Badger is a family-owned, family-operated, and family-friendly company. For years Badger has had a babies-at-work program that allows new parents to have their young babies with them at work to help strengthen the parent-child bond. In the summer of 2013 Badger opened its own full-day, partially subsidized child care center offering reasonably-priced, high quality, flexible child care for children of Badger employees, as well as a limited number of children from the greater community. The center itself is located in the renovated house that was the former home to the Badger Company, a quarter of a mile down the road from the company's new facility. There is space for the equivalent 12 full time children in the program, which serves children in the age range of 6 months to 3 years of age. Badger employee’s children generally make up about half of total enrollment.
Katie Schwerin, Badger’s co-founder and COO, designed and established this child care program with her friend and former Waldorf School colleague, Betsi McGuigan. They examined the normal daily routine for children in daycare and asked numerous questions about how to best support the healthy development of young children. Through a series of meetings and conversations, Katie, Betsi, and other educators came to a few core concepts which have been incorporated into the childcare program:
Children benefit from more time in a home setting. If we allow families to establish the days and hours their children are in the program, and have the tuition reflect this, then families may be able to find ways to shorten their child's day in childcare, while also lowering the cost of the care.
It’s important to keep quality childcare affordable. The cost of the care needs to be set at a price that is more manageable than what is standard in the area, while still contributing to the program costs so that the amount the company subsidizes is reasonable.
Make childcare for a second child even more affordable. Badger offers a deep discount for a second child in a family, supporting families wanting to have more than one child.
Children are tired at the end of the day of playing and being in a socially demanding environment. Badger supports a schedule where children can be home for an early supper Badger closes at 4:30, which allows Calendula Garden Children's Center to close by 4:45.
Nurture a strong teacher and child relationship. Calendula Garden Children’s Center offers a higher Teacher to Child ratio than those required by the licensing – 1:2 for infants and 1:3-4 for toddlers.
The children in the Calendula Garden Children's Center have their routines of preparing food in the kitchen and exploring the gardens that surround the center. With the new child care center a success, Badger is looking into the future and hopes to share their knowledge with other businesses interested in supporting their employee families and helping business to become the community foundations that they once were.