Her deep passion for offering high-quality preschool activities and exceptional care for children emanates from Linda Horner when asked about Linda’s Preschool & After School Program.
She and her husband, Paul, started the business in 2003 in an effort to provide a much-needed service for area families. After beginning in a small building with only a few full-time and part-time employees with the capacity for 21 children ages 3 to 12 years, they soon amended their license to take children as young as 18 months in order to meet more of the childcare demands in the community. In 2013 they moved to a larger building and are now licensed for 40 children ages 18 months to 12 years now that they have up to four full-time plus two part-time employees, most of whom have Bachelor’s Degrees, Associate’s Degrees or are working toward an Associate’s Degree in Education or Early Childhood Education.
A common misconception is that their business is simply a daycare but Linda’s is so much more. The main focus of their business is Preschool Education that offers Kindergarten readiness, social skills and self-help skills. They also incorporate Christian values such as daily prayer and learning about Christian holidays such as Christmas and Easter. They intertwine kindness activities into their curriculum such as taking baked goods to neighbors and thanking community helpers like police officers, fire fighters and city workers.
Their preschool classes run Monday through Thursday during the school year from 8:30-11:30 am with three groups: 18 months – 2 years (yes, the toddler’s participate in preschool too!), 3-4 year olds and 4-5 year olds. Mondays alternate between Masterpiece Monday and Math Monday when children have the opportunity to create their own masterpieces using different art materials as well as developing math concepts such as number recognition, counting, sorting, patters and matching. Tell Me a Tale Tuesdays feature literacy-based activities like making their own books, playing with puppets, acting out stories and occasional trips to the Ord Township Library. What’s Cooking Wednesdays engage children in cooking activities and Thinking Cap Thursdays feature activities that encourage students to think, predict and conclude such as nature walks, science experiments and board games.
Additional enrichment activities take place after lunch, especially for preschoolers who will be going on to Kindergarten the next year. Some younger children get to participate on certain days as well. Linda mentioned “This is a good way to prepare the children for a full day when they start Kindergarten.”
Linda’s Preschool & After School Program helps meet a wider range of needs in the community as a one-stop-shop for working families by offering childcare before and after preschool, school-age care before and after school, they are usually open during school breaks and snow days and even offer transportation to and from Ord Elementary School and Ord’s St. Mary’s school.
Although their focus is preschool, they certainly don’t lack in engaging activities for school-age children as well. During the summer, they host Linda’s Summer Camp. “We plan weekly themes and plan activities especially geared to the school age and older preschoolers. The younger children are included whenever possible and other age appropriate activities are provided for them as well. Our biggest annual activity is SURVIVOR Week. The kids are divided into tribes. During the week they participate in various challenges and fun activities.”
Being an active member in the community is an important aspect for Linda and their business and when asked about the importance of buying local, Linda replied “Providing a full-day program including breakfast, lunch and snack is much like running a household. The majority of our food and supplies are purchased right here in Ord. In turn that helps the businesses where our families work. Shopping locally has a lot of advantages for us. It is convenient and saves so much time which can be dedicated to other needs of the children in our care. It also provides us with connections and resources to people in our community. In turn these people are willing to help us with field trips and other activities which help extend the lessons for our students and hopefully help the children develop pride for their community.”
Community members can be on the lookout for the impacts of their KINDNESS Project in February when they donate $25 to both Grocery Kart and Speed’s Apple Market along with cards made by the children for clerks to choose one person for five days to receive $5 off their order that day.
Also watch the online community calendar for details on their Open House in April during Week of the Young Child. You can also follow their Facebook page for regular updates on all that’s happening at Linda’s!