BROCKWAY — The Laugh and Learn Daycare on Broad Street in Brockway has been finding its feet since opening last May, but new director Jordan Brinkley says the daycare has found its focus.
“In Brockway, it’s important to be involved in the community,” Brinkley said. “I think we do a wonderful job, and the children see how important community involvement is.”
Brinkley recently assumed the title of director of Laugh and Learn, a daycare run by the Brookville YMCA. She has a degree in human development and family studies from Penn State University, but her connection to the community runs deeper.
She grew up in Brockway.
“I’ve spent my entire life here,” she said. “I know Brockway.”
Brinkley is the daughter of William and Melissa Hrinya. William Hrinya has been mayor of Brockway since Brinkley was in elementary school. Her whole life has been about giving back to the community. Now, she gets to steer the daycare that filled a much-needed void in the community.
When Pendleton Child Care unexpectedly closed its doors in Brockway, residents and workers in the town found themselves without anywhere close for daycare. The Brookville YMCA Laugh and Learn Daycare opened in the old Pendleton’s location. The process was streamlined by the Brookville YMCA’s involvement.
Brookville YMCA Director Tina Householder connected with a Brockway resident who purchased the old Pendleton’s building. Since then, the daycare has been going strong.
“We’re growing,” Brinkley said. “We’re adding a few more kids this year. We were able to hire one of our interns. Having interns is amazing – we just got started and people say they want to be a part of what we do here.”
Part of Brinkley’s direction for the daycare is to engage the children beyond just changing diapers and putting them down for naps.
“It was a learning curve for me when I started,” she said. “Now, we do crafts, I create a newsletter to keep our parents informed, we go outside as often as we can, and we have the kids involved and learning.”
Brinkley said that working with children to improve manners and respectfulness is part of giving back to the community, and she works on those skills with the children. She also builds a community within the daycare. They have a birthday party every month, celebrating everyone who has a birthday in that month. Intern Madison Rummel came up with an idea from Pinterest and Brinkley printed it out, hanging up balloons and a house like the movie “Up,” listing the children and their birthdays.
“I don’t have to go digging through paperwork to find out when someone’s birthday is,” Brinkley said. “We have it all up there and can see who we’re celebrating.”
The growth of the daycare is being noticed by the families, who Brinkley involves in the daycare’s direction.
“We’re constantly asking parents what they want us to do, and they’ve been receptive and wonderful,” Brinkley added. “The families love it, and our parents make positive comments about what we’re doing.”
Brinkley said Householder has been a great sounding board for coming up with new ideas as well, and she is thankful to be working for her.
“Tina has been wonderful,” Brinkley said. “If I don’t know what to do, she does. If I bounce an idea off her, she says to go for it.”
Laugh and Learn has a few openings left, but the slots are filling up. Brinkley said she does not like to tell parents no, but she is excited for the way the daycare is growing.
“In a year, I hope to be at maximum capacity and have a full classroom in our preschool,” Brinkley said. “And I hope we’re even more involved in the community than we are now. I want this facility to be about the community, and not just about us and our kids.”
For more information about Brookville YMCA’s Laugh and Learn Daycare, the center can be reached at 268-2030.