Home Child Care Provider
Almost thirty years ago, Renee Wehrend became a child care professional. Having many friends with young children, she was amazed by all the ways children learn and grow. She changed her college major to learn how to operate a small business and before she opened her own family child care, she worked as the director for three different centers. With her daughter, who will someday take over the business, she cares for 16 children, ages 4 months to 10 years.
"We emphasize community in our child care. To us, our child care is in an extension of our family. We want every parent, child, and sibling to feel that way too.”
As part of their extended family, a parent, who is also a professor of nutrition, comes in once a month and teaches the children about healthy choices and nutrition. Renee ensures menus focus on fresh vegetables and fruits combined with whole grains. Children tend to their own raised bed garden and visit larger local gardens and orchards. Parents are given information on new foods that have been tasted and suggestions on how to talk about those healthy choices with their kids.
With an emphasis on communication and relationships, Renee and the children spend time in the surrounding community. The children attend field trips at least once a month and also visit the Senior Living center around the holidays. They are involved in the Public Works Day for the park that they play in and visit both the National Guard and local library. The center celebrates as its own community as well with big holiday parties and family field trips to places like the pumpkin patch.
Renee’s overall goal is for the children in her care to be happy, healthy children who become contributing members of society, living fulfilling lives. She has seen this firsthand as four of the children she cared for have come back to work with her. Some of those employees have even gone on to open their own child care. Renee has truly felt appreciated and valued by the families she works with and she is passionate about watching the children she cares for grow through the years.
From Salem, Oregon, Renee has been a CACFP participant through Nutrition First Community Action since 2002.