HOUGHTON - In 1985, when Sandra Kaye bought her house at 709 W. Edwards Ave. in Houghton, she knew what she was doing, but she had no idea of the ride her private pre school and child care would put her though.
"It's an adventure, and it still is," said Kaye, the owner of My School Childrens House. "But it's the best job in the world."
Kaye's child care service is open from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday every week at her home, a business that has evolved over the last 25 years into a place of learning and preparation as children get ready to go to school for the first time.
An outdoor play area is shown at My School Childrens House, located on Edwards Avenue in Houghton.
"I help the children develop good character, discouraging them from things such as hitting, biting, fighting, lying, stealing and while that stuff happens on occasion, we're able to use it as lessons," said Kaye. "We prepare these children mentally, spiritually and physically for life."
To do that Kaye follows two curriculums, high scope and montessori, which allows children to grow at their own pace while becoming confident in themselves as learners.
"Children are all individuals, so we focus on the individuality of each child," Kaye said. "Good character builds self esteem and gets the children ready for kindergarten and beyond."
The curriculum has earned Kaye a sharp reputation and kept children flowing through her doors.
"We don't even have to look for children anymore, they just come to us," she said. "The word is out."
Kaye earned a Child Development Associate Degree in 1983, and worked for a federal program prior to purchasing her house, with the day care center on the main floor and her living quarters above.
"I felt like I needed something else, like I needed to spread my wings," she said.
It wasn't easy at the start, especially for Kaye, who kept the house up by herself, including replacing a furnace prior to the first winter.
"I had no idea how to do that stuff, but it had to be done," she said. "When I bought this house it wasn't friendly at all, it was just the bones of a place."
Since then Kaye has added an outdoor playspace, renovated the inside and even added on an extension with an indoor playset. The moves help the children feel that My School Childrens House, is their own home away from home.
"It is their house while they're here," she said. "The parents then learn and remember all the good things their children bring home."
Kaye also attributed the continuous interest in her child care center on the central location, just a couple blocks off M-26 in west Houghton.
"The location is perfect, I didn't know that when I bought it, but this is so convenient for most people," she said.
In 25 years Kaye has had a lot of children go through, and she said it's each and every one of those children that keeps her motivated.
"I like being a part of their lives," said Kaye. "Even if they don't remember me, it's okay, but many of them do, at Bridgefest this weekend I saw so many kids that remembered me."
Kaye has one assistant, Judy, who has been with her for over nine years. The two of them continue to educate themselves with workshops and renew their first aid certification annually.
For more information on the pre school and child care center, visit myschoolchildrenshouse.com.
Editor's note: This feature is part of a paid advertising package purchased by My School Childrens House of Houghton. Businesses interested in being featured on the Business page may call Yvonne Robillard at 483-2220.