The Hays Area Children’s Center and Preschool was in desperate need of some renovations and improvements. We were a recipient of the Child Care Sustainability Grant from Child Care Aware. This grant helps offset the negative impact on operating a childcare business due to COVID-19 pandemic. Being a non-profit, we rely heavily on private tuition, grants, fundraising and donations to keep the doors open. The pandemic really put a stress on us being able to fundraise these last few years. Our annual fundraising events help with structural updates, security software (cameras), providing updated equipment in classrooms and on the premise, maintenance of equipment and buildings, utilities, food, etc.
The Child Care Sustainability Grant helped us provide a more updated, clean, and inviting environment for children and families. We were also able to work closely with many local businesses to help with the renovations. Commercial Sign did our new sign on the building. A sign for the preschool building will be coming in the coming months! Vitztum Carpet One ordered our new vinyl flooring in the common areas and carpet in all the classrooms. Rohr’s Carpet Cleaning did the new flooring in our kitchen and bathrooms in both buildings. Old Glory Rehab and Restoration installed all our new vinyl flooring in both buildings and will be back to help with a few more necessary updates that are needed outside. Nex-Tech created a new website for us that will help keep families and people in the community connected to the happenings and events at the Hays Area Children’s Center. We were also able to add security cameras to the preschool building outside that we didn’t have previously. One of our very own staff members, Karlee Kembel painted two murals in our main building. One of the murals is a map of Kansas and all the large landmarks the state has to offer. The second mural is in a hallway between two toddler classrooms that is used for photo ops and brings a more relaxing and inviting feel to the center. She also has been monumental in re-branding the Hays Area Children’s Center by hand-drawing our new logo that is of a water-colored sunflower.
We really wanted to change the tone of the center by using warm, calming tones and make the classrooms all mirror each other. New tables, chairs, sensory tables/toys, flexible seating, dramatic play toys, classroom furniture, paint, new blinds, and curtains are just a few of the things that were updated so far with the grant. We have many more ideas coming soon!
The Child Care Aware Sustainability Grant put the Hays Area Children’s Center back on the map for providing exceptional care in a newly updated facility. We could not have done all of this without the grant, and we are forever grateful for the opportunity it has provided!
(You can find more information about this grant at https://www.ks.childcareaware.org/)
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The students here at the center have received over 500 new meals in just one year! They have tried over 75 different vegetables, more than 10 ethnic meal styles from around the world, and 9/10 different grains. Our students here in the preschool have started a new program called Snacktivity, a program that teaches the preschoolers to use everyday kitchen and tools to interact with different foods in order to create fun snacks.
This past summer we created a Farm to Table" program where the preschool planted a garden which has accumulated 30 pounds of produce so far.
From the Garden
This year we will be releasing 4 seasonal menus that will focus on the fruits and vegetables that are appropriately in season. This fall we will be bringing some of our garden inside where we will grow our herbs; such as Basil, Parsley, Rosemary, etc.