Local child care expert Deb Pacheco is thrilled to be opening her doors to Gloucester families this spring with the launch of her new home daycare, Wee Play Infant Toddler Development. The daycare will cater to children ages one to three, providing development and learning activities specifically tailored to those formative years.
“I earned my degree in early childhood development, and I’ve been working with young children ever since,” explains Deb. “Toddlers are just so real. I love watching their little personalities develop. And to help them learn about themselves and the world is just so amazing.”
Wee Play Infant Toddler Development’s daily activities will focus on each child’s unique development. “No two children are in exactly the same place, developmentally,” says Deb. “So, the program will be shaped around the children’s individual strengths and challenges.”
“Of course, I have a few favorite activities,” Deb confesses. “I love all the messy stuff: watercolor, arts and crafts, play-doh. They’re so fun and also wonderful for sensory motor development.”
Deb brings over 30 years of experience to Wee Play Infant Toddler Development. Over the course of her child care career, Deb has worked in child care centers, designed toddler curriculums for in-home programs, served as an advocate in early intervention for children with developmental needs, and even run her own child care program in California when her own children were young. “I would absolutely recommend Deb,” says Francine C., who has worked with Deb to advocate for her grandson’s special needs. “Her love, patience, and dedication to children was very clear to me as I watched her interact with my grandson. Deb is an amazing educator and wonderful human being.”
Deb says she appreciates the positive accolades and recognition from parents and families, but that it’s the tiny triumphs with the children that fuel her passion for child care.
“I always think back to my very first child care experience, as a student teacher,” says Deb. “There was a young boy in the class, Steven, who had a very troubled home life.” Deb explains that Steven was acting out in class, so she would sit with him and find simple activities to channel and redirect his energy. “I would just let him scribble on the paper, getting his anger out,” says Deb. “And then, after a while, as he settled down, he would start making letters.”
When her student teaching experience was coming to a close, Deb worried about her final review, assuming the school’s strict teachers wouldn’t approve of all the time she’d dedicated to Steven.
Instead, Deb received feedback that remains with her today “The teacher told me that she was particularly impressed by the way I had worked with this troubled little guy. At that moment, I knew this was my passion and that I wanted to keep working with children from all backgrounds.”
On the corner of Gee Avenue, Wee Play Infant Toddler Development Daycare will be run out of Deb’s cozy, 19th century home in Gloucester, built by her great-grandfather. “I’ve had the most fun transforming a portion of my house into a playroom and learning environment!” says Deb. An amateur artist, Deb has created interactive murals on the walls at toddler height. And, just out the back door, is a private road and walkway that leads to the Beeman Memorial School’s playground, where children can enjoy playing and exploring outdoors.
Deb began preparing her home and daycare in late 2018, when she partnered with NeighborSchools. “Even with all of my experience, I’m not sure I could have opened Wee Play without NeighborSchools,” says Deb. “It is so reassuring to have their help each step of the licensing process.” With NeighborSchools’ assistance, Wee Play Infant Toddler Development will open as a licensed Family Child Care (FCC) program, regulated and certified by Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). All FCC providers are required to undergo trainings on childhood development and safety; complete a thorough home inspection and three-part background check; and maintain current pediatric CPR & First Aid certificates. In addition, EEC Licensors perform unannounced site visits on programs. To learn more about licensing requirements, visit the EEC’s website.
Wee Play Infant Toddler Development is currently accepting applications and scheduling tours, with openings for one infant and up to four toddlers. Interested parents can contact Deb directly on the Wee Play Infant Toddler Development NeighborSchools profile.
“I am thrilled to be opening a daycare in my own neighborhood in Gloucester,” says Deb. “Wee Play will be a place where both children and families are nurtured. We are all one community.”
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NeighborSchools partners with experienced educators to launch world-class licensed home daycare programs. In supporting the creation of more small-scale child care programs, NeighborSchools helps increase access to high-quality programs. Children benefit from lower ratios, greater continuity of care, and a nurturing home environment. Parents can discover and build a relationship with a Provider located right in their neighborhood. Providers get to launch the daycare of their dreams and earn a living wage, while working hands-on with young children every day.