August 19, 2014

Wolf Pup Daycare celebrates its grand opening in Watford City

By Stephanie Allums
Farmer Staff Writer

Wolf Pup Daycare is now open and filling up quickly in Watford City. The need for daycare in Watford City is immense.
With a capacity of 190 children, Wolf Pup Daycare is the third largest daycare in the state of North Dakota, behind daycare facilities in Grand Forks and Bismarck.  
“The new daycare is incredible,” said Katie Walters, fundraising coordinator and business manager of Wolf Pup Daycare. “It really will accommodate many of those who were seeking daycare previously - plus many who have yet to return to the work force since daycare was not readily available.”
Tessa Moberg, owner of Wiggles & Giggles Daycare, has taken over Wolf Pup Daycare as the director and she has closed the doors to her own daycare in Watford City.
“It’s a bitter-sweet feeling,” she said. “I still get to see the kids everyday - just in a new building.”
Seventy-eight children who were previously attending Wiggles & Giggles have been transferred to the new daycare facility. And the remaining daycare slots are quickly filling up. As of Monday, enrollment was at 109, according to Moberg.
“The kids and employees are adjusting,” Moberg said. For the most part, the children are adjusting just fine, but the infants are taking a bit longer to feel comfortable with new faces around taking care of them, she explained.
The daycare has rooms for infants, toddlers and preschoolers. It’s very well-segregated by age groups, Moberg said. The preschoolers are located upstairs.
“The preschool will have a great impact by preparing so many more children for their school years,” Walters said. “The facility itself is well-designed, well-built, and well-run. Parents will feel confident that they are leaving their children in a safe, nurturing environment.”
Each room will have a different animal theme, Moberg said. Even the exterior of the building has a “barn” look to it.
There are three outdoor playgrounds - one for preschoolers, one for toddlers, and one for infants, equipped with foam ramps and such.
“Our winters are so long and cold, so we planned for something indoors for the kids too,” Moberg said.
During cold winter months or rainy days, the children will still get to play indoors in the rec room, which will have scooters, basketball and more.
“Many efforts were made to include Tessa (Moberg) in the early designs of the building to make sure we were including the elements that would make it a great daycare,” Walters said. “We included specific features like the commercial kitchen and the multi-purpose play room so that the children could be healthy and get the exercise they need - even when we have subzero temperatures.”
Finding funding for this $4.7 million daycare facility took a lot of time and fundraising. Walters, along with many others, put in a lot of time and effort to raise funds to make this project come together. Nearly $1.2 million of the cost was donated by companies in the community.
“It was clear that the need for increased capacity and a better building for daycare was past due,” Walters said. “I was happy to help with the fundraising because so many people were without quality care for their children. I understood the need for the best facility we could provide while keeping the rates as low as possible.”
Walters has two children of her own and said she understands the need for a parent to know that their children are safe, happy and well-prepared for their entire lives.
“We made sure to design it for the children with parents’ concerns in mind,” Walters said. “I feel incredibly lucky to have been able to participate on the project and I am very proud of the end result. I think we were able to achieve the best we could with the resources available.”
For seven years, Moberg owned and operated Wiggles & Giggles. She has a passion for caring for and helping children grow. There are pros and cons to owning a small town business, she explained.
“I am excited to not have the financial burden of owning a small business anymore,” Moberg said. “It was difficult not being able to pay my staff what they deserved. You don’t go into this business for the money. You go into it because you love the kids and want what’s best for them.”
Originally, Moberg was going to go into social work, but decided against it after realizing that she dislikes counseling people.
“I was always known as the town baby-sitter in Watford City when I was growing up,” Moberg said. “We have always had the need for daycare here - that’s why I opened Wiggles & Giggles.”
Moberg could name each one of the children at her daycare by name. She makes it a point to get to know them and their parents. When the children are walking through the hallways with their class, they smile, wave and give her hugs.
“It’s a 15-minute process going into their rooms just to drop something off because they all want to say ‘hi’ and talk,” Moberg said. “But that’s what I love about it. They just teach me so much - you can learn a lot at a daycare.”
The old Wiggles & Giggles building is being purchased by the local hospital and they have plans in the works for it.
For more information about rates and enrollment at Wolf Pup Daycare, visit the facility at 325 3rd Street SE in Watford City. Their hours of operation are 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.