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Educators




Miss Maggie, Teacher:
Pursuing Bachelor of Arts Degree in Early Childhood Education
​​I am currently attending the University of Wisconsin, River Falls for Health Education but have decided to

switch my major to Early Childhood Education. My goal as an educator is to make a difference! I primarily

work in the Toddler Room here at Smart Start. In my free-time I love playing softball.  My favorite place in

the world to visit is my cabin up north in Willow River, MN! I know how to drive a forklift and I used to work

on a farm! Children have always been my passion and I love seeing the changes and their growth process!

A favorite children’s book of mine would probably be any of the Bearenstein Bears Books!!





Miss Kaitlyn, Aide:

Working towards attaining Child Development Associate Accreditation through the National Credentialing Program

I am in the process of earning a Child Development Associate through the National Credentialing Program.

The one thing that I love most about childcare is that I get to see so many young creative kids!

I love to watch them read books and wonder what the story is about. 

I also love when they look at you with a smile and run away laughing. My hobbies are really anything that is

outside and having fun! I love going to the lake, going snowmobiling, fishing, or four wheeling.

The one book I love is 101 Dalmatians. One thing that not too many people know is I love to do origami!





 Miss Katie, Teacher: 

Bachelor of Science in Health and Wellness Management ​

I finished my AA at Century College and I graduate from UW River Falls this coming May with my Bachelor’s in

Health and Wellness Management. I want to go back for Child Development. My goal as an educator is to help

encourage and teach young children what they need to know about being healthy inside and out! I primarily work

in the young preschool room. I am originally from Oakdale, Minnesota. I live with my boyfriend (and hopefully new

dog soon). I grew up playing soccer and hockey and still love playing both! I love camping, reading, gardening,

and being outdoors. I have four pygmy goats at my parents house in WI. The most unique thing about me is that

I absolutely LOVE elephants! For as long as I can remember I have enjoyed being around and helping children.

I started working in a preschool and fell in love with the job. I love watching children learn, grow, smile,

and accomplish so much over the years!

My favorite book is “Are You My Mother?” By P.D. Eastman!





Miss Kelsey, Teacher:

Child Development Associate Accreditation through the National Credentialing Program

I have been working with children for four years, previously as a nanny and now working at Smart Start.

I have been at Smart Start since September 2014 in the infant room. Children are my passion in life and

seeing them grow each and every day is a blessing. I couldn't be happier with my job and the families at Smart Start.

I enjoy being outside, spending time with my family and my boyfriend, Keegan. I love to go shopping and cleaning.

My all time favorite children's books are all Dr.Seuss books, Where The Wild Things Are and The Giving Tree.




Miss Lindsey, Teacher:

Working toward a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Elementary Education

​I graduated from Freeport High school in 2008. Then went to Highland Community College for two years where I was still

​unsure of my career path, I then transferred to Northwestern, where I began pursuing a degree in Elementary Education.

​I took a few years off to work as a preschool aide and absolutely loved it, I am now in the process of completing my

​degree online! I was a volunteer cheerleading coach for a number of years in high school, working with 5th-8th graders,

​which is how I became interested in working with children. My favorite thing about working in early childhood is how

​much the kids absorb at each stage. I love seeing how kids' minds work, develop and grow - I love playing a part in

​that! A few of my hobbies include reading, traveling, and anything crafty (drawing, painting, and scrapbooking!) A few

​interesting facts about me: My high scool mascot was a pretzel, I coached tumbling and cheerleading for almost 5

​years, and I once did a cartwheel on the Golden Gate Bridge!





​​Miss Tina, Teacher:

Associates in Arts Degree with an American Sign Language Interpreting Certificate

​I attend St. Paul College currently. I have all of my generals completed and my sign language interpreting

certificate! I am currently working on my Associates degree in Arts with an emphasis on Criminology.

I primarily work as a teacher in the Infant Room. I love being outside spending time with family and friends.

I enjoy spending time with my neice, four-wheeling, camping, or just

spending a relaxing night watching a good comedy.

I have a passion for Sign Language, so I do enjoy going to events within the

deaf community! I love children, and have been babysitting since I was 11 years old!

I LOVE watching them grow and learn! My favorite children’s book is

The Giving Tree and the Little Critter Series! J





Gina Anderson, Owner:

Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Registered Nurse

Although I am a registered nurse and a small business owner, I think it's important to share

that my most important role in life is a mother.  The search for childcare suitable for my children

has driven me to create Smart Start and focus every effort on quality.  As a testament to our

daily mission, vision and goals, we are beginning to see other childcare centers attempt to replicate

some form of what we do.  We strive everyday to provide a safe, happy and

healthy learning environment because we know it's important for every child.

At Smart Start, the teachers and I are all very passionate about children, safety, education

and health and wellness.  We have had the fortune of building strong relationships with our current

families all while creating a genuinely unique and purposeful experience.  Throughout all the years of

nursing, all the research and education along the way and all the planning and preparing done to create

this authentic childcare center, it is our privilege to get to know the families and community we serve.  

