Childcare needed in Mandan
By Dustin White
Mandan News, editor
Finding quality childcare in Mandan can be difficult. With the First Steps Learning Center having closed in November, 2103, the options for parents have become more limited.
Kids Imagination Daycare Zone, which opened in July, 2013, has reduced the problem slightly. “We saw a need for quality daycare in the area, and had the opportunity to help,” said Danni Zimmerman, owner of KIDZ.
Zimmerman has worked in the childcare industry her entire life. Growing up, she helped her mother, who operated a home daycare.
After graduating, Zimmer made the decision to open her own home daycare, and eventually became credentialed to be a pre-school teacher.
Moving to Mandan, where her husband, Paul, grew up, she began looking at opening up a center.
“Teen Challenge had contacted me, as they knew I was looking to open a center,” said Zimmerman. “It was an ideal space as it is close to the schools.”
Once the childcare center was open, it did not take long for parents to pour in.
“We have not done much advertising at all,” said Zimmerman. “The interest has been generated mainly by word of mouth.”
One of the big draws for KIDZ is the difficulty to find daycare in the area, especially in a center environment.
In order to serve the community better, Zimmerman is looking to expand her center. She completed an initial expansion in January, but the open spots for children quickly filled.
With space lacking in her current building, Zimmerman is exploring further options.
“We know that we need more space,” said Zimmerman. “We’re looking at a few different possibilities, from renting more space in our current building, or having a new building built, and operating both spaces.”
With the demand for childcare services in the area, such an expansion would be greatly welcomed.
Currently, Zimmerman is looking to build a second playground for the older children at the center.
In addition to adding more space to the center, Zimmerman is also working to add more services.
“We’re starting a preschool curriculum for the three and four year olds,” said Zimmerman. “We also offer transportation for kids to and from school, and this summer we will extend that to various activities such as t-ball.”
This summer will also see the additional educational activities being offered, including field trips to the zoo.
With the increased population that Mandan is seeing, childcare demand has continued to increase. Currently, in Morton County, only around 25 percent of the percent of the potential need for childcare is being met. The national recommendation is 50 percent.
One of the major causes for this is the increase in households with both parents entering into the workforce. This trend is expected to continue to rise, creating a larger demand for childcare.