Karen Finkelhorn - has more than 18 years of experience working with children. She attended Northwest Missouri State University, where she received her BS degree in Family and Environmental Sciences with a specialization in Early Childhood. Her first eight years of work were spent caring for children ages three to five. For the past 10 years, Karen has served as a teacher's assistant at Iowa Health. Karen lives in Des Moines with her husband and daughter.
Cassie Franzen – Cassie has been with UnityPoint Health Child Development Center since 2016. She comes to us with her B.A. from Iowa State University in Child, Adult and Family Services. Her experience with children is varied and goes from working at Lutheran Social Services to working at Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association.
Caitlyn Owens – Caitlyn comes to UnityPoint Health Child Development Center with five years experience being a nanny for four children ages ranging from infant- four years old . Caitlyn's education is from Mercy College of Health Sciences and Des Moines Area Community College. She enjoys training and showing dogs with her mother and she lives with her two dogs, Seeley and Blitz.
Sherryl Pearson - received her AA degree from DMACC. Sherryl began working at the Center in 1990 as an associate for all age groups. She served as an associate for six years and then spent one year with 2-year-olds. Her following 15 years would be spent with the toddlers. Sherryl is an avid reader and likes swimming, walking and spending time with her family, which includes her niece and two nephews.
Colleen Schmidt - graduated from DMACC in 1983 with her AA degree in Child Development. She began her work at the Center in February 1989, teaching toddlers. While not at work, Coleen enjoys going to movies and spending time with family and friends. She also keeps busy with crosswords, puzzles and games on her iPhone.
Mikayla Ulrick - has been at the Center since 2014. She is currently a Teacher in our Toddler area. Before coming to the Child Development Center Mikayla worked as a nanny and had experience in a center with children ages 6 weeks through 5 years. She has her Early Childhood Education Degree from DMACC. As part of her degree Mikayla completed her internship in our Infant area. Mikayla lives in Des Moines and enjoys spending time with family. Mikayla works T-F, 7:15-5:15.
Allison Vuong – Allison started at UnityPoint Health Child Development Center in Oct of 2016 and comes to us with 10 years of experience working with toddlers and young children. She graduated from Des Moines Area Community College in 2011 with her Associates degree. Her hobbies include cleaning and organizing, spending time with her fiancé, Quinten, who also works for UnityPoint Health and spending time with her adult daughter Ester.
Things you need to know about the Toddler area:
Our ratio is the same as in the infant room, one adult for every four children. There are four rooms in the toddler area. Group size in each room is one teacher with four children or two teachers with eight children.
Parents need to bring their own diapers, wipes, ointments and a change of clothing for their children.
At approximately 18 months of age, the children are transitioned out of their toddler crib and on to the toddler cot. As children awaken from naps, they are allowed to get up and play quietly. Awake children do not remain on their cots.
The daily information sheets are continued by the parents and staff until your child moves to the Moonbeam area.
All four toddler rooms follow the same daily schedule. Your child may visit other toddler rooms, the infant or Moonbeam area depending on the number of children scheduled.
The children wash their hands under running water before meals and after diaper changes. It is helpful if parents can expose them to running water at home before they are in the toddler area.
We use the portfolio system to track your child's development and share it with you every six months, and before your child moves to the next age group.
The following objectives have been set for the toddler area:
- To use a spoon and cup to feed themselves.
- To encourage "talking" and using new vocabulary words.
- To sit in a chair for meals.
- To encourage children to be "good helpers" in picking up and following directions.
- To participate in group and learning center activities with emphasis on social interaction and skill development.
- To begin to become cooperative, control frustrations and understand their bodies.
General Schedule for the Day
9:00 Diapers/Learning Centers
9:15 Outside Time/Gym Time
2:30 Diapers/Wake Up
3:30 Learning Centers
3:45 Outside Time/Gym Time
5:30 Remaining Groups Combine
Child Care Plan for Toddlers