Church expands reach, opens child care facility

Larry Chovancek, pastor of Grand Junction First Church of the Nazarene, sands drywall during remodeling of part of the church into a day care facility, which will be known as Heaven’s Little Steps Childcare. The church will have an open house for the day care this evening.



The church with the big blue roof is expanding its services to the community.

Heaven’s Little Steps Childcare will open Monday at Grand Junction First Church of the Nazarene, 2802 Patterson Road.

“We have a very user-friendly facility from the very youngest to the very oldest,” pastor Larry Chovancek said. “To be able to have a facility that meets those needs is advantageous. I think there is a realization for a need for quality child care with a Christian foundation in every community.

“It’s just being more community-centric and meeting the needs of the greater community both in service and spiritual foundation.”

The child care facility, which was approved by state inspectors Tuesday, is open to children ages 2 to 5 from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. The public is invited to an open house from 6 to 8 tonight.

Heaven’s Little Steps is licensed to accommodate 15 children.

The child care facility will serve hot meals and has planned an activities schedule that includes playtime indoors and outdoors.

“We want to bring quality child care with Christian principles here,” day care director Michelle Dunn said. “It’s going to be a Christian environment with educational preschool. It’s not a focus on education, but it’s a real important part. Their mind and ability is huge, and we need to tap into that.”

Dunn was hired last month. She has worked for 29 years at child care centers and homes. She grew up in the Roaring Fork Valley and graduated from Mesa State College. She has worked at child care centers in the Grand Valley for 12 years, including Happy Kingdom.

Church volunteers will assist Dunn. Once the child care is full, it plans to have three paid staff members with a student-teacher ratio of 1 to 5. Child cares are required to have a 1-to-8 ratio or better.

Enrollment is open. Full-day rates are $27 per child. Half-day rates (less than 5 hours) are $22.

To register a child for child care, call 424-5524 or visit http://www.gjnazarene.com/daycare.

The First Church of the Nazarene has two acres of grass to the east of its facility. The park has a soccer field, and the church has plans for a baseball field and a 30-foot picnic shelter.

“There was more of a sense of this congregation being more community-centered instead of a closed or limited community,” Chovancek said. “That’s why this park exists. It’s for the community, and they all use it.”


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