Standing in the parking lot of Caring Hands Learning Center on West Sequim Bay Road while holding her 3-week-old daughter, 27-year-old owner April Ferguson laughs as she admits she’s very ambitious.
“I’ve always wanted to open a child care center,” she said.
When she saw the building that started as the Sequim Early Learning Center in 1984 was up for rent, she decided to go for it and hoped her daughter would be patient and wait until renovations were completed to be born. It worked out well, though baby Clara doesn’t like the commute from Kitsap County, she said.
Caring Hands opened Sept. 19 with 11 students and has capacity for 44, with plans for an infant room in the not-too-distant future.
A mom to three and wife of an electrical contractor, Ferguson said she is glad she was able to retain a lot of the staff who worked in the building when it was Cuddles and Crayons.
“The staff are great,” she said, adding they all have backgrounds in early childhood education.
The building’s classrooms each have a theme such as reading, art, science and writing. Throughout the day, the children rotate through the rooms as part of their routine so they don’t get bored.
The primary goal of the center is to provide a safe, caring learning environment that will nurture social, motor and cognitive development of each child, she said.
“Those first five years really matter,” she said.
She’d like the center to become more community-oriented with parent classes and parent-child groups once they are more established and have space for hosting such events, she said.
The Sequim Early Learning Center, founded by Marilyn Sage in 1980, served Sequim for 26 years and had an excellent reputation for early education she hopes Caring Hands can continue, Ferguson said.
“For young people in our community, the place holds memories from when Marilyn ran the place and I hope to bring this building back to that same feeling when people talk about it in the future,” she said.