Children attending Lakeview Village’s Child Development Center were treated to newly configured, colorfully painted rooms in December during a kids-only ribbon-cutting ceremony unveiling renovations to the unique learning center at the Lenexa, Kan., continuing care retirement community.
Julie Jegen, CDC director, said that the center started out with three rooms for children ranging in age from infant to pre-kindergarten, but thanks to the renovations, the center now has four rooms and an added play area that helps center teachers better group children for age-appropriate activities.
“I think it’s awesome. You look at the kids, and you can tell that it affects them immensely,” Jegen said. Walls were painted a happy yellow color with purple, aqua and green highlighting trim and doors, each accent color designating different age groupings.
The CDC, which currently has 35 children enrolled in its programs, has the capacity to take 50 children. A majority of the children come from families in the greater Lenexa community, but some Lakeview Village staff and Lakeview Village residents take advantage of the program, which helps prepare children for elementary school.
There are four grandchildren of Lakeview Village residents enrolled at the center; those grandparents take time to stop by the CDC and give their grandchildren hugs, or just to stop by to say hello. One Lakeview Village resident who has a grandchild in the pre-kindergarten program volunteers in the infant room.
Regardless of whose grandma is whose, all of the children call residents at Lakeview Village “grandma or grandpa,” she said.
“I remember one grandma came down and a little boy said, ‘That’s my grandma.’ Then the actual grandson said, ‘No, that’s my grandma,’” Jegen said.
Aside from gaining the tools to enter kindergarten, children attending the CDC get a real advantage by having exposure to seniors at the community. A small child whose grandparent was placed in an out-of-state nursing center reportedly had no issues visiting his grandmother at the senior center (as some children do), and was apparently known to be a friendly and welcome visitor to residents of that community, Jegen said.