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Set to go: A different kind of daycare

Weiser Brothers General Contractors workers put the finishing touches on the River Falls Little Minds Learning Center building. Outside the landscape is being finished, and the parking lot should by paved by the end of the week. Inside the paint is being touched-up, said Kevin Roesler, job supervisor for Weiser Brothers. <i>Gretta Stark photo</i>

On Thursday, Aug. 25, parents and kids can check out the new Little Minds Learning Center building, and learn more about the new daycare that will have kids playing with play dough, finger-paint, and learning Spanish and sign language.

Megan Gaulke, director of the River Falls location of Little Minds Learning Center, said she hopes the open house will show families that Little Minds is not an average daycare.

"We use what's called 'high reach curriculum' as our base," said Gaulke. "It hits on all the kids' developmental milestones like physical development, math and science, creative expression, and reading skills."

Little Minds also gives teachers freedom to tailor the activities to the kids in their classrooms, because kids, said Gaulke, are constantly changing.

Little Minds also has a sign language teacher and a Spanish teacher who come in once a week, and a yoga instructor who comes in once every other week.

Even the infants start learning things like baby sign language and baby yoga with the instructors.

"It makes the kids well rounded," said Gaulke. "Its things that they're going to be doing once they get into kindergarten and elementary school."

Gaulke said in addition to helping give the kids a head start on kindergarten and elementary school, the classes also are fun for the kids. And the parents like it, too.

"The parents love it because the kids come home and teach them new things," said Gaulke. The parents, she said, also like the fact that the classes are all included in tuition.

The classes and standard at Little Minds Learning Center also mean stricter standards for hiring teachers.

"We have teachers interview with us," said Gaulke, "but we also have them do an activity in the classroom with the kids."

Gaulke said Little Minds looks for teachers who are really engaged with the children.

"We want people to come in smiling every day," said Gaulke, "and be happy about being there with the kids."

Gaulke herself, though her administrative position means a lot of office work, will be spending as much time with the kids as possible. Her favorite thing to watch, Gaulke said, is messy art projects.

"They just get so excited and love experiencing new sensory things," said Gaulke. "Just watching them get to be messy and get to be kids is probably the best parts."

Gaulke said River Falls Little Minds has hired teachers, but is still looking for a food and nutrition specialist to make breakfast, lunch and snacks for the kids.

The open house is on Aug. 25 from 6 p.m. to around 7:30 p.m. The daycare itself will open Sept. 1.

The daycare can take up to 113 kids, Gaulke said. Around 40 are registered now, with more signing up every day.

For more information about Little Minds, including tuition prices and job applications, visit

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

(715) 426-1048