Calm surroundings highlight area daycare
Country Lovin’ Daycare in Baldwin is not your typical daycare facility, and owner Jennifer O’Bryan is proud of that fact. The facility at 2750 Gracie Dr. in Baldwin (just south of Interstate-94) feels more like a magical home inside than a daycare center.
While O’Bryan’s clients are mostly from the Baldwin area, she wants to let parents in the communities of Hudson, Hammond and Roberts along the I-94 corridor know she is there, especially since so many commute on a daily basis, probably right past Country Lovin’.
“When I was doing daycare out of my home north of Woodville, the phone rang a lot looking for a stable daycare that wasn’t going to shut down,” O’Bryan said.
Those phone calls made O’Bryan’s wheels turn and she decided to expand. At her home she was watching six children, but said “the need was there” to grow her business.
The mother of four (Jasinda, 17; Samantha, 15; and twins Ashtyn and Brayden, 11) opened at her new location April 9. The daycare is located a few doors down from Phoenix Bar & Grill.
O’Bryan described the space as turn-key.
“The basic layout was functional and all the plumbing was here,” O’Bryan said. “We built the walls. The landlords love working with small businesses and new business owners. They’ve been great.”
When O’Bryan first talked to families about opening a new daycare center, she said many told her they shied away from daycares because they seem impersonal.
“We prefer homey and family-oriented,” O’Bryan said. “That’s why we made it look like a house inside, with separate rooms. We work on a personal level and get to know all the families. It’s like a giant family get-together: cooking, watching each other’s kids.”
O’Bryan, who has been a daycare provider for more than 10 years, strives to make the atmosphere at Country Lovin’ far from the institutionalized, impersonal spaces some daycare facilities project. Colorful art, charts and pictures grace the walls, and leafy tree branches hang overhead, giving the place an appearance of an imaginative treehouse.
Country Lovin’ takes children ages 6 months to 13 years. The mornings are focused on art and free play while learning through experience, O’Bryan said.
“We incorporate learning into everyday fun, while integrating it all together,” O’Bryan said. “We let them learn through their own actions, and we stress uniqueness.”
Besides O’Bryan, there are four full-time teachers and one part-time. Currently 22 children attend Country Lovin’, but O’Bryan is licensed for 50.
For more information, call O’Bryan at 715-688-3366 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours are Monday through Friday, 5:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.