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Learning, but having fun

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By Doug Ponder

It’s not hard for anyone to notice the learning that is taking place with all the laughter at one LaRue County daycare.

Laugh N Learn is a preschool and child care center that educates children and helps them develop social skills, emotional growth and physical coordination for children ages birth to 12-years-old. They are located on 620 South Lincoln Boulevard in Hodgenville. Their hours are Mondays through Fridays from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Owner Michelle Becker said she started working at the childcare center in 1998 when it was owned by Paula And Pat Durham of Hodgenville. She said the childcare center was originally called Kinderplay when she started working there.

“I started at the bottom. A year after I was here, Paula wanted to open up a new room for preschool children and I started teaching,” Becker said.

Becker and her husband Mike wanted to open up their own preschool and childcare center in 2003 and she said they bought land in LaRue County to build a building. That idea fell through but the Beckers acquired a childcare in another way they weren’t expecting.

“We bought land in Buffalo to build our own childcare center. We were all praying hard for it to work out,” Becker said. “Our prayers were answered, but in a different way. Not long after we bought the land, Paula came to me and said she wanted to sell and wanted to offer it to me first. She was praying for the right person to take it over and I was praying for things to work out with the center I was developing. I can’t keep from crying when I tell the story. I always tell people that God handed it to me on a silver platter.”

Becker said they came up with the name “Laugh N Learn” by happenstance.

“I was sitting in my truck one night and thinking about things to name it. I wanted a name that was fun, but still says that children are going to learn something,” Becker said. “I knew I didn’t want to name it something with a K. There had already been a Kinderplay and Kiddie College, So the K names were out. Laugh N Learn came to me and it was perfect. It’s something that says kids are learning, but also having fun.”

Laugh N Learn is divided up into several classes and programs. Becker said they have two preschool programs, one half-day and one full day. She said they also different programs for all ages including a nursery, one-year-old room, two-year-old room, preschool programs and an after school program for children who attend grade school.

“All of our classes teach kids and help them develop into well rounded children. Our preschool program emphasizes getting them ready for kindergarten. We also go on a lot of field trips, especially in the summer,” Becker said. “Our preschool graduation is a big deal for us too. They take their class picture on the steps at the Lincoln Birthplace National Park. They also have diplomas, caps, gowns and tassels. We are much more than a daycare and we teach children at all ages. We want to do everything we can to help these children become well rounded while nurturing and loving them.”

Becker went on to say that she couldn’t make Laugh N Learn possible without the help of her 14 employees. She said several employees have been with her for several years. Becker’s mother, Gladys Wolford has worked there for 16 years, Joyce Wheeler for 18 years, Dorinda Quire for 12 years and Nichole Hawkins for 12 years.

“My mom (Gladys) cooks all of our meals here on site and she does a great job. The kids love it and she does too,” Becker said. “I also couldn’t have done this without my husband Mike. If it weren’t for him, none of this would be possible. He works in Elizabethtown and when he comes home from work, he stops by to see the kids in each classroom. They love him. Some call him Uncle Mike and some call him Mr. Mike. I have been blessed to have the people we have here.”

For more information about Laugh N Learn call 270-358-5844.