Update: As you will see from the video and photos below, we first met with Creative Kids to do this story on a warm September day. While the situation remains much the same, we recently checked back in with Creative Kids Executive Director, Brandy Sroga-Coons, to see how things are going.
“We are pushing through. We have had more cases of COVID which has caused us to close down classrooms. We also are seeing an increase in staff being exposed which has made staffing really difficult. Enrollment is holding steady. Distance learning has been very challenging with the kids being in various grades which all have different meet times. It is definitely stressful. Lastly, the holidays scare me. It is hard to resist seeing family and I am scared we will be stretched too thin. I am also worried about financial support ending 12/31/20.”
Creative Kids Academy aims to provide the best care possible with creative learning in mind. Their ten early childhood education centers serve the communities of Anoka, Apple Valley, Centerville, Elk River, Lexington, Maple Grove, Minnetonka, Mounds View, and Orono.
With ten locations across the Twin Cities, Creative Kids was greatly impacted by a loss of enrollment due to the COVID-19. Even though many children stayed home with their families during the first months of the pandemic, Creative Kids managed to stay open so they could care for the children of essential workers and other families who needed care.
Sroga-Coons says families who wanted to leave temporarily weren’t required to pay tuition until the middle of June.
“Even though the owner kept reassuring us we’ll be fine and we’ll get through this, it’s still scary because we were not taking in any income,” she said.
Although COVID-19 has been challenging, adjustments were made so that Creative Kids staff could take on distance learning with the school-age children. They were able to enhance the school-age room to make it seem more like a classroom setting, enhance the science area, find age-appropriate math activities, and to ensure children were online for their classes.
There has been a lot of emotions through it, and we’re just trying to support each other and all the kids,” Giesner said. “As always, we’re trying our best to follow along with what the families want and guide these children.”
Watch this video to learn more about how Creative Kids Academy is providing high-quality child care to families while coping with the pandemic. This video showcases the Highway 10/Elk River location.