D & D Fun Zone opened as an arcade, but with the experience that owners Kathleen and Lynn Campbell have with children, transitioning the site into a childcare center proved to be a no-brainer.
Lynn spent 10 years working for the state with troubled youth and Kathleen was a nanny for 12 years.
It was Lynn’s idea to transfer Kathleen’s in home daycare from their home in Raymond to the arcade building on Route 302 in front of Hannaford. “Let’s combine everything right here,” he said.
“He really has a knack for this,” said Kathleen.
In June they opened a summer camp for children entering kindergarten up to sixth grade. With a little reconfiguring of the space, they divided the arcade in half and created play areas, nook spaces for reading and quiet time, eating and gaming area, and table games like ping pong, bumper pool and Lego building. There is also a large outdoor space with basketball hoops, canopies and space for outdoor games.
Back inside there are video games and a laser tag arena, but those are only activated on Fridays during reward time, where the children receive tokens for reading time or other incentives they have earned.
Education is important to both Kathleen and Lynn, who both graduated from Saint Joseph’s College in Standish. Every day the children have 20 minutes of reading time. (That will go up some as school approaches.) A tutor comes to the center twice a week to help students who need work in math and reading.
Lynn also facilitates small group discussion groups, where the children talk about anything that’s on their mind. They have held discussions about bullying, hygiene and changes that are happening to them. At D & D Fun Zone there are both male and female role models, a point of pride for Kathleen.
Each week the program has two field trips, one swimming and the other a big trip somewhere.
They currently have 34 children in the program with their maximum capacity being 49. After school starts, they will have a before and after school program. “We want to be available,” said Kathleen. The center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. and during all school vacations. They are only closed on major holidays, she said.
They employee a few high school kids, including one boy from the high school basketball team, who works with the children on basketball skills.
Kathleen knows when the kids are happy because they complain to their parents that they’re too early. “That’s my measure of success,” she said. “I like that the kids feel so comfortable that the parents know they’re going to be happy. My main goal is to keep your kids happy. Safe, but happy.”
Although they have transitioned into a child care center, the arcade is still open on the weekends and on Thursday and Friday nights during the summer.
D & D Fun Zone is State licensed. There are still openings for the school year program. For more information, call 807-5308 or email DDFunZone@yahoo.com. They also have a website, www.ddfunzone.com.