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This story originally appeared in Milford Live.

by Terry Rogers

Under the direction of Renee Bowe, Kidz Ink opened its new location in Milford Wellness Village with a soft opening on November 18. The daycare center welcomed almost 70 children for the first full week on November 30.

“The week of November 30 was our first full week open,” Bowe, Executive Director for the center, said. “We have a very good COVID-19 protocol for all our children to keep them safe. As each child arrives, parents must use a forehead thermometer located in the lobby to take the child’s temperature. They then access an app on their phone or tablet that allows them to enter the child’s name, their temperature and asks them a few health questions. There is also a QR code at the entrance that parents can use to make it easier. If parents don’t have their phone or forget, they can do it manually at the front desk.”

Bowe explained that the app, called One Place, allows the center to monitor the health of students and provides them with reports that can be submitted to the Department of Public Health to confirm all children in the center are not exhibiting symptoms like fevers or cough. Also located in the lobby are tissues, gloves, hand sanitizer and masks. At the end of each day, the center is cleaned thoroughly using a misting machine. There is also a housekeeper who comes in to clean each day. Teachers are required to clean while the children are napping, including sanitizing toys and other high-touch areas. There is also a washer and dryer on the premises to keep linens clean.

Bowe began her career in banking where she would participate in the United Way campaign each year doing outreach work. She began mentoring in schools and found that she had a passion for children. An opportunity presented itself for her to enter the childcare industry and she took it.

“It has become my heart,” Bowe said. “Right now, we truly have an opportunity to equip children for education before they enter school. It is critical that we provide very young children with learning opportunities in order for them to succeed when they enter school.”

In addition to surveillance cameras located inside and outside the facility, Milford Wellness Village also offers a security force that helps protect children. A new playground has been installed where the helicopter pad used to be for Bayhealth’s Milford Memorial campus.

Kidz Ink is owned by Phil and Aretha Kitson. The couple opened their first center when they were unable to find a quality program that was safe, fun and stimulating for their children. The Kitson’s spent years creating a program that would accommodate parent work schedules while also creating a family environment that encouraged learning. The center uses “Core Knowledge,” a learning program that focuses on establishing high expectations for young children. The program recognizes that each child learns differently, allowing them to create an individual learning experience for each child.

Kidz Ink currently has three locations in Bear, two in Dover, one in Smyrna and one in Milford. They are open Monday through Friday from 6 AM to 6 PM. The Milford center is located at 200 Kings Highway and anyone interested can learn more by calling 302-491-6611.