Willow Creek Childcare opens

Nathan Steele

The childcare “crisis” in Custer appears to be shrinking with Willow Creek Childcare being the latest to arrive in the area. Seeing the impact that a lack of childcare options was causing, Trenna Cooper, a former nurse, decided to do something about by opening a childcare facility of her own. Cooper lives in Custer with her family and is also the high school competitive cheer coach.
Located south of Custer at 25263 U.S Hwy. 385, the home facilty will be open shortly, with mid-November being the target open date. As of Monday, well test reults were the last component of the licensure process to be waited on before Willow Creek could officially begin accepting children. The results were expected to arrive that same day or Tuesday, with the license following thereafter.
The childcare uses the Reggio Emilia approach to childhood education, which is a student-centered approach that aims to be student-guided and directed, allowing for experiential learning and relationship-driven environments.
The facility has a full kitchen, a large indoor play area with various play stations and plenty of toys and books. A second area in the lower level has nap areas, more play space and even a puppet theater.
“We also ordered an interactive astronaut station for them. It has lights, you climb in, it talks to you. it’s the coolest thing ever,” said Cooper.
As an RN working in the healthcare industry, Cooper knows that people often have demanding schedules that don’t allign with the childcare times offered by many childcare facilites. That’s why she will offer childcare during three different shifts of the day, allowing for 24/7 offerings and care. Willow Creek can also accept up to 60 children, with up to 20 per shift.
Cooper says that many families have had to resort to finding childcare in surroiunding communities like Rapid City, so by providing options here, Cooper says those dollars that would have gone elsewhere can stay in the community.
On Monday, an open house was held at the daycare for prospective families to view the facility and learn more about services at Willow Creek.
“I’m so excited,” said Cooper.
Willow Creek Childcare is currently accepting enrollments as well as accepting applicants for employment. For more information call 605-517-1222 or email tcooper@willow

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