Life today is far more complicated than it had been in our parent's time. In the past, most families consisted of two parents with the father typically supporting the family while the mother stayed at home. Nowadays, it's often necessary for both parents to work to support their family and finding a good childcare provider can be difficult. It's even harder for single parents families. Lomeli's Childcare Center (364-3007) located at1240 23rd Street offers a variety of childcare services that not only relieves the stress on parents, but also enriches the lives of the children they care for. It is open seven days a week from 5 a.m. to 11:59 p.m. at night and accepts newborns to school age children with up to date immunization records.
On April 26, 2007, after a great deal of hard work, Angelita Lomeli, her staff and her kids proudly cut the ribbon for the grand opening of Lomeli's Childcare Center located at1240 23rd Street.
Knowing how much effort is involved in becoming a childcare provider, Lomeli has become a mentor to individuals eager to become childcare providers themselves. She is contracted with DES to mentor and teach CDA prep to others and assisting others with their licensing renewals. She is also licensed with the Department of Health Services.
The next step for Lomeli was finding a place that could be turned into the childcare center she had imagined. The old Red Barn restaurant seemed like a perfect fit, but it needed a lot of work to convert it into what she had in mind.
The former dining room had been converted into two distinct areas. One was designated for children ages 1-2 and the other for children 3 and up. Both areas are separated from each other and include toys, games and activities suited to each age group. Toys in both play areas are rotated out so that the children will experience a variety and not get bored.
All the children follow a basic daily schedule that includes activities that promote their motor skills, work time for school age children to complete their homework, outdoor activities and free choice time. The children are also provided breakfast, a mid-morning snack, lunch, an afternoon snack, dinner and an evening snack depending on which session the child is in.
Within each area are specially designated areas to help each child expand their minds. There is an art area for children to learn creative expression through the exploration of art. Every year the children are encouraged to enter projects in the fair and many have won for their entries. For the older children there are computers with software to reinforce math, science and reading skills. There is a library area to encourage reading. The music area enhances language skills, body awareness and rhythm through the exploration of music.
The children learn the concepts of size, weight and numbers by playing with blocks in the block area. Each area also has a television set where they can watch age appropriate programming, however the school age children are not allowed access to either until their homework is done. Lomeli says that most of the school age kids are so eager to participate in the after school activities that they are in the habit of finishing their homework on the bus prior to arriving at the center.
Lomeli has found that many of the older children often to want to help out at the center. They often spend time with the smaller kids, playing with them and sometimes helping them out with their homework if it's needed.
A separate room is specially designated for infants. It is a quiet room where each child can sleep undisturbed in their own crib. A section of this room has been designated as the feeding area with plenty of high chairs for the children who are at the sitting up stage in their development.
The staff of the center meets the needs of Douglas' multilingual and multicultural community. Classroom instruction and conversation is provided in English & Spanish. With a large section of the population being English Limited Learners, the staff strives to develop a stronger foundation in English while supporting the child's native language. Educationally Arizona is an English only state, so children with good or improved English skills have an easier transition into the public schools system.
In addition to the renovations to the rest of the building, the kitchen has been upgraded with commercial grade appliances to meet and surpass state requirements for meal preparation for the children. Parents are encouraged to prepay for meals; however, a yearly application for each family must be completed in order to qualify for free or reduced priced meals. The center does participate in the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP), a Federal program that provides healthy meals and snacks to children receiving childcare.
In addition to the kitchen upgrade, the entire building is in full compliance with safety codes. To enhance all of these upgrades, an alarm system has been installed in the building to help keep the children safe. Lomeli put the effort into all these upgrades because she's aware that parents want to know if the childcare center they choose is safe, if their children are happy and the environment is clean and germ free.
After a great deal of help from her husband, Bonificio 'Boni' Lomeli, the center opened its doors on April 26, 2007. "If it wouldn't have been for my husband," says Lomeli, "his hard work and the 100% (effort) he put into it, the center wouldn't have been possible. I thank him for all his help because I couldn't have done it without him."
Angelita Lomeli has worked hard to establish and maintain a safe, healthy environment for growing children, to expand their minds and their motor skills. She feels that children are eager to learn and encourages that eagerness. Lomeli has developed her own philosophy regarding childcare on which she built the center. "You have to take care of the kids from the heart. A child is a gift of God and a most precious one it is. (Parents) have entrusted us with such a precious gift. We will love, nourish and respect (each) child. We will always remember that this child is an individual and (they) will be treated as one. We will encourage and build up their self-esteem, not belittle or tear (them) down. We will teach respect by respecting, to care by caring and to love by loving. (Each) child should leave this childcare (center) wanting to come back, not with fear (or) mistrust. These kids (should) grow up and have it in their heads 'I learned it at Nana Angie's!"