SPRINGFIELD — Kathy’s Day Kare has a new owner and will soon have a new name. It still has old educational values, however.
David Sharp, who bought the facility in 2018, has no intention of veering from the methods and strategies that made it a Springfield fixture for more than 40 years under the direction of Kathy Deason.
Deason, who died in 2015, was famous for her loving nature and desire to help children learn. She routinely worked 12 hours or more per day well into her 70s.
“Kathy had a great heritage and did a great job,” Sharp said.
After Deason’s passing, her sons operated the business until Sharp purchased it.
“Running a day care was not in their plans. Their mom ran a day care,” Sharp said.
Sharp agreed to keep their mother’s name attached to the facility as a tribute to her. It is already called Kathy’s Learning Center, a name that is in the process of becoming official.
“Kathy was well known in the community,” Sharp said. “Several people have come here and said, ‘I remember Kathy.’ We’ve got three children who are here because their parents were here.
“I want that legacy to stay.”
Besides the name, most of the other changes that Sharp has planned are physical in nature.
“Central AC would be nice,” he said as a window air conditioner hummed in his office at 1211 S. Laurel St. “We’re just remodeling everything — new windows, floors, blah, blah, blah.”
Every building on the campus is set for enhancements, including the house that Deason initially used for keep children. It is being transformed to include an administrative office, larger kitchen and room for infants.
The kitchen is used to prepare breakfast, lunch and snacks.
Kathy’s Day Care, open from 6 a.m.-6 p.m., serves children from birth to 12 years of age.
“So we have before- and after-school care as well,” Sharp said. “In the future, there is discussion of starting a private kindergarten, a private pre-K.”
At its height, Kathy’s Day Kare kept 81 children. Sharp is striving to achieve that number again.
“I’m adding,” he said.
After-school tutoring and homework help is in the works, Sharp said.
Sharp is also trying to obtain a grant to use for the construction of a new playground.
In the classroom, Kathy’s Day Kare uses the Bright from the Start curriculum, which features a stimulating environment with quality educational activities.
Storytime is a daily feature and the Springfield Music and Arts Center will soon offer free music instruction to three and four year olds weekly.
“That’s in the very, very near future,” Sharp said.
Sharp’s ultimate objective is the same as Deason’s.
“Our goal is to education children so that they can be successful in a pre-K setting,” he said.