Children at Kids' Corner in Bar Harbor recently lent a spot of spring color to the deep snowbanks around the facility. PHOTO COURTESY OF KIDS’ CORNER

Kids’ Corner marks 25 years

BAR HARBOR — A popular downtown daycare and preschool is celebrating its 25th birthday this year.

Kids’ Corner Early Care and Learning Facility has served 900 children since opening in 1990. It is now starting to see a second generation of students coming through its doors, according to executive director Lori Krupke.

“It feels amazing to reach 25 years,” Krupke told the Islander recently. “I’m loving our longevity and how cyclical things become.”

Kids’ Corner is located on town-owned land on the corner of Eden and Mount Desert streets. The organization leases the space from the town for a modest $5,000 per year. In exchange, it is responsible for all maintenance and upgrades to the facility. Krupke said that this works out very well because the group can use grants and other funding mechanisms available to nonprofits to do that work.

“It’s been a huge part of our success,” Krupke said. “It’s been wonderful to have that partnership.”

Nine out of ten of the families with children at Kids’ Corner live on Mount Desert Island. The remaining 10 percent work on the island. Most are from Bar Harbor – 93 percent of the children have one parent working or attending school in town, Krupke states in the group’s annual report, while three-quarters of the teachers live on the island.

“There are local families right here, and I think that’s important for people to realize,” Krupke said. “Sometimes people think of Bar Harbor, and they think it’s just tourism. I love that families live here and work here, and they’re here year-round and making this their home. I think that’s really important to remember.”

Krupke, who has been with Kids’ Corner for 22 years, attributes the preschool’s success to two things: a child-centered environment and a focus on retaining quality teaching staff. The school’s board of directors makes sure that the 13 teachers have a great benefits package, receive liberal amounts of professional development every year and know that they can rely on a great work environment where people come first, Krupke said.

“The reason that we are able to be as we are is because we have the teachers that we do. We make sure that we always have the focus on taking care of them first,” she said. “We refer to ourselves as the Kids’ Corner family, and we really look out for each other.”

One of the most visible developments at the preschool in recent years has been the installation and tending of a vegetable garden every summer. The playful garden, with plenty of tall, leafy sunflowers and sweet corn plants, gives the 42 children at Kids’ Corner a natural place to play and a great connection to their food, Krupke said.

“It’s great to see that the kids can pop a carrot out of the garden and eat it still dirty – you can never get the kids to eat a washed carrot at the table,” Krupke said. “Sometimes, you have to work to get them to leave the things in the ground. They’re just so excited to get their hands in there and see what’s growing.”

Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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