December 26, 2018

Contributed
Day care center founder Linsey Alba was prompted to open her own business after struggling to find a safe and affordable center for daughter Savannah, above.

Contributed Day care center founder Linsey Alba was prompted to open her own business after struggling to find a safe and affordable center for daughter Savannah, above.

ISLAMORADA — Busy parents now can drive through the “tot drop” at the new Islamorada Child Care and Learning Center and get to work on time.

Opening up a day care was important to founder Linsey Alba. As mother to 2-year-old Savannah, Alba had struggled to find a safe and affordable child care facility in the area.

“We’re the only child care facility between mile marker 60 to 94,” Alba said.

Island Christian School closing their day care last June prompted her to open a day care, she said.

Islamorada Child Care and Learning Center director Kelly Garcia helped Alba with child care after the closing of ICS’s program, and Alba credited her for “keeping all the kids together.”

“We’re extremely happy to be here to help the community with young children,” Alba said. “We had a lot of help from people in the community to get our doors open. It’s been amazing.”

She credited state Rep. Holly Raschein, R-Key Largo, for helping with the start-up effort.

The child care facility takes newborns to 3-year-olds and encourages social and emotional development by engaging kids through interaction. crafts, color matching, shape recognition, and interactive play, Alba says.

There are three different classrooms, divided by age, offering child care from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

In the facility’s Starfish Room for 2-year-olds, children work on crafts, color matching, shape recognition and interactive activities.

The facility focuses on simple words and emphasizes “please” and “thank you,” for the 1-year olds.

All the children learn sign language.

“It’s amazing what kids can learn, and it’s important to help them be able to communicate before they’re able to talk,” Alba said.

Garcia and the staff are certified in pediatric first aid and CPR. The facility is permitted to have up to 33 students, with 17 now enrolled and four more to start after the new year.

Alba said she’s planning to provide occasional evening care for parents’ date-night. She’s also looking into what’s required to offer child care on weekends.

“We are in a service industry area, and they need child care, too,” Alba said.

Located at a former bank with drive through service, Islamorada Child Care and Learning Center provides covered drop off.

“This way if it’s raining, parents don’t get rained on when they’re getting their kids out,” Alba said.

Islamorada Child Care and Learning Facility offers a first responders discount and multiple sibling enrollment discounts. The facility is located at 82681 Overseas Highway, Unit B1, in Islamorada. For enrollment rates or more information, call 305-453-6784 or visit islamoradachildcare.com.

tjava@keysnews.com