Mama Bear’s Child Care to celebrate one-year anniversary

It was a project initiated by three local entities that came together to provide more childcare in the area and it’s marking its first anniversary next month.

It was a project initiated by three local entities that came together to provide more childcare in the area and it’s marking its first anniversary next month.
It was a project initiated by three local entities that came together to provide more childcare in the area and it’s marking its first anniversary next month.

By MAGGIE PIATZ | Staff Writer

It was a project initiated by three local entities that came together to provide more childcare in the area and it’s marking its first anniversary next month.
The first anniversary of Mama Bear’s Child Care in Killdeer is Aug. 7. It was made possible through a pilot program by Gov. Jack Dalrymple, with matching funds from the city of Killdeer, the Hill Top Home of Comfort and the Dunn County Job Development Authority of Dunn County.
Selena Merriman, director of Mama Bear’s Child Care, said that each day varies in attendance, but there are 20 children enrolled in the daycare.  
While she raised her own children, Merriman operated a childcare facility from inside her home and went on to start a childcare business away from home. She was also a preschool teacher for seven years in Missouri – she is very familiar with the standards needed for running a childcare center.
Mama Bear’s Child Care is not considered a preschool, but Merriman does incorporate pre-school activities.
Merriman has three employees to assist with running the childcare center. 
Carnita Coker is a part-time employee who also comes with experience in the childcare field. She has worked as a special needs paraprofessional, taught preschool and also worked with Head Start programs.  
Susi Pelton, works part-time at the child care. 
Barby Muscha is a full-time employee, who Merriman calls her “baby whisperer,” being very good with the babies.
Each day when the children arrive, they are served breakfast at 8:30 a.m. Outdoor free play follows, weather permitting, until snack time at 10:30 a.m. 
When the weather is bad, the children have indoor activities to keep them busy. 
At 11 a.m., they go to the park just across the street from the Hill Top Home of Comfort and play there until lunch is served at noon.  After lunch, it is cartoon time until 1:30 p.m. and then it is time for a much-needed rest for both children and their child care providers. 
Free play resumes after naptime and they can play inside or outside until they go home. There is a large variety of toys – Play-Dough is always popular – and costumes for dress up if they wish to use their imaginations.
Mama Bear’s recently received a donation from the Hess Corp. for $5,000, which is to be used for playground equipment, as well as one large sandbox the length of the playground area. 
Merriman said she firmly believes that children need a natural place to play.  
Dalrymple heard of the great need for childcare facilities in western North Dakota and established a program that offered several grants for municipalities. 
The city of Killdeer received a $125,000 grant, which required a local match. The infrastructure grant was written through the Department of Commerce. There were several other grants provided to help this project be completed and up and running. The Hill Top Home of Comfort donated the land where the building sits and has paid the utilities for one year for the organization. The city also has contributed trash pickup for one year. 
The Dunn County Job Development Authority is the owner of the facility. Mama Bear’s Child Care is a licensed for-profit organization. 
If you are in need of Child Care during the day, please contact Selena Merriman, Director at 701-764-7120 orselena@mamabearschildcarend.com. She will be happy to visit with you.


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