First Impressions Day Care Center has been in business since 1997. The company operates out of an updated, converted home located in a historical area near downtown Springfield. In 2016, Colleen Ikerionwu, a mother of six and former police officer, purchased the day care.

The company’s mission is to provide quality care for children in a learning environment that is fun. At First Impressions, students partake in a curriculum that prepares them for kindergarten. During summer months, the kids get to go on field trips. “The center has the feel and closeness of a home, but the security and feel of a school at the same time,” Ikerionwu said.
click to enlarge First Impressions Day Care Center
Front row (left to right): Danielle Kruemmelbein, Tina McClain, Patricia Allen, Taelor Jenney; Second row: Kelsey Lindsey, Briana Wyzard, Colleen Ikerionwu, Carolyn Siddell; Third row: Safia Bel Fellah, Mackensi Wilson, Robynae Jackson, Etter Malone; Back row: Linda Wells, Cassandra Rechner, April Lindsey, Kayleigh Adams, Sidney Carney
Communication is an integral part of the program, and parents are encouraged to communicate with staff on a regular basis, especially if they have questions or feedback. Parent-teacher conferences are offered twice a year so parents have the opportunity to see their child’s portfolio and hear about how they are doing on a daily basis at the day care. Parents don’t have to worry about their children going hungry; they are served well-balanced and nutritious meals that include breakfast, lunch and a snack every day. With the secure keypad entry​ and fenced-in play area, the children’s safety always comes first.

April Lindsey has been with the company for a year. She loves the way the staff is able to come together and be there for each other as well as the children. “We are a day care family here at First Impressions,” she said.

“The teachers have great lesson plans and make being at the center fun. Some days the children do not want to go home because they are having way too much fun,” said Patty Allen, who began at First Impressions a few months ago. She also appreciates that the children are shown a great deal of love each day. First Impressions accepts students from 6-weeks-old up to 6 years, and they are cared for by teachers who have been certified by the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.

Safia Bel Fellah has been with the company for 15 years, and has worked for several other day cares, but none compare to First Impressions. “This is the best one I have worked at,” she said. “It feels like family here. The staff love children and care about their co-workers.”

Over the last year many accomplishments have been achieved by the center’s staff, said Ikerionwu, including several completing their teacher qualifications and getting close to earning their degrees in early childhood education. “Our goals for the future are to continue to give high-quality child care, expand into another existing day care center and to receive recognition for the Gold Circle of Quality,” Ikerionwu said.

According to Ikerionwu, First Impressions Day Care Center is the best place to work because of the positive environment where employees know they are valued and respected.

“Knowing that the employees’ opinions and thoughts matter makes the work environment so much better,” said Tina McClain who has worked at First Impressions for six years. “Also, being in a work environment where your co-workers feel like family is a plus, and working with teachers who care about the students, mentally and physically, is amazing.”

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