MONROE, CT — Grace Ferreira, a longtime health care worker, became inspired to open her own daycare center after helping to care of her grandchildren. She opened Little Steps Daycare Center in the small blue building at 575 Monroe Turnpike on Aug. 17.
Little Steps cares for children who are infants to age five, and combines age-appropriate physical development activities with Connecticut’s best early learning programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers, according to its website.
“It’s our mission to give your kids the skills they need to make healthy choices and live happy lives,” Ferreira said. “At Little Steps your child will gain experience in physical, social, emotional, and intellectual skills. Our programs are designed to have a healthy mix of free play and scheduled curriculum.”
She said this type of play will help children develop the skills they need to succeed academically.
On Saturday morning, First Selectman Ken Kellogg attended a grand opening celebration for the new daycare center.
He was joined by William Holsworth, the town’s community and economic recovery coordinator; Ray Giovanni, president of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and chairman of the Monroe Economic Development Commission; and other Chamber members.
“This is a case study in a turnaround property,” Kellogg said after touring the facility. “We’re so happy to have this new addition to Monroe. What a beautiful thing you’ve done here.”
Ferreira’s husband Tony oversaw the renovation and did a lot of the work, while transforming the interior of the former dental office into a space for young children.
The entrance opens up to a room with a table atop on a colorful rug with upper and lower case letters of the alphabet, chairs and a work board. Giant pictures of crayons adorn the blue walls.
A small staircase leads to areas for different ages on a light, hardwood floor.
A circular rug with the alphabet and pictures of animals is surrounded by a half circle of comfy chairs for toddlers. Toys are neatly placed in a laundry basket and small racks are filled with children’s books.
The open room also has a children’s table with seven green, plastic chairs, bookshelves and a gated area in the back.
Little Steps also has a room for infants and a fenced-in playground outside.
Little Steps Daycare Center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday and it is only closed for the major holidays, according to Ferreira. She said the pricing is reasonable and parents who are interested should call, 203-590-3638, to arrange for a tour.
Tours are given after 5 p.m., when children are not in the building.
Ferreira said she, and the four women who staff the center with her, take precautions against the coronavirus, such as requiring face masks for children age 3 to 5, and taking each child’s temperature before they enter the facility.
Ferreira said Little Steps Daycare Center has been well-received by the community so far, adding people have posted nice comments on the Monroe, CT Moms Facebook page.
“We are very grateful and blessed that we got this far,” she said.
Of the name for her daycare center, Ferreira said, “it was Little Steps, because everything was a little step. As we started the process, people would ask how it was going and we said, ‘we’re taking little steps to get there.'”