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The Kiddie Academy of Vacaville is hosting the first STEM event in almost two years – The Vacaville Reporter

On their day off early Saturday, staffers at Kiddie Academy of Vacaville scattered throughout their facility ready to hug the kids who enter their doors.

“It’s amazing,” said director Melissa McMillin, who has been with the company for over nine years. “Even on the roughest and most difficult days, it makes my day when I see their smiles pour in and sometimes they need that extra cuddle time. We are a constant and they know they are safe and they know they are loved and the parents know the same.”

The Kiddie Academy of Vacaville hosted their STEM event on Saturday, challenging kids with fun games and assignments focused on science, technology, engineering and math. This is the first time they have hosted this event in almost two years since the COVID-19 pandemic.

McMillin is excited to play her part in hosting this event and knows what children can learn from STEM can be applied to their daily lives.

“Learning how animals move is a form of science,” she said. “Technology isn’t just about mom and dad’s cell phone, tablet or TV. It’s building with blocks and building with LEGO. Technique how to move a car. The wheels broke off, how do I learn to move it without wheels? Math it counts on our fingers trying to get things moving again. It’s (STEM) in our everyday lives, it just brings more focus to it.”

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Melissa McMillin (right), director of the Kiddie Academy of Vacaville center, answers questions from Luz Gomez of Vacaville (left) amid her STEM event early Saturday afternoon. (Photo by Corey Kirk, The Reporter)

Residents began pouring in around 10 a.m., and many were interested in how their kids would pick up from MINT.

“I was really excited,” said Vallejo resident Carlynn Williams, who was there on behalf of her nephew, Maasai Winston. “Just to see the facility offering STEM activities to get out and gain experience.

“Just being able to come to school and experience school better because we’re actually looking for a school for him.”

Throughout the facility, staff played, supported, and engaged with children with a focus on making the experience memorable for past, current, and potential students.

“I’m proud of her,” McMillin said. “We’re coming in, we’re tired and yes it’s the weekend. We put on our game face, put our worries aside and have fun. We enjoy these children.”

Williams was impressed with the staff’s work and the way they treated her daughter Kaelynn and nephew.

“They were really nice, I really enjoyed the staff,” Williams said.

For the parents of prospective students, this event provided their children with an opportunity not only to see how they are working on these skills or to find a potential childcare home, but also a chance for their child to socialize.

“It was so affirming because I was concerned about the lack of peer interaction with the pandemic, ‘Oh, is he going to be shy and withdrawn,'” Kim Frigon, who attended the event with her husband Robert and son Rory in Vacaville. “He’s the complete opposite.”

While the goal was educational and fun, it also provided an opportunity to ask questions about the academy and how it works.

“That’s one of our key factors,” McMillin said. “We would love to see new families emerge from these events. Hopefully we get one or two every time.”

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Three-year-old Olivia Mogess, from Fairfield, diligently draws while her father Marquis looks on amid Saturday’s STEM event hosted by the Kiddie Academy of Vacaville. (Photo by Corey Kirk, The Reporter)

Parents like the Frigons encourage potential clients to do their homework, but said getting to know Kiddie Academy of Vacaville makes the decision easy.

“It’s about reaching out to the community in a way that you’re not serving Monday through Friday, we’re going to do the extra,” said Kim Frigon, who teaches 4th-5th graders at the Fairfield-Sisuin Unified School District. “As a teacher, it felt like an extension as we hosted summer fairs and extended schools.”

With child care facilities scattered throughout Solano County, all McMillin knows is that they can stabilize parents’ lives.

“We’re here Monday through Friday, rain or shine,” McMillin said. “We are only closed ten days a year. Many day care centers close much longer. Our biggest concern is to make sure we fit in with the family.”

For more information, call 446-4222 or email vacaville@kiddieacademy.net. Or visit www.kiddieacademy.com/vacaville.

https://www.thereporter.com/2022/03/19/kiddie-academy-of-vacaville-hosts-first-stem-event-in-nearly-two-years/ The Kiddie Academy of Vacaville is hosting the first STEM event in almost two years – The Vacaville Reporter

Dais Johnston

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