Sand Box Child Care & PreSchool
Providing Stable, Flexible Child Care Services for Over 40 Years
The mission of the Sand Box Child Care & Preschool is to provide quality child care programs and learning experiences for children in a safe and caring environment, helping them to develop socially, creatively, emotionally, physically and intellectually.
About Sand Box Child Care & PreSchool
Sand Box - Over 40 years of Child Care Services to Taylor County:
In 1972, Lynn Malstrom had an idea to start Nursery School for three and four year olds in Medford. At that time, a nursery school would have been equivalent to what we now know as a preschool environment.
Mrs. Malstrom was a stay-at-home Mother, and wanted to do something that would benefit the community. The Nursery School started at St. Paul's Lutheran Church located at 321 N Park St. The first license issued by the state of Wisconsin was granted to Mrs. Lynn Malstrom on September 30, 1974. Sand Box, Inc. was licensed for 16 children, Monday - Friday from 6:30 am - 5:15 pm, September to May.
In 1976, when the license was renewed, they increased their capacity to 20 children and offered services year round. The nursery school was also known as Happy Hands Nursery School.
In 1978, Sand Box, Inc. expanded and opened a group child care center at 321 North Park Street. The space was shared with the Episcopal Church. Although the license indicates that they offered care for 6 weeks to 6 years, the story goes that infant care was not offered until much later when the Child Service Society brought infant care into the UW-Extension. The Sand Box Daycare moved in the Knights of Columbus building at 251 S Washington St, around 1982 and remained there until 1991.
In 1989, The Sand Box Child Care & Preschool building began construction. Board President, John Klingbeil was very instrumental in enlisting the community's help with supplies and labor. Land on Cedar Street was donated by Richard and Joanne Simek. In addition to Mr. Klingbeil, other board members included: Peggy Nordgren, Doreen Eldred, Patti Krug and Lisa Dobberke. The Board received generous support from many community members including WeatherShield Mfg, Inc., Hurds, Tombstone Pizza Foundation, Klingbeil Lumber, The Hedlund Agency, National Management Association, New Concept Builders, James and Donna Gummerson, Curt's Home Improvements, United Way, and Ann Marie Foundation, to name a few.
According to the licenses provided by the state, infant care was taken over by Sand Box in 1989 at the UW-Extension location (624 E College Ave) and in 1990. Upon completion of the new building on Cedar St. the three groups (nursery school, daycare and infant care) began consolidating into the new location. The first official license for the Sand Box Group Day Care Center was issued in June of 1990 for 664 W Cedar Street location.
There were a few minor changes made to the interior at Sand Box soon after the consolidation to improve the environments for infant and toddler care. Space was divided differently which included adding some sinks and upgrading plumbing to meet licensing requirements. Mary Gerstsberger is one of Sand Box's longest employed teachers. She was hired in 1995 and has seen many changes within the industry including licensing updates, changes in the business, and requirements associated with care provided for the children.
Mary's sister, Julie has also been part of the changes during her 16 years at Sand Box. Upon entering the field, the only requirement was 40 hours of training in the area of child development to qualify as an Early Childhood Teacher. Both are now pursuing an Associate Degree in Early Childhood through NTC's Early Childhood Program, as well as many other staff at Sand Box. The program involves 108 hours on-site practicum time that helps students gain hands-on experience. Sand Box hosts several NTC practicum students each year, as well as, partnering with Medford High School for School-to-Work, Mentorship and Apprenticeship programs that allow early childhood hopefuls to experience daily routines, procedures and environments.
Kelly Jensen joined the Sand Box Team in 2002 as the Administrator/Director. Sand Box was her first opportunity to work in the field of early childhood and she has developed a passion for providing the best quality care for families in Taylor County. In the last 12 years, she has been involved with enhancing community partnerships, serving on regional and state boards and working with organizations that focus on improving quality within the field of early childhood. It was essential for Sand Box to have ties to state agencies to gain insight into new programs, such as YoungStar, instead of waiting for the trickle down of information into our rural community.
YoungStar was implemented in 2011, through a state-wide push to increase quality standards within child care settings and by setting measurable standards that allowed all providers to be rated equitably. Sand Box has proudly accepted the challenge to increase its quality standards and has achieved a 4 star rating each year of implementation. Their goal is to obtain a 5 star rating by 2015.
"These are not necessarily lofty goals when you have a strong and committed team," states Jensen. "My team has worked very hard to make it look easy and the results can be seen through the children! It is the most rewarding part of this whole journey. There have been many people involved with Sand Box over the last 40 years. I have had the privilege to talk with a few of these people in the last couple of weeks to get a better understanding of the last 40 years. The Medford Community is very fortunate to have people who are passionate about early care and education!"
Education / Training BS - Business Administration UW-Lacrosse
WI Child Professional Credential for Child Care Administrators 2005
The Registry Inclusion Credential 2009
The Registry Leadership Credential 2013
The Registry Approved Master Trainer / Consultant Level 2007
2005 Leadership Medford
2006 Dale Carnegie
Kelly Jensen joined the team at Sand Box Child Care & Preschool in August 2002. They are proud of achieving a 5- Star YoungStar Quality rating status in 2014, making them the 2nd center in North Central Wisconsin to meet the highest standards. Sand Box provides care Monday-Friday from 4:00AM - 7:00PM and offers flexible scheduling, affordable rates, and secure environments.
Profession Affiliations / Community Partnerships
NAEYC (National Association for the Education of Young Children) Member
WCCAA (Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association) Board Director 2007-present
WECA (Wisconsin Early Childhood Association) Member
Taylor County Prevention Council 2004 - present
Taylor County Early Childhood Sub-Committee 2005 -
Junior Achievement Board of Directors 2007 - present
SFTA (Supporting Families Together Association), Board of Directors Treasurer 2010 - present
NTC -(Wausau) Early Childhood Advisory Committee, 2010 - present
CWBN (Central WI Business Networking Group) 2012 - Present
Early Head Start / Child Care Partnership Grant Recipient 2015
Sand Box Child Care & PreSchool
664 West Cedar Street
Medford, WI 54451
Kelly Jensen- adminstrator