There are few decisions for new parents more challenging than finding high quality, safe child care.
Fortunately for those of us living in Statesboro there are a lot of incredible options from small in home daycares to larger full service ones like Kidovations Educational Experience. I have been watching the growth of Kidovations Educational Experience and their owners Tina and Jeff Banks for the last couple of years after Tina was awarded a Statesboro Herald 20 under 40 award. Their growth is impressive. What is more impressive is the brand they have created as a leader in innovative child care in Statesboro.
In 2002, while visiting Body of Christ Church lead by Tina's uncle, Samuel Watkins, they felt led to move to Statesboro and help start a children's ministry in the church. They were living in Atlanta and Tina was operating a small in home day care at the time and Jeff was working with the postal service. In a matter of weeks, they had quit their jobs and relocated.
Slowly, Tina began building her business starting with four children in her home. The couple had a vision and a passion to do more. Both Tina and Jeff entered the Early Childhood Education program at OTC while starting their business.
Shortly after they graduated, Tina and Jeff opened their first storefront location on Brampton Avenue near the hospital in 2009. Just before that expansion, Kidovations was named the Family Childcare Provider of the Year for the State of Georgia by the Georgia Childcare Association.
"Our educational experience at OTC was first class," Tina Banks said. "It prepared us to not only open a successful business but one that would set the bar on educational experiences for the State. God led us here and we have been working hard to be good stewards of all he has given us. We know he has so much more in store for us."
Kidovations quickly out grew the Brampton location and moved to their current location at 3001 Stambuck Lane in in 2010. Tina and Jeff later purchased the building and renovated the entire facility. Last year they reached a maximum capacity of 100 children. They serve children from 6 weeks to 12 years old.
With no room to expand, they decided to open a second location at 1903 Parker Road, which is near Highway 301 and the bypass. That location is rapidly growing, too, and they hope to be at capacity there soon.
Their facilities are staffed with a highly trained and capable team. Kidovations is nationally accredited and always looking for ways to enrich the children's experience. In addition to exceeding the state guidelines, they also include Sign Language, Spanish, Soccer and Tumbling for every child enrolled.
On top of this, safety and transparency is a very high priority. Kidovations has a high tech security system which includes fingerprint access for parents. In addition, they have video surveillance, which is accessible at any time by the parents, and includes an App that allows the parents to stay in touch and communicate easily with the team. Daily, parents receive video or still pictures of their child doing an activity at the center and a daily activity report.
"As the mother of four, I understand how hard it is to allow someone else the opportunity to care for your child," Tina Banks said. "For this reason, we try to engage the parents as much as possible so they can "be there" for special mile stones. The web access and daily reports gives them that opportunity."
The parents love Tina and their experience there also. Suzanne and Jake Hallman's son Jude is at Kidovations Educational Experience.
"We already had friends and acquaintances whose kids went to Kidovations, so we got the inside scoop from other parents as well," Suzanne Hallman said. "The great thing at the time was the flexibility that Tina offered. We didn't want full-time daycare in the beginning and she offered part-time or drop-off as needed options. Jude is very happy and has made many friends at Kidovations. We've met several other parents as well. Any time I've had any questions or concerns I've always felt like I could tell Tina how I've felt. She always listens and takes action."
Tina and Jeff have aggressive growth plans. They are currently looking at franchising their concept and hope to expand to neighboring markets soon. In the meantime, I'm sure this dynamic couple will continue to provide unique, quality options for parents in Statesboro.
• The Bulloch Council of Garden Clubs are presenting their annual flower show on Friday from 3 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Statesboro Convention and Visitors Bureau, 332 South Main. The juried show is a much anticipated annual event. Admission is free and the public is welcome.
• The Professional Women of Statesboro is accepting applications for two scholarships to female Bulloch County residents attending GSU/EGC ($1,500) or OTC ($1,000). The GSU/EGC is for first semester freshmen from Bulloch County and OTC current students and incoming first semester students from Bulloch County. To apply have your child see their high school counselor for an application. The application deadline is April 17, 2015.
• ArtsFest on Georgia Southern's Sweetheart Circle is Saturday from 11a.m. to 5 p.m. The free public event unites the community in celebrating the importance of the performing and visual arts by allowing them to create their own art, experiencing cultural performances and treated their taste buds to culinary delights.