High-tech childcare facility opens in revamped wing of East Winston
MudPies Downtown East, Northwest Child Development Centers’ new facility at 251 E. Seventh St., was a big hit with parents at its open house last Thursday.
The state-of-the-art 16,800-square-foot building is the largest and most high-tech of the six MudPies childcare facilities that Northwest Child Development Centers operates in Forsyth, Stokes and Davie counties. MudPies provides a creative curriculum for infants through five-years-old during first and second work shifts and provides before and after school care for kids ages 5–12.
“(Parents) can expect their children are going to learn. They’re going to learn the basics. They’re going to get an opportunity to experience real world situations in the sense of technology that’s age appropriate,” Northwest Child Development Centers CEO Tony Burton said, describing the MudPies experience.
He calls the new facility the culmination of the organization’s 43 years of local childcare experience. MudPies Downtown East features computers, tablets and other technological gadgets tailored to help kids learn. Two-year-olds can draw on high-tech smart boards, while older children will utilize the interactive talking “WePlaySmart” for educational activities.
“They’re going to get life experience right here in the classroom without even having to venture out of the classroom,” said Downtown East Director Marquite Goodman-Mickle. “Our smart boards are set up globally so they get to go to the San Diego Zoo right there in the classroom and take a virtual tour without us actually going there. They’re going to learn how to work through problems without us having to jump right in and assist them with the ‘We Smart Tables.’”
The new facility is across the street from Goler Memorial AME Zion. The church’s pastor, Dr. George Banks, was among those who stopped by during the open house, which stretched from the afternoon to evening. Banks, an incoming NWCDC board member, said the facility is a great addition to the area, which has seen a great deal of residential development (much of it Goler sponsored) over the past several years.
“Anytime you have an entity or an organization that invests in the lives of children, it is certainly a tremendous blessing and has a tremendous impact on the entire community,” said Banks.
Parents like Liz King gave the new MudPies the thumbs-up. She said her 21-month-old son Jameson would start there this week. Her husband works at Hatch, which supplies the technology at MudPies, and she’s going back to school. She said the family needed a quality childcare facility. She said the staff and technology, which the family has already experienced firsthand, made MudPies her choice.
“It’s nice because they have all the technology,” said King. “It’s crazy that a two-year-old would use it, but it really does help them learn.”
Brent and Autumn Hayes also plan to enroll their four-year-old daughter, Anabelle. Autumn Hayes works for retail technology company Inmar, which is relocating to the downtown Piedmont Triad Research Park, a location just a stone’s throw away from the new MudPies.
Anabelle’s grandparents previously cared for her while her parents worked. The Hayeses hope enrolling her at MudPies will help prepare her for public school.
“We were just trying to give her exposure to an all-day facility so when school comes around she’s more used to that daily routine,” said Brent Hayes. “…If it gets her prepared for school, that’s really what we’re aiming for.”
Derrick and Tonya Hannah’s daughter Brooklyn, who will be a year old tomorrow, has been enrolled at MudPies’ other downtown location (300 North Poplar St.) since she was three-months-old. The couple is transferring her to the new location because of its advanced technology and convenient location. They said their experience with MudPies has been stellar and expects that to continue at Downtown East.
“It makes my stress level a little better,” said Tonya Hannah. “My confidence is in MudPies … They haven’t failed me yet. I’m very pleased.”