I'd love the opportunity to demonstrate how Smart Start is different.  Additionally, every one of our current

families has offered to speak on behalf of their experience at Smart Start.  They are an excellent source of

information and they are more than happy to answer questions pertaining to current and past experiences.

Thank you so much for visiting Smart Start Childcare and Learning Center's website

and I especially thank you for your interest.

Sincerely,
Gina Anderson




Environment


At Smart Start Childcare and Learning Center, children are under qualified supervision at all times in a safe, secure, healthy and happy learning environment.  Parents are welcome to visit anytime during operating hours and parent participation is encouraged.  Parents are also welcome to review the childcare program plan.  The childcare program plan is created, reviewed and updated annually by a qualified teacher and is available upon request. 

Contact us for more information and to visit the center.


Parent Testimonials:


* Our child has been attending Smart Start since he was just over a year old. He's been through each class, and will soon be in preschool! Time sure does fly and we couldn't imagine him spending his days anywhere else. The staff at Smart Start have been so sweet, fun, and caring, we can't thank you enough for all that you do! C.B.

* Being a new parent is overwhelming and choosing a daycare is not an easy task. My husband and I were still unsure of our choice on our daughter's first morning but our minds were quickly eased by each of the infant room teachers. They are all extremely caring, welcoming every morning and they ensure we receive a great level of communication both in person and through the DailyConnect app. We truly feel as though we have great insight into our daughter's day and routines which makes us feel confident in our decision to choose Smart Start. V.A.

* As working parents, entrusting others to care for your child (or children) is a scary experience.  Smart Start has taken all the worry and fear away from not only my husband and I, but also our children.  We know that each day our children are in a safe and healthy environment where they are active, learning, having fun, exploring, playing, and enjoying their day.  Our children know each day they are safe, loved, and going to have fun.  Our children are learning not just how to play, count. or write;  but how to explore new things and foster healthy relationships with others.  They are having fun while learning. Through our children attending Smart Start, I have learned about planets, the environment, friendship, the food pyramid, animals, the Spanish language, sign language, safety, letters, dentists, firemen and women, bikes, sports, and so much more. Smart Start has become part of our family and we could not be more thankful for the teachers, Gina, and Ellen.  We used to have to fight our eldest every morning to go to her old school, with Smart Start, both of our children run in ready to attack the day. C.P.
 
* My son has been going to Smart Start since he was about 3 months old.  As a new mom, there were plenty of days that dropping him off was pretty rough.  Going without him for a day was really hard- but picking him up, knowing how well he had been taken care of was amazing.  It has only gotten better- now at just shy of 2 years old, he can tell me about his day.  He tells me of his friends, which always include his teachers, he tells me about his time outside, and he comes home stimulated, little boy dirty and happy.  
Every day, we are greeted by smiles, warm conversation and all around a happy atmosphere.  Smart Start has been a very positive experience in our life and we are excited to see how he grows there.  A.W.

 
* Below are the things I appreciate from the teachers and everyone at Smart Start.
1)      Personalization.  I love that all the teachers and staff know my son's name and are familiar with him.  It makes it seem like less of a day care “center.”  All the teachers bring a smile to his face, and it appears that his teachers give him the individual attention that he needs during the day despite having a busy and full classroom.    
2)      Teachers.  It appears that all of the teachers and staff have a background, training, or interest in childhood development.  It isn’t likely to find this in a home day care setting.  All the teachers are also relatively energetic, enthusiastic, and outgoing, something we’d likely look for in a nanny. 
3)      Routine.  I appreciate the routine Smart Start implements.  I think it brings balance and structure to the day.  I believe this makes his day away from home easier since he knows what to anticipate throughout the day and week.  Since we are kept aware of the schedules, it is easier for us to try and mimic those schedules on weekends, helping ease his transitions from home to day care and vice versa.  Even in light of the routine Smart Start provides, there are also special events or activities the kids can participate in, e.g., Santa, planting flowers, music classes, Halloween, dress up days, etc.
4)      Schedules and Lesson Plans. We appreciate that Smart Start provides more than just child care and also provides him with an early education.  My husband and I like seeing the weekly schedules so we can focus on words or phrases he is learning that week.  When we know in advance what he is learning or can look at the schedule posted outside the toddler door, it gives us something to “talk” about with him on the way home or into day care.  It also helps us interpret new words he might be using at home that we can’t quite understand yet. 
5)      Activities.  I love that the kids have a playground and can get outside during the day, sometimes multiple times a day.  He also loves the art projects.  Even though he’s little, I appreciate the extra zumbini and music classes Smart Start provides.  This makes me feel a little less guilty about being unable to take him to these activities which are usually only offered during the weekdays when I’m at work. E.L.


