Local woman applies creativity to daycare
WELLSBURG — The owner of Liv a Little Community Center has expanded its operations to include daycare for children, ages 2-4, while applying the same creative approach she has taken to the arts and craft classes offered at the business.
Olivia Best had been offering art and craft classes for children and adults there for several months and working to acquire a daycare license when the statewide quarantine was ordered, forcing her and other businesses deemed nonessential businesses to close their doors.
Best was able to secure the license a few weeks into the quarantine and advertised her services for children of area residents who are working in health care and other essential occupations.
But she said by that time, many parents had made other arrangements.
“I was a little late to the game,” said Best, who said the lockdown did help her to prepare the center at 806 Commerce St. (state Route 2) for the new service.
With the help of her father, Jim, she created a fenced outdoor play area with engineered wood fiber chips and sturdy washable rubber mats for its base and assorted playthings, including a toy kitchen created from a small bench, at just the right level for small children to use the pretend faucet and sink.
Inside the center are a Lego coffee table and smaller “tables” comprised of PVC piping and plastic tubs containing sand or birdseed children can play in.
Best said she enjoys teaching people to use common household items to create art.
During the pandemic, she kept her business running by selling kits for various art and craft projects that could be done at home.
One popular among children and adults included parts for a small robot that made from a segment of a pool noodle, a motor run by small batteries and pens for legs. When the robot is activated, it spins in circles to draw multicolored patterns on paper.
Best noted the project includes elements of science, such as the concept of positive and negative charges incorporated in batteries, and engineering.
She has designated an area of the center for activities involving science, technology, engineering and math; and plans to bring small creatures, such as birds and an ant farm, into the setting to expose children to life sciences.
The Brooke High School alumna is a graduate of West Liberty University, where she earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in community education, with a focus on art, and said the daycare center is a natural extension of her interest in using art to teach.
She said she’s always enjoyed preschoolers because they are inquisitive and playful and welcomes the opportunity to introduce them to the more structured setting they will encounter in school.
The center is open from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., with before and aftercare available from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Best said children bring their own bag lunches while she provides snacks, though the center has a kitchen that may be used in the future.
Currently working alone, Best said at this time she’s prepared to work with up to six children at once but might add staff to accommodate more.
She is bringing in additional instructors for the evening and weekend arts and classes offered by the center, which will continue to be available for private party rentals.
Those interested in enrolling their child for daycare can contact Best at (304) 650-4256 or her Facebook page at Liv a Little Community Center.