Perhaps one of the best kept childcare secrets in Chelsea is the Kids in Motion (KIM) program that on July 25 held its annual picnic at Pierce Park.
Created for youth ages 6 months to 12 years, Kids in Motion is a year-round, childcare option for members of the Chelsea Wellness Center which provides “a safe, secure, and supervised environment for members’ children while they are using the center,” said Melissa Werner, program coordinator.
“Thousands of children have been a part of the program,” said Angela Sargeant, member services manager for the Wellness Center.
At any one time, there could be between one and 10 children in the program’s designated room, and those small numbers are one of the things that drew Sarah Sauers to the program.
Both her children, Joy, 4, and Caleb, 9, are enrolled.
Caleb said his favorite part is “‘the ball room. We can take out all the balls and roll around,” he said, adding, “The crafts are OK, but the reading is fun. I like hanging out there with my sister.”
Sauers said that Joy goes every week — she asks to go — but Caleb isn’t there as often because of his busy schedule.
“I like the computers and (drawing pictures with) the shaving cream,” she said, but, “playing with the other kids is fun, too.”
Sue Gillikin, an associate with the program, said that although there are quieter activities like craft projects and a reading area, “these kids don’t need prompting, they are usually moving, and they love the ball room.”
The designated KIM room is filled with bright colors, children’s artwork and “it’s a clean, kid-friendly area,” Werner said.
Danielle Matusik is skipping preschool with her youngest son, Wyatt, 4, because he attends the KIM program three or four days a week. “I’m going to leave him in KIM. He’s so happy there, and they love him. Sometimes there is a one-to-one ratio of adults to kids. You can’t beat that.”
Plus, she said, “Wyatt gets to interact with kids of all ages,” and those interactions are important for his socialization.
Sklee Werner, 9, said she’s been attending KIM since she was 8 months old. Of course, it helps that her mom is the coordinator of the program, but Sklee said she loves “seeing all my friends and spending time with them. I like to color and make crafts. I like all of it.”
Begun with the opening of the Wellness Center in October, 2001, the program provides “daily activities that promote positive health and safety through arts and crafts, active games and special projects,” Werner said.
Available to members’ children and grandchildren, the youth can stay up to two hours per visit a day, and pay $35 a month or $10 for a drop-in visit.
“We want mom, dad, Grandma, and Grandpa to be healthy and not worry about the kids,” Werner said.
The program’s affordability is another reason that parents said they enrolled their children in the program. Compared to some other options, it’s a lot less expensive, they said.
The program is available to member’s children and grandchildren Monday-Thursday from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and on Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Plus, there’s even an indoor sandbox.