LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Child care businesses in Kentucky increased capacity to regular group sizes on Monday. It's a change that several centers across the state are excited about.
At Megaminds Educare in Lexington, the center is eager to once again bring more kids into the building.
“It's pretty exciting to just open up all of those classrooms and just have those rooms full of laughter every day,” said preschool teacher Makenzie Newcomb.
Newcomb says when group numbers were restricted, staff had to rotate shifts so they could keep their jobs. However, with fewer hours, some staff members found work elsewhere. Now, Newcomb says the center is hiring, along with reopening the waiting list for kids.
KinderCare Learning Centers, which has several locations in Kentucky, will also be hiring more staff since its classrooms can now nearly double in size. Staff members say they're prepared help new kids adapt into a routine.
“We have seen students that have stayed home that didn't have that routine, they didn't have that constant engagement and so they kind of struggled coming in, but once they got into the routine, they have blossomed and done fantastically,” said Mckenna Humphrey, director of the Alexandria Pike KinderCare center.
When it comes to programs at the YMCA of Central Kentucky, the change means as long as a single space dedicated to child care is large enough, like a gym, more kids can be placed there, which employees say benefits the kids and the YMCA as a whole.
“Even at the branches, it's allowed us to free up some space to members that we didn't currently have, because it had been dedicated since last March to child care,” said Senior Director of Program Operations Kevin Haury.
Even with this change, child care providers say there are still some challenges as the pandemic continues, like limited interaction with parents, extra costs for PPE, and not being able to let groups co-mingle. They're looking forward to seeing more restrictions lifted as things open up, and interacting with more kids.