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By Cindy DiFazio
Carah Whalen’s inspiration to open the Orange Blossom Preschool in Pendleton was her own three children.
“I knew what I wanted in a daycare and the only way to get it was on my own,” Whalen said. She began renovations on the building located between the bank and post office in Pendleton in October 2007 and opened for business May 5. The preschool was whimsically named for a character in the cartoon, Strawberry Shortcake.
The freshly painted white establishment with the bright orange door features a semi-circle drive in front making it simple for parents dropping off and picking up children. There also is an ample parking area.
Computer check-in, featuring personal identification numbers for parents and staff, offers an extra measure of security. The cheerful classrooms are painted different colors - yellow, orange, lavender or blue. Each area features plexiglas windows which give the space a feeling of openness and allow caregivers to keep a watchful eye on all their precious charges.
Children are offered breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack in the cafeteria. The Orange Blossom Preschool follows all USDA nutritional guidelines.
Preschool director, Kay Wardrup Justice has four children of her own as well as seven years’ child care experience. She is CPR and first-aid certified and has earned a Child Development Associate certificate. Justice stated that one thing that sets Orange Blossom apart from other preschools is the one-to-five teacher to child ratio. This offers young children a lot of one-on-one attention. The preschool curriculum being utilized is approved for children ages one and up. Themed special days offer fun and imaginative play and learning. On a recent “Beach Day,” the kids and staff splashed in a pool and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the welcoming backyard. “I love to play,” Justice said.
The Orange Blossom Preschool is accepting children from ages six weeks to pre-kindergarten. Hours of operation are Monday - Friday from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information, call (502) 743-0460 and speak with any of the experienced staff members. Enroll now and receive half off of the registration fee plus a free Orange Blossom Preschool t-shirt.
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