wardlaw said. The size of the building is large enough to accommodate more children, but Wardlaw said law requires her to construct another bathroom in order to have more than 90 children.
For now, Wardlaw said she is happy to work out of the current space that is a close walk to the Niles District Library and Wonderland Cinema.
Sounds like an ideal spot for a lot of reasons.