Friday, October 12, 2018

• Better Know a Local Business: Lujan Family Childcare

Some "Better Know" blogs are about well known business, like DeJong's Dairy, and others are about smaller, mom and pop type operations like in today's blog.

Meet Michelle Lujan 
Michelle and Alex Lujan.
She and her family have lived in Wildomar for 23 years, and across the street from me for the last 15. She provides before and after school care to local families under the name of Lujan Family Childcare.

I asked her when she decided to be a childcare provider and she told be that she made that decision back when she was pregnant with her son. She didn't want to leave him with anyone else so she opened up a daycare; that was twenty-two years ago.
Dillon, Alex and Brandon Lujan.
She is licensed to take care of fourteen kids, but if she goes over eight at any one time, she has to have a helper. At this time her son helps her when she goes above that number.

It's not like it was in the last generation where kids would be entrusted with any available neighbor, Michelle is licensed, has been background checked and fingerprinted, as have all the members of her household.
In the backyard.
She looks after children of all ages; she currently is caring for a six month old. I was told that usually once kids have hit middle school age they stop needing formal child care.
Getting creative with the back fence.
I asked Michelle what her "hours of operation" are, and she responded, "It's 7:00am to 5:00pm, but I work with parents. If they have to be [at work] at 7:00am... I have one that comes at 6:45am. If they get off at 5:00pm I work with them, and they may not pick them up until 5:30pm."
Activities, both outside and inside.
I wondered what happens when a parent gets stuck in traffic at the end of the day, and she responded with a smile, "I just take care of the child. A couple of years ago there was a big accident on Ortega and two of the parents were stuck in it. I had the kids until 7:30pm. I just fed them dinner, then turned on a movie and we hung out. I didn't charge extra, things like that happen."
 The kitchen table can be for meals, homework or celebrations. ☺
I wondered what the kids do while under her care, she told me that they have breakfast, the younger ones do preschool curriculum activities, the kindergartners start at 10:00am and when they are done in the afternoon they do homework right away.
Around the holidays.
She sits with each one and helps them do their homework, then they have a snack. From there they will play games. The day I spoke with her they had just finished up a math game; she wants it to be fun, but they are learning at the same time.
Hands on activities.
In the summertime they enjoy going on field trips. Places such as the waterpad, to movies or the park.
The Lujans live in Windsong Valley and the school they're near is Donald Graham Elementary. 
This sign is on the side of the SUV that transports the kids to and from school.
If you're interested in seeing if Michelle has any openings, give her a call. The number is (951) 294-0395. Their license number is 334814575.
Crafts the kids have made.
Wildomar Rap memory lane time

The Lujans have been great neighbors of ours and have always been quite friendly. They've been very gracious over the years when I've offered them a bagsful of kumquats. (an acquired taste indeed) ☺

Here's one of many examples of the kind of quality people they are. 

A long time ago, when their adult son was somewhere between 13 and 15 (I don't remember which son it was), their dog made a visit to my yard. I was amused to see the dog decide to leave me a present. 

The pooch was hardly finished with his mission before the young Mr. Lujan came over, cleaned it up, and even apologized for it. (dogs will be dogs, I get that) 

That happened without his parents instructing him to do so. Well, I'm guessing that years worth of good parenting is why his quick actions happened without further prompting. 
•                •                •

The secret of genius is to carry the spirit of the child into old age, which means never losing your enthusiasm. 
– Aldous Huxley

If Wildomar Rap could just capture the physicality of youth to go along with the spirit, but alas.

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