EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – In May, Karina Wyllie, a working mother of two in Tuckahoe who was determined to bring affordable childcare options to the area, opened Koala Park Daycare out of her Armourvilla Avenue home.
The operation – which initially just consisted of Wyllie and her mother, Lily Mazzarella – has undergone expansion recently after receiving a group daycare license, which will double the amount of children that can enroll at Koala Park.
Previously, the staff was licensed to have six children full-time and two more who attended after school. With the new license, they can enroll as many as a dozen children full-time and four children after school.
“We knew the demand was and still is quite high in the area, but I don’t think I expected things to happen this fast,” Wyllie said. “I am confident that the service we provide is of high value. We’ve created an environment that is safe, nurturing and educational.”
To accommodate the rapid expansion, Wyllie has hired three new, full-time staff members to help lighten the load on her and her mother. Each is a veteran childcare professional that is CPR certified and familiar with the area.
“Keera, Sonil and Cindy are energetic, loving, hard-working women with experience and training,” she said. “The children really gravitate toward them, and have learned to trust them in very little time.”
Koala Park Daycare remains one of the few local childcare options that is fully insured and licensed through the state. The new license does not change the company’s $1 million insurance policy that protects Wyllie and her employees in the event of an injury or accident.
“We’re able to ensure that the children’s safety comes first, no matter what. Our staff is qualified, experienced and undergo serious screening prior to being hired,” she said. “This is a huge opportunity to grow our business, but it’s also a benefit for all working families in our community who are in need of more childcare options.”
Wyllie, her new staff, and the various families that call Koala Park a “home away from home,” celebrated the new license at their first annual holiday party last week, complete with arts, crafts and holiday music.
“We’re trying to establish and maintain trusting relationships with all our families,” she added. “Organizing events where families can participate is a great way for us to connect with them on a different, more personal level.”
Families have been quick to flock to Koala Park Daycare since its opening, and it is expected that the vacancies that were created by the new group license will quickly be scooped up by eager parents.
“I searched for months for a reliable, trustworthy, nurturing and affordable daycare for my 2-year-old son. I thought I hit a brick wall and was willing to settle,” Chrissy Richy said. “I am happy to say that Koala Park is now his home away from home. My son is always happy to arrive and loves it there.”