“You don’t get love and snuggles from behind an office chair; that’s why I love working at the daycare,” said Christine Jeffers, a 26-year Educare instructor for the University of Toledo Early Learning Center.
The university boasts one of only 26 5-star rated daycare centers in Ohio that is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, daycare director Caryn Salts said.
The daycare opened its doors in 1953 in affiliation with the Medical College of Ohio, but it wasn’t until MCO merged with UT in 2006 that the daycare became part of UT, Salts said.
The daycare offers programs for children beginning at 18 months of age up to kindergarten and an early intervention program, she said.
She added that children can also attend an intensive summer program.
The daycare utilizes a former Toledo Public Schools building that contains large classrooms, a full-size gym, a kitchen and an outdoor playground. Salts said UT’s medical campus prepares hot meals daily to serve at the daycare.
The daycare accepts assisted funding from Lucas County Job and Family Services to help parents afford the daily and weekly fees, Salts said.
Because of the spacious classrooms and gym, kids can engage in sensory activities, painting and music activities daily, regardless of the weather outside, a 20-year Educare instructor Karen Kirby said.
The daycare has an on-site nurse and teacher-to-child ratios lower than state requirements, Salts said.
April Workman has worked as an Educare instructor at UT’s daycare since 1988. She said the low
turnover rate among the staff is part of what makes the childcare unique and consistent.
UT police perform daily checks on the daycare to ensure up-to-date security measures, said Cathy Kolodziejski, a 10-year UT Educare instructor.
Lorissa Orhowski is a 24-year Educare instructor from Ukraine who moved to America in 1992.
“Working at the daycare makes me feel like I belong somewhere, like I fit in,” she said.
UT academic adviser Michelle Sullivan said her children attended UT’s daycare while she finished school at UT, and her kids still attend the summer program.
“The instructors there not only care for my children, they support me as a mother," Sullivan said.
Part-time fees are between $40 and $85 a day, and full-time fees are between $175 and $210 a week. Fees are dependent on the age of the child.
“It’s just a great place to raise the kids and make memories,” Orhowski said.
The university’s daycare is located at 1932 Birchwood Avenue and is open Monday- Friday from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. The phone number is 419.530.6710.