* As a mother of 3 boys I have had plenty of opportunity to explore the world of child care. My first son was a bit of a miracle so I was very careful in selecting care for someone so very special to me. I interviewed 12 different centers in the east metro area. We unfortunately dealt with a few that were not a good fit and then landed on one that worked very well for our family. Right before he entered into Kindergarten we made the decision to move to Stillwater and once again began the search for childcare for our other two children. We selected Smart Start and I couldn’t be more pleased with the overall experience! The care that goes into the curriculum, the environment and the nutrition rivals that of all top rated institutions for a fraction of the cost. The meals are well thought out, very healthy, and encouraging to children. They work with them to make trying new foods fun and help them learn why some foods are better for you than others. The staff are so engaged and truly care about the children. My sons have even asked if some of the teachers could just move in with us! So often after picking up my boys I would hear about their day and all they were excited about.  Many stories about animals, outer space, the circus, whatever they were focusing on and yes…I even got the lecture from my son that I shouldn’t drink so much pop! What makes Smart Start so astounding is the care the owner has for her business and for the children. You see that Smart Start was created by the vision of a mother who wanted more for all children rather than a focus on making money. M.W.

 * Our wonderful experience with Smart Start began even before we had our daughters enrolled. When a situation arose with our previous daycare and we needed to make a change immediately, Smart Start was very accommodating in getting us in. They really cared about the wellbeing of our girls before anything else. Every day we are greeted with friendly faces and it really feels like a community. Some of the teachers even feel like they are an extension of our family, for that alone we are grateful. All of the teachers are incredibly kind and professional. They truly care about the children they teach and go out of their way to communicate and engage with the parents. At Smart Start the activities they teach have meaning and are educational. They are being taught and not just watched. From music class and zumbini class to playing outside, our daughter never has a shortage of stories to tell! We are so grateful for the care Smart Start provides for our daughters on a daily basis. R.S.

* We really do appreciate all that goes on "behind the scenes" to keep our son and his classmates happy, healthy, and eager for each new day. It means so much to us to hear him talk about his teachers and classmates now. His grandparents (like all grandparents!) are always amazed at his skills, but we think that having him in such an active learning environment really contributes to his level of knowledge. It is so fun to share a new book or song with him, and then realize that he already knows the story or the dance because daycare is one step ahead of us...again. He loves the "How Does a Dinosaur..." books and always lets us know that his teachers read this to him, too. We love to see what delicious and creative new snacks he is eating and sometimes we try them out at home. (I loved the photos and recipes of the snacks in a previous newsletter.) I can rest easier, too, knowing that the center is nut-free and that his teachers watch out for egg and sesame allergies without ever acting like it is a burden (because I know it can be!).
He loves to do "kid's yoga", something he did not learn from me, but it encourages us as a family to do yoga together. I see him watching the "big kids" at school, too, and I know that he is trying to emulate their behavior, so I feel more comfortable knowing that all the kids are encouraged to be kind, play safely, and be respectful toward others. I love the calming scents whenever we walk into Smart Start, and so we even started diffusing essential oils in our own home. He loves to help me pick out the scents, and I've been enjoying the process as well. The Essential Oil Guide emailed a few weeks ago was great, a very nice introduction to some easy options in the home.
We are very thankful for the positive teachers in his life. Our little baby has too quickly turned into an active boy, but Smart Start has been there for him from the very beginning and we are grateful. Many of his teachers, have really helped us along with all of Oliver's highs and lows (ugh...eczema!). It makes our jobs a little easier when he looks forward to going to school each new day. ;-) N.J.


* The team you have assembled there is the best we have ever seen in all of our previous experiences!  It is such a good feeling to know that when we drop our boys off in the morning they are not only excited to be there, but on the tougher days when they are not feeling well they are in good hands.  Congratulations again, and thanks for having such an over achieving and caring staff!  D.W.


* I am really thankful to have found Smart Start!  The atmosphere is just like I've always wanted for my kiddos - warm, energetic, loving - and the staff are each very personable about the individual kids in their care.  I love the attention to detail and the specific care that each of my three children get.  They have taken the time to get to know each one and tailor their day around individual needs.  They are flexible and very accommodating and I have felt nothing but respect, honesty and love.  It's like entrusting my kids to their favorite aunties!  K.T.

 

* After our second daughter was born, we felt that our childcare options were limited where it would be a stimulating environment for an infant.  We met with Gina and her infant teachers and knew immediately we had found the perfect place for our daughter.  I am impressed with the attention our daughter receives, the activities she is engaged in and how organized the environment is.  We are so glad and fortunate she is at Smart Start!  H.G.

 
* When we had to choose a new childcare center, we found exactly what we wanted in Smart Start.  The owner and the teachers have been caring and friendly since the first day our son started.  We love how engaged he has been and how he has started to share more about his new friends, his teacher and the classroom activities.  It has been a smooth transition and we could not be happier!  A.T.
 
* Our daughter already seems to truly love Smart Start.  She says "more school" all the time.  We told her today she could go after she went to bed and wakes up, so she shut her eyes and a few seconds later "woke up" and said "I wake up, school time, YAY!".  She never was like that about her old school.  She also talks about her teachers, the owner and some of the kids almost daily.  She never fights us to go, always races to the door as we are heading to school.
Having her react like this makes the transition 100 times easier than we expected.  Though switching seemed scary, and we were sad that our old school didn't work out, it is for the better.  Traveling for work as a mother can be really mentally stressful.  Knowing my child WANTS to be at and IS WITH GREAT childcare, I feel much less guilty about being gone and feel better as a mother overall.  My husband is very happy so far as well.  C.P.