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Early childhood learning facility opens in Buffalo Grove
By Kim Mikus | Daily Herald Columnist

Large play rooms geared to promote learning are a feature at the new Kids and Company preschool and party facility in Buffalo Grove.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

A malt shop-style cafeteria is one feature at Kids and Company in Buffalo Grove.


Bill Zars | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/28/2010 12:02 AM

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A business that focuses on offering enrichment programs to young children recently expanded into Buffalo Grove.

Kids and Company now operates at 1425 Busch Parkway, the fourth location for the 10-year-old company. Vernon Hills resident Steve Hoffman, a former middle schoolteacher in Florida, owns two centers near Orlando and another in Schaumburg at 1071 S. Roselle Road.

Hoffman says the centers are licensed child-care facilities, but not full-day care centers. The goal at the new center is to encourage the physical, social, emotional, creative and cognitive development of young children.

The center, open to preschool-aged children, teaches social and academic skills through hands-on activities in large, colorful play areas. "It's a very unique, large facility," Hoffman said. Instead of "enclosing" children in a single class, the children rotate through a series of educationally based areas that focus on art, drama, music, math and other areas, he said.

The Storytime Theatre, Construction Zone, Art Studio, Science & Discovery Center, Make Believe Neighborhood and Big Idea Center are some designated areas at the Buffalo Grove center, which also offers birthday parties.

"It's a wonderful place where kids move around from room to room," Hoffman said. All employees are certified teachers with Kim Woycke of Arlington Heights serving as the director.

A goal at the center, licensed by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services, is to provide learning experiences through play, Hoffman said.

Prices for classes, which run in three- to six-week sessions, start at $34 a week when the child attends twice a week.

Hoffman, 54, and his wife Sherry are raising two children, ages 8 and 4, in Vernon Hills.

Hoffman said it's tough launching a business in the current economic climate. "People are a lot more sensitive to price right now," he said. Instead of sending children five days a week, people are more likely to look at three, he added.

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