Ironwood, Mich. (WLUC) – Residents of Ironwood say the city has seen a drastic decrease in available child care in recent years.
In August, community concerns which were sparked when parents received information that All Saints Little Lamb’s Childcare would separate from Our Lady of Peace Catholic Parish. Chandra Moreno says she hopes to ease parent concerns by opening a new daycare with a focus on hands-on education.
“We really want to change the culture around early learning where it’s very much an active community participation, active parent participation,” said Moreno.
The Ironwood Early Learning Academy Center (IELA) is being funded by the community and generous donors and will take children from toddlers to 12 years old. Moreno said beyond learning opportunities, child care is crucial for local economies.
“If we don’t have childcare, businesses don’t succeed. People cannot thrive without child care in their communities, and we see it everywhere,” said Moreno. “You see signs up on businesses across the country understaffed and it’s because people are staying home with their children.”
Moreno said providing reliable child care could also improve the city’s poverty rate which is currently at 28.5 percent. Program director Kim Anderson, who formerly directed at All Saints Little Lambs said the new center will continue to work on community development.
“With the community outreach that we plan on doing meals on wheels, we want to bring the master gardeners in to do some farming with the children,” said Anderson. “We also want to give that food out to some families that are obviously at the poverty level.”
The (IELA) is located at the G N Sleight Elementary School and will officially open mid-January 2023. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place on January 6th.
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