Support quality local journalism. Become a subscriber.

Didn't get a chance to finish your story? Purchase a day pass digital subscription and you'll receive unlimited online access for one day (24 hours). You will have immediate access upon completion of your purchase.

A state of the art State licensed child care and learning center with a 100-child capacity will open its doors in Waverly this fall.

Ken and Beth Burrow of Waverly are the business co-owners of Families First Child Care and Learning Center. Remodeling of the 6,000-square foot facility begins soon on the site vacated by the Church of Latter Day Saints at 1661 3rd St. S.W., just east of Accel Group and Spahn & Rose Lumber Co.

“We have a passion for families and supporting families. One way families thrive is to make sure kids are well cared for and safe. Then, the community can thrive,” said co-owner Beth Burrow, a W-SR Social Studies teacher and Talented & Gifted coordinator.

“We saw that there was a special need for infant and one-year-old care in the area, and knew how our daughter in Des Moines struggled to find child care,” Beth said, explaining their business’s conception.

The facility will offer care for infants and children up to school age.

Co-owner Ken Burrow, a veteran W-SR business and technology educator and former farmer with an MBA in Human Resources Management, explained his passion for this new venture this way.

“I’ve wanted to be involved in a business focused on a company culture where staff want to come to work. We want to make sure staff are well compensated and employees are empowered and appreciated when they come to work.”

“I know people who have quit their job because there are no childcare options. That’s hard for our economic development, too. We can start taking enrollments anytime. That’s especially important for expectant parents to know,” Beth adds.

The Families First tagline, “Supporting the whole family by caring for your children,” indicates the special nature of this family-centered business.

“We are part of a family. We want staff and children to be appreciated and loved,” Beth says

The teaching couple has done their homework, which started nearly one year ago. Project assistance includes advice from Twin Cities family members who work in this service sector, the Waverly Chamber of Commerce, and the State Department of Human Services, Child Care Resource Referral, and site rezoning by the City of Waverly in January.

AmCom, a specialized child care architectural and construction firm will oversee remodeling details specific to child care facility needs.

“I think parents will be impressed with the technology we will use and the managed flow for children. It will be very modern,” Ken says. Teachers will meet parents and children at the door to minimize foot traffic.

Keeping COVID-19 on their minds, Beth and Ken Burrow sought advice and information from many sources, including Des Moines Methodist Hospital daycare, where their grandchildren attend and which has remained open during the pandemic.

“We will observe all of the State regulations. We’ve observed and will pattern ourselves after those that have been successful,” Ken adds.

The couple encourages area businesses to partner with Families First. For example, because child care can be especially difficult for part time workers, businesses can reserve a spot for a full time child, and fill it with two part-time employees. Reserving child care spots can be a recruitment incentive for businesses who want to attract and retain workers, too.

More information about Families First, slated to open this fall, contact familiesfirstiowa@gmail.com or use their Facebook link.