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Steeple Square daycare prepares to open

DUBUQUE, Iowa (KWWL) – The Marita Theisen Child Care Center will soon be opening its doors on the Steeple Square Campus.

Many families across Eastern Iowa have struggled to find access to affordable child care. According to the Iowa Child Care Resource and Referral, almost a quarter of Iowans reported living in “child care deserts;” that number increased to 37% in rural areas.

Now, the non-profit, Steeple Square, is looking to help Dubuque residents find affordable child care. According to previous survey conducted by the organization, 60% of the women surveyed reported having to turn down job opportunities because they could not find child care.

Construction began on the Marita Theisen Child Care Center earlier this spring. It will now stand in the former home of the St. Mary’s rectory.

“Seeing the transformation of the space, the preservation of another historic building and being able to engage in the community and serve another community need certainly exciting for all of us involved in Steeple Square,”  said Judy Wolf, Treasurer of Steeple Square.

It is expected to enroll about 70 students from infancy to preschool. The non-profit wants to help families struggling to find daycare in the child care desert.

“We plan to serve at least 30 percent low income families,” said Wolf. “So we’ll really be able to help those families who have that gap in child care that’s a barrier to them returning or being successful in the work place. So we can offer an opportunity for them to succeed.”

The daycare will accept children from infants to preschoolers. All families in Dubuque are welcome to enroll in the daycare program, regardless if they receive income-based assistance.

Preschool students will be exposed to a S.T.E.A.M. based learning curriculum. The program’s director said that it is designed to help even the smallest Dubuquer’s prepare for the future.

“Our mission is to serve the community and to serve the neighborhood and we’ll continue to look for unique ways to do that,” said Wolf.

The child care center recently partnered with N.I.C.C. in their Opportunity Dubuque program. Students within the program will receive free child care at the center and the daycare will remain open later to accommodate their night classes.

A ribbon cutting ceremony will happen on Tuesday, August 20th. The public is welcome to attend and tour the building.

The Marita Theisen Child Care Center will open on August 26th.

Ashley Scott

Reporter, Dubuque

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