Child’s play

Kidspace turns fun into learning with new business focus

Kathy Stanley and Sharon Lascheck began their family-activity-center business in Vancouver five years ago. But realizing the demand in the area for education programs for children, they decided to put their space to new use. Kidspace Child Enrichment Center began operating as a preschool and childcare center in September.

Stanley and Lascheck are both trained teachers, and after many years of teaching professionally in the area, they began a preschool together more than 10 years ago. After six years of running the preschool, they decided to open Kidspace as a family activity center, where they specialized in hosting birthday parties. This fall they returned to their education roots.

“(Kidspace) was created out of a passion for teaching and to serve the community in a greater way,” said Stanley.

There is a greater need for education and childcare than there is for entertainment, added Stanley. But calls still come in each day asking if the company still hosts parties – they don’t. “We couldn’t do both,” she said.

The Kidspace facility is 6,000 square feet and is divided into three rooms. The largest is a 2,500-square-foot indoor gym focused on motor development that features a padded spring floor and gymnastic equipment. The other spaces include an art, sensory and science studio and a room emphasizing building, pretending, music and reading. Kidspace also has an outside playground. And there are no TVs.

Some remodeling was required when the transition was made.

The center accepts children ages 3 to 10. Tuition for preschoolers is based on full- or part-time status and the number of days attending each week, and costs run from $90 per month to $750 per month. For school-age children, the cost is $5 per hour or part-time tuition, whichever is less.

Kidspace is mainly utilized as a preschool, said Stanley. Enrollment is at about 55 children of which about 80 percent are part-time, she said. The center is licensed for up to 75 full-time students. Morning is the busiest with about 30 students, mostly preschoolers attending from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Age groups are not separated; rather, small groups of children are assigned to one teacher who guides them through the center’s programs.

Stanley said the curriculum is art and relationship based and emphasizes hands-on activities. Physical education is also an integral part of the curriculum. Play is children’s work and is a building block for learning, she said.

Aside from Stanley and Lascheck, Kidspace has five teachers.

Kidspace would like to continue to grow enrollment as well as partner with employers to provide childcare for employees.

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