The freshly painted walls are decorated with murals of clouds and flowers. The tables and chairs are all neatly arranged. The easels, the play kitchen, the wooden theater and the cozy book nook are all ready. After seven months of preparation, The Learning Tree of Madison is ready for enrollment.
With training in early childhood education and a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy, Owner/Director Kimberly Joyner says she is fulfilling a lifelong dream opening the daycare/preschool center.
Licensed to care for up to 54 children from 6 weeks to 12 years old, she envisions that the majority of her enrollment will be infants and toddlers, who will then build her preschool program.
Yet taking care of the children is not Joyner’s only focus. She has found a perfect way to combine her background in education and marriage and family therapy by incorporating and encouraging family participation.
“Parent communication and family involvement is very important and encouraged,” said Joyner. “We want families to be involved in the center even when they physically can’t be there.”
With this in mind, there are cameras in every classroom that parents can log onto and see what their child is doing at any time of the day. In addition, she wants parents and guardians to keep in touch via email and texting throughout the day, “so they really feel a part of it when they can’t be there.”
Joining Joyner are three staff members, who like her, have training in early childhood education. In addition, one teacher has a degree in psycology and another is a Registered Nurse.
She is acutely aware of the importance of keeping her staff happy and excited to be at The Learning Tree of Madison. “Happy staff translates into happy children,” she says.
“There is a huge staff lounge which overlooks the playground,” said Joyner. It is in this special space that the teachers can relax, plan curriculum and collaborate as a team, while at the same time “really get some inspiration looking out over the grounds.”
Joyner is excited to see children bring the center to life. "I can't wait to hear laughing and giggling," she said, walking through the pristine space.
While she and her staff have ideas and plans on how to have a success daycare center they also realize that they will have to take the lead from the children once they arrive on site.
“You may plan a curriculum and the children may decide to take it in an entirely new direction,” said Joyner. “And that’s really what we want.”
“We want children to be engaged and curious and exploring and experimenting.”
The Learning Tree of Madison
560 Durham Road
Monday – Friday 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m.