Now Enrolling: Carter Childcare & Early Learning Center


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Dozens of spaces for youngsters are expected to fill quickly as plans for the new Carter Childcare & Early Learning Center come to fruition with the opening of a new state-licensed, privately-owned daycare center in Grayson next month.

“We will provide affordable, safe, loving child care in Carter County,” said Owner/Operator Shawna Messer, one of several members of her family who will bring their extensive experience working with children to the new center in Grayson. “There is a huge void in this county.”

The new Carter Childcare & Early Learning Center will be located at 708 East Main Street, across the street from the new Bluegrass Animal Clinic in the former home of the late Carter County Judge Executive Robert “Bob” Waggoner, who had a personal history of helping troubled youth in the area.

The center will participate in USDA food programs and the state’s CCAP program, allowing income-based rates and assistance for low-income families. “For a lot of people it is either work or stay home with the kids, but not both, which forces a lot of people to just not work – or go back to school,” Messer said.

Children will benefit from the center’s use of “Creative Curriculum” programs as well as the “Music & Me” learning system, as well as outdoor activities which will likely include aquatic fitness, taking advantage of the existing in-ground pool at the former county judge’s residence. “We want to send them home happy and hopefully looking forward to coming back,” Messer added.

The center will employ a higher than required number of adults to supervise their youngest guests, Messer said. “We will have a higher than required teacher to child ratio in the infant room. Babies need a lot of attention,” she said.

Carter Childcare & Early Learning Center will have room for 60 full-time children, with before and after-school care. Plans and negotiations for a second center in Olive Hill are ongoing, Messer and family added. All Carter Childcare & Early Learning Center staff members will be state certified and have passed drug screenings and background investigations in addition to having current first-aid training, Messer said.

Haleigh Messer, Director at Carter Childcare & Early Learning Center, recently earned a bachelors degree in social work, and said she saw the need for quality child care services while working with family service agencies. “There are tons of kids in this county that maybe need a little more help,” she said, as family members agreed they hope to expand upon opportunities to work with those children.

Shelby Riley, Assistant Director, added the new center will also have opportunities for parents to be involved, including evening activities and birthday celebrations. A CNA with extensive experience working with senior citizens and children alike, Riley will also be in charge of menus, emergency management planning and development of technology.

The center will likely be open from 5 a/m/to 6 p.m., although customer schedules and demands could amend that. Messer strongly recommends parents visit the center’s website and complete enrollment application(s) immediately, as spaces are expected to fill quickly in anticipation of the center’s opening at the end of September.

“Our rates and the pre-enrollment are available online,” Messer said. For more information, visit or call (606) 315-9309.


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