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Caribou welcomes Miss Jordyn’s Child Care and Preschool

CARIBOU, Maine — The staff of Miss Jordyn’s Child Care and Preschool, as well as numerous community volunteers, have been busily preparing the facility’s transition from New Sweden to Caribou for the past several months. On Saturday, they celebrated their efforts with a ribbon cutting ceremony at the new 60 Sweden Street location.

The former location in New Sweden was about 2,500 square feet, whereas the new facility is about 10,000 feet.

Jordyn Rossignol, who owns and manages the school with her fiance Daren Stone, said they had spent the past two years searching for a new site.

“We quickly grew out of capacity in the old location,” said Rossignol. “We looked at so many buildings and the second I walked into this building I knew it would work.”

They began renovations last year, and replaced everything in the structure except for the hallway floor. All the walls were painted, several rooms were gutted, and the building went from having two to ten bathrooms thanks to the help of parents, teachers, and community volunteers, Rossignol said.

At the new school, there are six classrooms as opposed to three and an after school program for children up to 12 years old.

Enrollment also more than doubled since the move, going from 35 to 82. Now Rossignol as a team of 34 employees including a night time janitor and cook who comes in to help with morning meals. Additionally, the school offers local college students an opportunity to obtain field experience hours toward their degree, and Rossignol said many students who began as interns were later hired on as employees.

The facility itself is unique in that it is structured much like a private school with a weekly lesson plan. Kids as young as six weeks to 12 months old are welcome at the facility, and there are programs tailored to each age range.

She said it’s more of a private school than a typical childcare or daycare facility, adding that she and the staff are doing far more than babysitting kids, but that they are teaching a curriculum similar to “what you would see at a public school.”

With the move into downtown Caribou, Rossignol said more people in the community are aware of their presence, and that she and children will participate in parades, Thursdays on Sweden, and sing at the Maine Veterans Home.

Children play with toys during the March 8 grand opening of Miss Jordyn’s Child Care and Preschool in Caribou on March 9. Pictured from left are Eamon Powers and Kingston Stone. (Chris Bouchard)

Christina Kane-Gibson, Caribou marketing and events coordinator, said the city is “extremely excited about [Rossignol’s] energy and enthusiasm.”

Kane-Gibson said she gave Rossignol flowers and a card for the ribbon cutting, which included a message that said, “You envisioned a better school, and you made it happen. You wanted to revitalize downtown Caribou, so you did.”

“She has created new jobs here and has created an incredible energy,” said Kane-Gibson. “She’s part of the downtown team too so she understands the importance of improving downtown.”

Emily O’Neal, a parent of a child attending the school who also has experience working at the New Sweden facility, said she was impressed with the transition and the positive impact it has had on her son.

“I love the new location,” said O’Neal. “It saves on my morning commute, not that it wasn’t totally worth it to drive to New Sweden. There’s a good feeling and sense of community here. It’s a tight knit environment where I know my son is loved by his teachers and treated as part of the family.”

She shared an anecdote of how her son was recently having a hard time due to transitioning to a different class in the program, and was crying.

“Jordyn was right there, so he went right to her,” O’Neal said, “and she texted me in about five minutes and said he was doing really well and that I wouldn’t have to worry about it at all.”

Madison Hannigan, a teacher at the school, said the larger space is certainly an improvement as it has more space for projects and crafts. The school’s indoor gym also gives the children an opportunity to play.

Hannigan said the public reception has been very good since they opened the doors of the Caribou facility in December, and that the program itself involves a constantly changing offering of projects, crafts, and experiments, such as learning the alphabet and colors, or making a volcano.

“We’re open to anybody,” said Hannigan. “It doesn’t matter where you come from or how much money you make. We’ve taken all kinds of kids with different learning disabilities. This is an open place, and we love everybody no matter where they come from. This is a safe place for all kids, and we treat everyone the same, whether they have Down syndrome or they’re the smartest kid here, we try to treat them all equally.”

Rossignol said the school will have an outdoor playground this summer and that the school is planning to start a fundraiser to obtain safe equipment for each age range in attendance.

“We love community involvement,” said Rossignol, “and welcome special guests with a particular skill or family custom. We’re celebrating World Down Syndrome Day in two weeks and are inviting members of the community that have Down syndrome to spend the day with the kids so they can learn about acceptance, love, and tolerance.”

Any parents interested in sending their children to Miss Jordyn’s Child Care and Preschool can schedule a tour by either calling (207) 493-4777 or emailing missjordynspreschool@gmail.com.

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