It happened more than 25 years ago, but Mary Wardlaw will remember it forever because it changed her life dramatically. Wardlaw, who lives in Niles, had taken her daughter to daycare that day for the first time in her life. Her daughter was 18-months old and, admittedly, "our greatest treasure." Mary says, "When I came to pick her up at the end of the day she was sitting outside the program director's office alone and crying. It broke my heart. I picked her up and left - and never went back."
Mary Wardlaw proclaims, "It was in that moment that I knew what I was created to do. I wanted to provide loving care for children. A place where children could laugh and learn, but also a place where they would be held and comforted when they were sad or afraid."
After 10 years of working in early education, Mary opened The Children's Center in Niles, and for the last 15 years she says of her team, "We've been wrapping our arms around families in our community."
Mary opened The Children's Center in 2004 and has been at 210 Main Street in Niles for 13 years, but now she's ready to expand and bring more families into the fold.
On August 1st of this year, Wardlaw and her husband Jay will open their second location at 1000 Miners Road in Saint Joseph. It will be a sizable venture with the capacity to care for 140 children from ages birth-to-12 years. She tells me that they will also offer the Great Start to Readiness free preschool program there.
Dedicated to her avocation since that fateful day more than 25 years ago, Mary says, "We've touched the lives of over one thousand children, and have given those families the assurance that their children are loved." She adds, "We are excited about giving parents high-quality care, education and love for their little miracles. We know we will breathe confidence into the St. Joseph community by opening here. We'll have a positive impact on this community and we look forward to sharing our heart with the families of St. Joseph and the surrounding communities.
Wardlaw says, "Loving children has always been at the heart of my vision for The Children’s Center. But, loving them is only part of the vision. How love is demonstrated at The Children’s Center is what completes the vision. There are 5 key ways you’ll feel the love once you engage with our staff who are committed to being the best for you.
- Genuine Relationships: We wrap our arms around families so they feel secure in our care.
- Thoughtfully Prepared Environment: Children are drawn into new and exciting learning experiences every day.
- Professional Staff: Just take one look at our staff and you’ll see something different in their appearance and interactions with you as they follow the planned curriculum with a strong sense of fidelity.
- Strong Program Management and Support
- Effective Communication with parents: Our parents know and feel how happy we are to see them!"
You can learn more about The Children's Center by clicking the link below, or you can reach Mary by phone at 269-683-0405. Here's the link: http://www.WeLoveOurFamilies.com