I’m so pleased to welcome a new sponsor to Go West Young Mom, and it’s one that especially appeals to young families.
The 5-Star Learning Ranch is a preschool and childcare center located in Batavia, just south of Fabyan Parkway, about a mile west of Randall Road.
When I first visited the 5-Star Learning Ranch, what immediately impressed me was the setting. It is located in a building that looks much like a cozy home, on nearly 4 acres of gorgeous property that features big, shady trees and a neighbor who keeps horses in his backyard.
When the kids play outside, it’s not in some tiny area surrounded by a tall iron fence. There is lush, green grace; two wooden playground sets; and a big paved circle on which the kids can ride bikes, tricycles and play with various push toys. The kids get to interact with nature – one day, they discovered a nest of just-hatched baby turtles. Sometimes in the winter, they’ll head straight from their parents’ cars in their snowpants to play outside, sled down a hill or do animal track investigations. The center’s staff have even created a t-ball field at the back of the property.
“There are so many options for exploration, observation and physical activity,” says the center’s owner, Anita Graham. “The possibilities for outdoor learning are endless!”
But of course the caring and learning that happens inside the 5-Star Learning Ranch is even more important. Graham says she is most proud of her quality, nurturing teachers.
“5-Star Learning Ranch teachers truly care about the well-being of our children on a daily basis. This includes implementing curriculum to ensure academic success,” she says. “The overall happiness of a child is rewarding to our teachers. These are characteristics that teachers cannot gain through training. ... My amazing teachers always go ‘above and beyond’ every day.”
Graham has a bachelor’s degree in elementary education (with a specialization in early childhood development.) She also has a master’s degree in educational leadership and currently holds a principal’s certificate, as well.
She taught for years in public schools at the elementary level, served as an assistant principal of an elementary and middle school, taught at the college level, directed a Head Start program and was the director and district manager for a corporate daycare company.
But she missed the day-to-day interaction with children and parents, and so Graham opened the 5-Star Learning Ranch in the fall of 2011. Full and part-time childcare is offered for children starting at age 2, and the ranch offers before- and after-school care for students through age 12. (It can handle transport to and from Batavia schools.)
The preschool program focuses on kindergarten readiness through a variety of hands-on, curriculum-based activities. Preschool classes are either 2 ½ hours or 3 hours long, and children enrolled in the childcare program can come over to the preschool classroom to get a traditional experience there.
Speaking of the classrooms, they are large and bright. Each one has a very cool loft, where kids can retire to read a book or for a small group “loft lesson.” There is even a “water room” for fun with H20. There are also parent observation booths, where parents can watch their kids without the children realizing it. (Graham says that came in handy this fall with a preschooler who always cried when leaving mommy, but was happily engaged in the classroom within minutes of being dropped off; the mom used the observation booth and emerged crying – but only because she was so impressed with how her daughter was doing.)
Starting in January of 2013, the 5-Star Learning Ranch will begin offered an evening program for gifted and talented school-age children. This program will allow children to “think outside the box” in creative problem solving. Graham used to coach “Odyssey of the Mind” and “Destination Imagination” teams in Texas.
If you, a friend or family member lives or works in the Batavia, Geneva, North Aurora or St. Charles area – and you’re looking for childcare or preschool – I urge you to schedule a visit to the 5-Star Learning Ranch. It’s truly a unique and impressive place.
Please join me in welcoming the 5-Star Learning Ranch to Go West Young Mom’s community of sponsors. It’s the support of our sponsor businesses that makes Go West possible.