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New daycare center is family run business | News, Sports, Jobs

New daycare center is family run business | News, Sports, Jobs

A FAMILY AFFAIR— For a ribbon cutting ceremony Wednesday, Andrea and Robert Martin, co-owners of Little Elephant and Friends Daycare Center of Toronto, were joined by members of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, city officials and many of the children they serve and their parents. The Martins run the daycare center at 1101 Franklin St. with the help of their daughter and son, Maria and Isaiah.
— Warren Scott

TORONTO — Members of the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, city officials and others gathered this week to offer Little Elephant and Friends Daycare Center an official welcome with a ribbon-cutting ceremony.

In addition to their guests, co-owners Andrea and Robert Martin were flanked by many of the children they have served since opening earlier this year.

Robert said they and their staff worked hard to obtain state licensing for the center at 1101 Franklin St. and are pleased to be able to serve the community.

Andrea said she had operated a daycare center in her Wintersville home for several years so she could spend time with their two youngest children and before that, had been an aide for the Indian Creek Local School District.

The Martins are aided in running the center with their two adult children, Maria, who serves as lead teacher, and Isaiah, who has applied his computer skills to arranging appointments for parents interested in the center’s services and other tasks.

Andrea noted Maria has applied her love of art to painting the cartoon animal characters found on the center’s walls and to organizing creative activities for the children there.

“She also designed T-shirts for them,” she added.

Robert said they have consulted Toronto school officials to determine how best to prepare the children for school and the boys and girls there develop motor and other skills as well as learning the alphabet, numbers and information appropriate for their age levels.

He said the center is an important step in acclimating the children to a classroom environment and the routines they will follow in school.

Andrea noted the center serves children 18 months and older and some are students who catch the bus from the center and return there after school.

Little Elephant and Friends is open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

With six staff members and several rooms designated for various age groups, Little Elephant and Friends has the capacity for up to 46 children at a time, but currently serves 24.

Robert noted that in addition to a large playroom, the children can get fresh air in an enclosed outdoor play area directly accessible from the building.

He said the building’s owner, Gene Calabrese, has been very helpful as they moved into the building, which is not far from the city’s south entrance to state Route 7. City officials, he added, have been very supportive.

“I’m really glad we made the decision to come here. It’s a super place,” he said.

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