Park Terrace, a Kisco Senior Living independent living, assisted living and memory care community in Rancho Santa Margarita, CA, has opened a childcare center to address the needs of workers who are serving residents while schools and daycare programs are closed due to the state’s shelter-in-place order.

“I knew I needed to do something to take care of my associates so they could take care of the residents without any worries,” Executive Director Geno Koehler said. “Margie Nakanishi, our wellness director, used to work in daycares, and when I floated the idea by her, she lit up with excitement.”

The community converted a building that was not currently being used so that children can be near their parents while they are working. “This was a multi-use building. We used it for anything from Christmas parties to lectures,” Koehler told McKnight’s Senior Living.

Park Terrace completed paperwork to become licensed to operate a childcare center. The children, who for health reasons do not interact with the community’s residents, have named the center The Clubhouse at Park Terrace. The program is offered weekdays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. at no cost to employees.

Participating children have their temperatures taken and are screened for any COVID-19 symptoms before they enter the building, then they are taken directly to the bathroom to wash their hands.

“All meals and snacks are provided by our culinary team,” Koehler said, and the children are watched by community employees, who also engage the children in activities.

“We are licensed to have up to 45 children, but we keep a one teacher to eight children ratio,” he said.

The community also is working with parents and schools to find a way to help the children who are in school with their classwork, Koehler added.