Who is Bernie? We don’t really know. Originally called Union Day Care Center because of our relationship with the Wisconsin Union Directorate (WUD), Bernie’s became the familiar name children used when referring to the center. For forty years we were located on Bernard Court, so the origin of the name is pretty clear. We have taken Bernie’s Place as our official name because it conveys a certain flavor, at least to those of us familiar with our program.
Bernie’s Place, Inc. is the corporate entity that operates this childcare program. We are sponsored by OCCC, the Office of Campus Child Care, beginning in 2001. All parents, staff and board members of Bernie’s Place are members of this corporation. Our year-round program is licensed by the State of Wisconsin and accredited by the City of Madison Day Care Unit. Our license allows us to care for up to 56 children aged 6 weeks to 6 years, Monday through Friday from 7:00 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. Our Pre-K program usually enrolls between 35-36 children, our 2 year old room usually enrolls 8-10 and the Infant-Toddler room usually enrolls 7, accommodating full and part time schedules. Most of the children enrolled in the center are from families having some connection with the University of Wisconsin, though some children are from non-university families.
Bernie’s Place suggests a place familiar, warm, home-like and manageable. It gives kids room to feel comfortable, places to explore, and boundaries to help everyone feel safe. At Bernie’s Place kids find adults who smile at them and who approach them with caring and honest respect. The teacher’s manner invites a child’s closeness. Children find care, security and affection in the teachers who staff the program.
You can be yourself at Bernies
In this environment, all kinds of feelings are experienced and accepted. There is much happiness at Bernie’s. Children, and the caring adults of the program, bring a lot of enthusiasm and joy to their time together. Teachers look for and see much to appreciate in the growing child’s expanding experiences with self, others and environment. Happiness is sweet, but there are other flavors in our lives and our time together. Sometimes there are yells of anger, and sometimes there are screams of defiance. Bernie’s Place has room for all parts of us. We’re not always good, and we’re not always happy, and things don’t always go the way we want. You can be yourself at Bernie’s Place. You don’t have to hide the tears, the anger, or the happiness when it wells up inside you. Bernie’s Place is for kids, no matter what kind or how you feel.
Between a home and a school
There is a lot to do at Bernie’s. There are places to run and jump and climb. There are places to sit quietly alone. Sometimes, you can do scary things like going down the slide backwards, or hanging by one leg on the climber. There are times when you can play being the baby or big sister or the mom. Sometimes you can be the Allosaurus and be strong enough to push down a house. You can draw, paint and use glue during free choice times. You can do puzzles, legos, dominos or a memory game. Sometimes, the teachers will play board games or mix up a new batch of playdough with you. You can go out to the playground every day, and in the snowy winter you can slide down the hill.
Bernie’s place is somewhere between a home and a school. It’s a place children can call their own while their parents are away at work or school. Bernie’s Place is for kids.