"With a tree house and a little imagination, we can go anywhere."

 

Embracing children's imagination, The Tree House of Early Learning daycare is celebrating their fourth year in operation and owner Tamisha Sewell is excited about the future because she has big plans which include an expansion into a center setting.

Sewell opened the daycare June 20, 2015 beginning her new business with just her nephew as a client. "But by opening day we had five enrolled. We quickly filled up after that," she explained. The Tree House of Early Learning currently has nine children enrolled and Sewell said there will be 10 during the school year, which means she is filled up but she does have a waiting list one can inquire about getting their child's name on. 

"I accept children 18 months of age through school age (for after school care)," Sewell noted.

The creation of the daycare center name was due to Sewell's love of nature and the outdoors. "I'm very much an outdoor person. I feel that nature is very important to children's development and studies done on the subject agree," she said happily. "I wanted the day care to feel very natural — like we were bringing the outside in — and very homey. I pictured it a fun tree house dedicated to early childhood education and giving children a love of nature and of learning while meeting their needs along with their families needs."

Sewell has been in child care a little over 10 years now and she is in the planning stages to expand her day care into a full-fledged center. "I want to bring the quality of care to more families in and around Independence so I am in the process of securing funding to purchase a building we feel will meet our needs," she said excitedly. "Once the expansion is open we will have several classes ranging in age from infant through school age before and after school care. We also plan to create a preschool/pre-k program that children will attend in the morning and then be able to remain at the center after the official preschool time frame which will help parents since they will not need to come and pick up/drop off children in the middle of the day."

She explained the day care's current curriculum and teaching strategies are based around the ideas and styles of Montessori and Reggio Emilia early childhood education and they plan to continue that at the new center. "Also, once we have expanded we plan to seek accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and once we are accredited we will be the only center in Southeast Kansas that is accredited," Sewell said.

Sewell has advice for those wanting to go into early childhood education or child care, "Make sure you take the time to really learn about the early child care profession and seek out training." She said whether it's the local Kansas Department of Health and Environment courses or college courses, it's important to learn what you can before you get started on your career. 

"If possible, I would suggest seeing if you can observe and maybe even volunteer in a child care setting," Sewell said. "Then once you do get started don't forget to take care of yourself! This is a profession that tends to have a higher than average burn out rate because it's demanding and as caregivers we tend to worry so much about everyone else that we forget to take the time to take care of ourselves. It can be overwhelming sometimes but it's really all worth it when you see the difference you make in a child's life."

Learn more about the Tree House of Early Learning by visiting their website, indytreehouse.com, or their Facebook page, facebook.com/indytreehouse. Tree House hours are Monday through Friday, 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Sewell can be reached at 620-779-3906.