The vacant brick building standing next to the Casey’s General Store on the north edge of Runnells is no longer empty.
A new, locally owned business called Wee Adventures is moving in and the business owner, Beth Erickson, will be offering before and after school daycare, plus preschool, for area youth. Erickson, who has a bachelor’s degree in child development, has operated a preschool out of her home and worked in the childcare industry for a period of time.
“I worked as the children’s programmer for the Pleasant Hill Library for two years and was an outreach liaison for all of the preschools, meaning I went into area preschools for story time and crafts, as well as at Four Mile and Pleasant Hill elementaries,” she said.
After moving to the Runnells area five years ago and welcoming her first grandchild, Erickson decided to stay home and take care of her grandson and teach other children on a private level. Now, this mother of four adult children is an official empty nester and ready to spread her wings.
“I had always wanted to have my own business and I decided that starting my own preschool and daycare was a good way to have my grandsons with me and continue doing what I enjoyed doing,” she said. “So I started the process of starting my own business. But in the meantime, they moved to northwest Iowa.”
Still, Erickson never lost sight of running her own business catering to children.
“The need for this is great in this area,” she said. “You have to go into Pleasant Hill or Altoona for a quality daycare facility. I like that this building is located directly across from the elementary school, which will be wonderful for the before and after kids who come here. Many of the parents take their Runnells students to Four Mile or Pleasant Hill, but this way, they can be here with their friends.”
The before and after school care program will open at 6:30 a.m. and includes breakfast for the children, which will be in sync with the nutrition guidelines established by the No Child Left Behind federal act. The facility will close at 6 p.m. Because Runnells Elementary students are dismissed from school early on Wednesdays, Wee Adventures will be open on those afternoons, as well as for teacher in-service days. The weekly fee for before and after school care will be $65.
“Parents can take advantage of care for the students during school breaks at $25 a day, too,” Erickson said. “A lot of places don’t offer care during school breaks.”
Photo from Stock.xchng.