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Nestled on the edge of Mount Airy Forest is a new child care center in the works. It is called Shine! Nurture Center and it is not going to be your average child care center. I visited Shine during their first open house in October, and I was able to see first-hand what makes it different from other child care centers in the Cincinnati area.
Mission Statement: “Shine is a Nurture Center which provides a healthy space for the nourishment and growth of young children, ages 6 weeks to 5 years, while they are away from their parents. Shine is committed to its four core values of promoting holistic wellness, fostering a connection with nature, providing developmentally appropriate care, and allowing space for character discovery and development.”
Inside, Shine feels like a home away from home. Since it has been renovated from an old, small church, there isn’t even a hint of big, fluorescent-lit rooms. There is lots of seating for little ones and lots of soft spaces for them to play and relax. The preschool room was complete during the open house and the infant and toddler rooms (downstairs) were still a work in progress. The rooms are just as big as they need to be for little ones to explore but feel like they are in a cozy environment. Shine is also committed to using materials in the center that are sustainable and responsible. Their tables and chairs were purchased from Community Playthings, which is a company that uses sustainably harvested wood and green manufacturing practices. Their infant crib mattresses were purchased from an Ohio-based company called Lullaby Earth (it’s the first recyclable crib mattress design ever developed). All infant crib bedding is 100% organic cotton, and there are many natural play items inside the center. During the open house, one little guy really loved playing with a set of beautiful polished stones.
“We believe there is more to health than a lack of illness, and that true wellness must include nurturing, nature-made, plant-based meals, plenty of exercise, and fresh air.”
Outside is probably my favorite part about this center. They have a large, fenced in yard that is separated into two sections. Why two sections? Because the yard is a very natural play space, and parts of the yard for the “big kids” have large inclines for rolling down or climbing up and aren’t quite as safe for little ones. There is a fenced section just for the youngest guests at Shine, though that’s not to say they won’t be able to explore the big kid area when big hands are able to help them! Taking a note from the natural playscape at the Cincinnati Nature Center, Shine is assembling their own playscape with mostly natural play materials and structures. Though tires are not natural, they have assembled an old tire climbing “wall” on one of the big inclines in the yard, and I want to climb on it! And being literally on the edge of Mount Airy Forest, they get many animal visitors. They will also be gardening on site in the yard to help teach children about the origins of food and the importance of helping it grow.
“Mindfulness is considered an important tool for teachers, administrators, and children alike. We believe that true discipline comes from within.”
Children at Shine will be divided into three age groups: infants (6 weeks – 18 months), toddlers (18 months – 2.5/3 years), and preschoolers (3 – 5 years). Shine will have a standard number of children in each age group as well as an maximum number of children they will accept, which is to allow for the fluctuating needs of the children and families. The staff to child ratios will also be much lower than those required by the state. See specifics below.
Age 6 wks to 6 mos: Ratio is 1 to 3 (state requires 1 to 5 or 2 to 12), Standard # is 3
Age 6 mos to 12 mos: Ratio is 1 to 3 (state requires 1 to 5 or 2 to 12), Standard # is 3
Age 12 mos to 18 mos: Ration is 1 to 4 (state requires 1 to 7), Standard # is 4
Age 18 mos to 2.5 yrs: Ratio is 1 to 5 (state requires 1 to 8), Standard # is 5
Age 3 to 5 yrs: Ratio is 1 to 10 (state requires 1 to 12), Standard # is 10
If you did the math, you’ll note Shine will have a standard group of 25 kiddos, though licensed for more, to allow for flexibility (10 infants, 5 toddlers, and 10 preschoolers). Shine’s program will involve seasonal and weekly themes that include outdoor play, water play, story and circle time, art, free play, service “jobs,” and cultural celebrations. The center is slated to open on December 1!
“Parents are encouraged and welcome to stop by anytime. We welcome moms of nursing infants and toddlers and provide rocking chairs.”
Are you interested in learning more about Shine! Nurture Center? They have an open house coming up on Sunday, November 9th from 3-5pm! Meet Katie, the founder, and see what makes Shine so unique! You can also visit www.shine-childcare.org. I highly recommend that you take a peek and see what Shine has to offer to you and your family!