(Editor's Note (Aug. 27, 2018): This story was corrected to reflect that Amy Hathaway of Little Guppies Daycare leases the space; she does not own it. Also, the name of the business that previously occupied the site was removed.)
A Bergen daycare has stepped up to offer services to children whose daycare closed unexpectedly.
When Amy Hathaway, owner of Little Guppies Daycare, heard that Grandma’s Luv’n Care on Clinton Street Road in Batavia was closing Aug. 31, she contacted the owner and asked what she could do.
Hathaway said she believed Grandma’s Luv’n Care was forced to close because of the increased minimum wage.
“I asked what I could do to help with this transition,” Hathaway said. “I decided to offer one week’s free tuition to any families who enrolled with our center. I know this has to be extremely stressful and hopefully, I can help ease families’ stress. I always wanted to give back to my community and I’m hoping my offer does that.”
Hathaway has owned her own daycare center for seven years. Her mom ran a daycare out of her home, so she is no stranger to the business, although Hathaway went to college for accounting. She worked at Paychex but realized teaching kids was more fun and started taking care of six children at her house.
She next advanced to group daycare, which allows 12 children in one home.
“Once I had a waiting list, I knew I had to get bigger,” Hathaway said.
When space in Arlington Manor, the former school in Bergen, came up for lease on Craigslist three years ago, Hathaway contacted the owner and signed a lease agreement, putting a daycare on the ground floor.
Hathaway hired Morgan Piccini, of Hamlin, as a schoolteacher, and last year made her assistant director.
“I love it here and can’t imagine doing anything else,” Piccini said.
As part of Hathaway’s desire to give back to her community, the daycare is planning more activities for the community this year.
They will have breakfast with Santa, an Easter egg hunt and a lot of outside events for families.
Hathaway has made some long-lasting friends since she has been in the business, such as 9-year-old Cameron Tomai, who has been coming to her daycare since he was in preschool. Another child has been coming since the age of 3 months.
“I really like it here,” Cameron said. “It gets me out of the house and I like to hang out with Miss Amy.”
Little Guppies Daycare offers breakfast, a morning snack, lunch and an afternoon snack.
Hours are from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.
They accept school-age children 5 to 12; preschoolers 3 to 5 years; toddlers 18 months to 3 years; and infants 6 weeks to 18 months.
Top photo: Children line up to go outside and play during a morning break at Little Guppies Daycare in Bergen.
Cameron Tomai, 9, chooses a book to read to Amy Hathaway, owner of Little Guppies Daycare in Bergen.
Amy Hathaway takes time to listen to Cameron Tomai, 9, read a book. Cameron has been coming to Hathaway’s Little Guppies Daycare since he was in preschool.