When Melissa Ledesma called Barb Krier she was just seeking some professional advice. Little did she know she would get an invitation.
Ledesma has been director of Kreative Kids Education Center at Central Kansas Medical Center for 16 of her 20 years at the facility. She looked to Krier, owner of Applied Learning Center (ALC), after learning that Kreative Kids would have to close when CKMC becomes St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center on May 1.
The last day of classes is Friday, April 29, but parents and children will not be left without a home. At this point, 18 of the 20 Kreative Kids youngsters will be moving to the ALC child-care facility the following Monday.
During the phone chat with Ledesma, Krier said, "Come on over. But whatever you decide to do, I will help you in any way I can."
When Ledesma looks back at that conversation, she refers to it as "a God thing. I had prayed about it. And then there was Barb with this wonderful offer. This will be a bittersweet time because it is sad to leave CKMC but we are eager to start a new adventure.
"We are so pleased that this will be a seamless transition for our families," Ledesma added. "Our philosophy and the ALC’s philosophy are the same, which allows parents to be more comfortable with the move."
That philosophy starts with the idea that every child is special.
"Each child is unique and deserves to be accepted at all levels of development," Ledesma said. "The teachers provide a creative environment so children can develop skills in a relaxed atmosphere where they can feel safe and loved."
Both facilities have offered preschool from September through May to prepare the children for kindergarten. That will continue, as will a number of summertime special activities. Jasmine Pulido and Deborah Hearn, the Kreative Kids teaching staff, will move with Ledesma to ALC and join its six-member staff. The combined experience for the two teaching groups comes to more than 80 years.
The ALC, 4500 10th St. Place, currently serves 38 children and the newcomers will bring the total to 56. It is licensed for 59 and accepts infants and children up to age 12. Its hours are 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Kreative Kids originally served only CKMC employees’ families but opened to the public several years ago; it specialized in youngsters 2-and-a-half to school age.
"We are looking forward to welcoming everyone on May 2," Krier said. "Melissa and her staff will be a perfect fit for our child-care center. And parents can count on the same open-door policy they had at Kreative Kids."