New early childhood center planned for Hampden Township

Tender Years Inc., a family-owned and operated early learning and child development center, will break ground on its fourth location, at 4545 Marketplace Way, Hampden Township, Cumberland County, on Aug. 6. 

Near Hampden Marketplace, the 12,500-square-foot center, expected to open in December, will provide care and education for 150 children and add 40 jobs for teachers and caregivers. 

There will be 11 classrooms and a 1,000-square-foot indoor play area with walk-in playhouses, sponsored by area businesses, including The Giant Co.; Julianne Rich, M.D.; Lobar Associates; and Members 1st Federal Credit Union. 

Outside will be a 14,000-square-foot playground with modern equipment and age-appropriate activities to promote motor and social skill development. 

“With the economic growth and new corporate construction in the area, demand for additional childcare and early education services in Hampden Township is high,” co-owner Kimberly Shearer said in a release. 

Tender Years also has centers in Camp Hill, Hershey and Mechanicsburg. 

Safety tips for children’s summer backyard play


A new study warns parents about the five most dangerous activities for children in the backyard and around the house.

The 2021 Summer Home Safety Report, from SafeHome.org, used the most recent data from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and a survey of 450 parents.

Here are the activities that pose the greatest injury risk, according to the study:

1) Trampolines: Check that bolts are tight, install a safety net, pad the frame and springs, and set jumping rules with adult supervision.

2) Monkey bars: Make sure the child has enough upper body strength to swing, place padding underneath to soften falls, and check for loose bolts and wood splinters.

3) Open porches and balconies: Install safety netting or plastic guards to covers spaces between rails. Use safety gates at the top and bottom of stairs.

4) Slides: Don’t go down the slide with a child in your lap, teach children to go down feet first, and remove dangerous debris from the bottom.

5) Swing sets: Tighten equipment before use, and ignore children’s pleas to push them too high.

And when it comes to swimming pools, enhance safety by developing house rules, having adult supervision and installing a perimeter fence. 

U-GRO opens new childcare center in West Earl Township

A toddler playground connected to U-GRO’s new childcare center in West Earl Township. PHOTO PROVIDED

Hershey-based childcare chain U-GRO Learning Centers opened its seventh Lancaster County location this Monday with enhanced cleaning procedures to remain open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new 15,000 square-foot center at West Earl Township is expected to employ up to 32 full- or part-time employees and serve up to 150 infants, toddlers and preschoolers daily, the company wrote in a press release.

The new facility was built by Benchmark Construction, also based in West Earl Township. The building features 10 learning classrooms, a 1,800 square-foot indoor play space and a 12,000 square-foot outdoor playground.

U-GRO’s newest center is the company’s 14th childcare facility.

“We are very excited to bring U-GRO’s expertise in early childhood education to families of the Brownstown, Akron, Ephrata communities and to the Conestoga Valley School District,” said Greg Holsinger, president and CEO of U-GRO.

The company added that while it remains open during the COVID-19 pandemic, it has launched an initiative in all of its centers to enhance cleaning procedures and screen team members and children daily for symptoms of COVID-19

U-GRO said it plans to hold an open house for families by the end of the month for summer and fall enrollment.