KidsPark's Silver Anniversary has a Silver Lining: Helping Families
November 27, 2013 // Franchising.com // KidsPark celebrates 25 years of providing licensed hourly childcare to Bay area families and being named to Franchise Business Review‘s 2014 Top Awards Report. When KidsPark opened their doors the day after Thanksgiving, 1988, Black Friday became the red-letter day parents could get help with childcare without a contract and non-traditional hours - evenings and weekends in addition to days. Families opt to "KidsPark" when they need short-term care without reservations. Parents keep appointments, attend events, run errands go to dinner and a movie or work while their children are safe and participate in art, games, cooking, drama, music, stories, science experiments … fun.
More than 100,000 children have visited the San Jose KidsParks. So many, in fact, Debra Milner the founder and CEO, quips, " Whenever I meet a person in their 20"s they happily recall their visits to KidsPark. It is pretty special to be a part of their memories and makes me realize how much we have become part of the Valley’s fabric."
KidsPark has grown-up, too. They now offer additional programs to meet the needs of today’s families:
- Smart Start preschool that incorporates The Arts, science and math concepts. Uniquely, parents pick their schedule.
- Back-up care when school or other childcare providers are closed.
- Fun private parties with game and craft activities led by a KidsPark hostess so parents can focus on their child and taking pictures.
The KidsPark concept became so popular it received calls to open centers outside the Bay area. They started franchising in 2005 and now have 15 centers in 7 states: 8 centers in California and centers in TX, KS, AZ, FL, TN and PA. Franchise Business Review’s Top Awards Report recognizes our strong commitment to our franchisees. KidsPark wants to grow and maintain our core strengths of quality care and service to children, families and franchisees.
What’s changed since 1988?
- Dads equally participate in coordinating childcare and activities.
- More visits are work related during the week due to telecommuting and more flexible work schedules.
- The rage for kids in 1988 was television based - Power Rangers and Ninja Turtles. Now, it is video games.
- Pagers? Does anyone remember pagers? KidsPark used to give each parent a pager in case they needed to be reached.
- "Hourly care" has replaced "baby-sitting" as the accepted service description.
Company Fact Sheet
Founded in Silicon Valley, KidsPark is an hourly childcare center staffed by professional caregivers for preschool and school age children. KidsPark is a unique childcare solution in a safe and fun space that is available without making a reservation – parents can drop their children by days, evenings or weekends (open until midnight Friday and Saturday nights). They also do backup care when school is out of session – whenever they need childcare for half the price of a babysitter in most cities (San Jose parents pay about $15 per hour for a sitter or nanny and KidsPark charges start at $7.50 an hour).
To date, KidsPark has 15 locations across the country — Arlington/Texas, 2 in Jacksonville/FL, Scottsdale/AZ, Olathe/Kansas, Willow Grove/PA, Chatanooga/TN and 8 centers in California – Chico, Northridge, Corona, Fresno, Rocklin, Sacramento, and 2 centers in San Jose. Founded in May 1988, KidsPark is a privately held company based in San Jose, California.
Debra Milner founder and CEO of KidsPark hourly childcare centers founded KidsPark in 1988 after a career in Information Systems with Hewlett Packard. Prior to that, she worked in Production Management for both the electronics and toy industries. Debra created KidsPark out of her personal need to find high quality, fun, short-term care for her daughter, Rita. She is dedicated to answering this special need in the community and currently focuses on strategic issues, marketing and national expansion of KidsPark through franchises.
Leslie Gamez, Vice President of Franchises and Operations for KidsPark hourly childcare centers. Leslie joined KidsPark in 1994 as a teacher and steadily advanced throughout the company. With 25 years experience in the childcare field, she now develops and oversees program, operations and training for KidsPark centers across the nation. But she is never far from the kids – you will often find her in the centers leading games, doing art and giving hugs. Leslie is mom to 3 daughters.
KidsPark staff are hired because they are energetic, creative people who enjoy interacting with children, and are:
- Certified in First Aid and CPR
- Screened by the Department of Justice
- Trained in Early Childhood Education and Recreation
- Required to attend staff development and skill building workshops and classes
KidsPark exceeds state licensing requirements by providing an average teacher-child ratio of 1:8. In addition, there are always at least 2 staff members on site at all times. If a child needs one-on-one attention, another teacher is available to the group.
KidsPark’s rates are extremely reasonable and run between $7.50-$8.00 per hour for one child. There are discounts for siblings.
KidsPark play spaces offer many entertaining and learning activities through a mix of teacher-organized and child-initiated activities in both group and individual settings. For example:
- Creation Station promotes fine motor development and sensory exploration. Kids participate in art, cooking and hands-on science.
- Activity Area builds self-confidence and imagination. Kids individually or in groups play with a wide assortment of toys, pretend in the playhouse or investigate the book nook.
- Mountain of Energy bolsters coordination and cooperation. Kids run, jump, climb and slide. The structure can be mountain, a castle or a space ship. Imagination is the key.
- Theater enhances language and listening skills. This area is used for story times, music, G-rated movies, games and guest performers.
- Blue Crew is the designated school-age area that encourages interaction with peers. Older kids participate in more detailed art, age appropriate games, non-violent video games and a quiet place to do their homework. During school vacations special activities are planned.
- Action Games are offered hourly in our Activity Area. Games may include parachute play, relay races, jump rope, balloon volleyball and ribbon dancing. The chosen activity is based on the interest, age and energy level of the children present.
- Jumping, Climbing and Sliding take place on our Mountain of Energy that has been custom designed as a safe outlet for indoor play.
KidsPark centers offer an ever-changing seasonal calendar of events – here’s what coming up in November and December:
School Age Fall Break Camp
Monday, November 25 - Friday, November 29
Gobble. Gobble. Fall fun ahead. Enjoy cooking, cool crafts and games daily. Shake a tail feather over and spend your Fall break with us. School is out...KidsPark is in!
Handprint Turkey Keepsake
Wednesday, November 27
Gobble! Gobble! Create a keepsake your family can save to always remember your special hands.
Sunday Morning Cooking Class: Mini Apple Pie
Sunday, December 1
Inspire, excite and develop the growing gourmet! Mix, knead and make pie dough from scratch. Use an old fashioned hand crank to peel juicy apples. Turn it into a mini apple pie to take home and bake. Class offered at our Stevens Creek location from 10:30am-12:30pm. $15-includes all supplies and two hours of culinary fun.
Ball of String Ornament
Friday, December 6
Roll in to show your craftiness. Create an ornament that will fill your home with holiday cheer!
Homemade Candy Cane Dough
Wednesday, December 11
Create your very own candy cane-licious dough! Make some for yourself or give as a gift. No knead to worry there is plenty to go around.
Holiday Gift Workshop
Saturday, December 14
Shh-it's a surprise. Take home a gift for someone special!
Saturday, December 21
Chill with us! Our winter wonderland is so cool it's hot.
School Age Winter Break Camp
Monday, December 23 - Friday, January 3
Our Winter Camp is so cool it's hot! Spend your holiday break with us. Enjoy cooking, science, games and crafts daily. School is out...KidsPark is in!
KidsPark centers offer private parties on Sundays
Preschool education programs
KidsPark Website: www.kidspark.com
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