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Pollywog Place opening in Strasburg

Jamie Pence, left, director of Pollywog, and Katie Freakley, right, business/ HR manager of Regulus Group, LLC, the parent company of Pollowog Place, stand outside the new Pollywog Place facility located at Stony Pointe Way in Strasburg. The new daycare is set to open in January. Rich Cooley/Daily

Katie Freakley, left, business/ HR manager of Regulus Group, LLC, the parent company of Pollowog Place, and, Jamie Pence, right, director of Pollywog, stand inside the nursery of the new Pollywog Place facility located at Stony Pointe Way in Strasburg. The new daycare is set to open in January. Rich Cooley/Daily

Jennifer Strickler, program coordinator of Pollywog Place in Strasburg, stands behind a group of touch screen computers that will be used in the new daycare's curriculum. The new daycare facility will open in January. Rich Cooley/Daily

By Sally Voth

2013 is going to bring some extra-cute tadpoles, dragonflies and cattails to Strasburg.

A year after the first Pollywog Place opened in Woodstock, a second location is opening next week at 105 Stony Pointe Way, Suite 101, in Strasburg.

The state-licensed nursery and preschool is part of Woodstock-based Regulus Group, an aviation systems engineering firm.

Regulus Group managing and founding partner Karl Roulston noticed how many of his employees were having children, said Katie Freakley, business and human resources manager for Regulus Group and Pollywog Place.

"It was the social responsibility of being a business owner in the valley that triggered it - creating jobs and providing educated daycare for the children in the valley," she said.

With its one-year anniversary coming up Jan. 2, Pollywog in Woodstock has 75 children enrolled and 25 employees, Pollywog director Jamie Pence said.

In the Strasburg location, fresh paint coats the walls, the shelves are full of children's toys, easels wait for papers to be hung and drawn upon, light-colored wooden chairs waiting for little bottoms - with the teensiest of seats designed for the toddlers - are pushed into matching tables, and in the pre-kindergarten room, a smart board is waiting to be switched on.

Play kitchen sets - varying in size depending on the age of the class - are in most of the play areas, as are dolls and wooden doll beds, and dress-up clothes.

The classes for children ages 1-3 are separated by partial walls, while the infant room is enclosed, although there is a large opening in one wall, and the rooms for children 4 and 5 are enclosed.

Infants are referred to as Lily Pads, 1-year-olds as Tadpoles, 2-year-olds as Lily Blossoms, 3-year-olds are the Cattails, 4-year-olds are Turtles and the oldest children are the Dragonflies.

Several computers - featuring touch screens - are in the Turles' and Dragonflies' rooms. The reason for those and the smartboard is to better prepare the youngsters for public school, Pence said.

"It's a good balance between free play and then the curriculum that we teach," she said.

At playtime, the children are encouraged to use their imaginations.

"All the toys that we have are designed for creativity," program coordinator Jennifer Strickler said. "There's dress up clothes. There's blocks, and kitchen areas to encourage all that free play."

There is also a small playground just outside the entrance.

"They have to have an hour of outside time each day," Pence said.

Being state-licensed means stringent guidelines are followed, including how infants are placed to sleep, diapering standards that require three pairs of vinyl gloves per change and changes every two hours, minimum education requirements for teachers, and student-teacher ratios, the women say.

So far, 19 children are registered for the Strasburg facility, according to Strickler.

"We have a waiting list of pregnant moms," she said.

The capacity is 70 children, Pence said. There are currently five employees, but that will increase as enrollment does, she said.

Pollywog Place has part-time and full-time enrollment, and the Strasburg hours are 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. In Woodstock, the hours are 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

For more information visit www.pollywogplace.com.

Contact staff writer Sally Voth at 540-465-5137 ext. 164, or svoth@nvdaily.com


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