Kid Country Childcare opened in June 2002 as Manhattan’s very first childcare center. We opened with four of the six classrooms licensed, and twenty-six children were enrolled the day we opened our doors! By the end of 2002, all six classrooms had been licensed and our enrollment soared to 93 children! We will be celebrating our 17th anniversary in 2019, and today our enrollment is over 140 children. Kid Country provides high quality childcare, preschool and school-age care. We employ about 25 people – many of whom live in Manhattan.
Opening Kid Country was a dream come true for Miss Donna (Naleway), the director and owner. The project all began at a family party when everyone talked about things they always wanted to do. Donna shared with her aunts and cousins that she would love to open a childcare center. The very next day Donna’s aunt, Loretta (Gallagher), called and suggested that they go into business together and open Manhattan’s first childcare center. It was a whirlwind of a year as the two worked together to design and build the building, create all the policies, forms and handbooks, along with completing the extensive licensing process through the Department of Children and Family Services. It was truly a family affair, as Miss Loretta was the kitchen manager and cook, Donna’s Uncle Kenny was the maintenance man and janitor, and Donna handled the day-to-day operations.
Through the years the Center has grown to an enrollment of over 140 children and has received many positive accolades from members of the community. Donna and Loretta created a fun, family atmosphere where the children feel safe and loved, and naturally learn. The staff has also benefited from this climate and has come to be a very strong group that works well together and creates great relationships with the children and their families.
In 2013, Miss Loretta retired from her day-to-day duties at Kid Country, but remained an active owner. In January 2017, Miss Donna assumed full ownership of Kid Country, allowing Miss Loretta to finally fully retire! Miss Donna continues to be the director and continues to lead her staff to provide the best quality childcare possible. From day one, the standard of practice at Kid Country has been to over-staff the classrooms – a practice that is still followed to this day as evidenced by the center receiving the State’s Silver Circle of Quality designation from ExceleRate Illinois.
Stop in today to see for yourself what quality childcare looks like! We’d be happy to give you a tour! Kid Country Childcare is located at 14935 Bruns Road in Manhattan. You can reach them by calling 815-478-7886. You can visit their webpage at http://www.kidcountrymanhattan.com/ to learn more about their programs and teachers.