Detour 2 Discovery is a licensed, child centered, independent school that provides infant & toddler nursery, preschool, and school-age summer camp in the south loop neighborhood of Chicago. We are proud of our welcoming community where each child's social, emotional, physical and intellectual skills are creatively nurtured. We provide safe, consistent care for working families and for families who want to encourage their children's development in a setting that honors diversity and respects the idea that early childhood is a beautiful journey, not a race.
Detour 2 Discovery employs an innovative learning program encouraging your child's independence by helping to build self esteem and important social skills through play.
Our school has:
- 3 Infant Nurseries
- 3 Toddler Nurseries
- 3 Preschool Classrooms
- 3 Readiness Classrooms
- Large Indoor Motor Room
- Learning Lounge with a Library
- Cool Ball Pit
We are blessed to be in a location where we have access to numerous parks and playgrounds where we enjoy the outdoors. You won't find a more fun-loving, gentle place for your child! We explore arts & crafts, develop large motor skills with climbing and balls, enjoy dressing up in the role play area, relax in our cozy "circle time" corners, and have a blast getting messy in textural activities like water, play foam, shaving cream, and even sticky science concoctions. Of course, we love to sing, dance and exercise, too! We strive to ensure your child's day is both as comfortable as like home, and as stimulating as school! With our small groups and SUPER low staff-to-child ratios, all activities at Detour 2 Discovery are conducted in an intimate setting where the staff is familiar with each individual child, providing personalized care for every single one!
Detour 2 Discovery's highly qualified staff meets and exceeds all of Illinois Child Care Division requirements. During the interview process, candidates are invited to "working interviews" where not only the administration is observing and taking note, but the current staff and students have an opportunity to weigh in! Upon employment, each staff member has a fingerprint background check and must pass with an all clear - in addition, we run a CANTS check (Child Abuse and Neglect) to determine if any candidate has ever been accused or charged with a child-related crime - even if they were not convicted or charges were dropped. We require a completely clear CANTS record. Employees are also required to complete a full physical and provide an immunization report with a negative TB test result, just like the students. A several-week-long training regimen, along with numerous mentoring meetings with administration and co-workers, takes place over the course of the 90 day probationary period. During this time, new staff members learn our various programs and become acquainted with the children and their parents to ensure we meet the expectations each family has for their child. In addition to gaining certification in CPR, Child Abuse and Neglect Prevention, and First Aid, D2D staff members attend countless workshops, conferences and seminars throughout the year to keep current on the most effective methods to enhance a child's development. D2D boasts the highest amount of continuing education provided for its staff!
As a result of the effort and attention the administration puts in, our staff is friendly, patient and nurturing. We work closely with parents to ensure that their child is receiving care tailored to personal needs and development. We hold special events for parents to have interaction and give feedback to staff; and we always welcome questions and concerns. We understand parents have busy schedules and each child moves at a different pace. We enjoy helping, guiding, and encouraging you and your family in any way we can.
Seeking out trustworthy and reliable child care that also offers more stimulation than a babysitter can be a daunting and disappointing ordeal.
After working for years as a sitter and certified nanny, and seeing the struggles parents went through to get the best childcare for their kids, Jennifer Heim talked with her husband, John, and they became convinced they could create a better source right in their own South loop community. They began visiting daycare centers all around the Midwest to see what would make theirs the best. As it turned out, they learned more about what not to do. During their research they saw lots of "crowd control" and "feed 'em, keep 'em happy" places. Occasionally they'd find a place that was clean, organized and well-staffed - but it would lack the warm, nurturing quality that children need. Other facilities appeared nurturing and friendly, but fell short of providing the clean environment and cognitive stimulation that the Heims felt was important. And outrageous prices were always an obstacle to quality care.
Though they yet had no children of their own, the two took matters into their own hands and gave life to a brand new kind of daycare. In 1992, the twosome created Detour 2 Discovery Day School in their three-bedroom apartment on South State Street. They became the VERY FIRST licensed home daycare center in the Loop! Detour 2 Discovery filled up quickly, expanding in the summer of 1993 to the 16th floor giant penthouse apartment at Burnham Park Apartments, which were once the old YMCA apartments of Chicago. The growth - and waiting list - continued. In 1995, with a little help from Annie Properties, a wonderful loft developer who took a leap of faith on the couple and their growing little school, Detour 2 Discovery expanded to its very first commercial location: a lofty first floor space at 1020 South Wabash where they were given complete creative freedom to design what would become the blueprint for so many other copycat loft-like child care centers in the Chicagoland area. In August 1995, the brand new center opened at full capacity of 72 children and 16 teachers on its first day! Over the next several years, Detour 2 Discovery grew in leaps & bounds, expanding once more in 2001 to its current 12,000 square foot location at 2001 South Wabash Avenue.
Today, Detour 2 Discovery has 153 students enrolled with nearly 35 on staff. The wonderful directors who carry out the day to day operations of the school are founder, Jeni Heim and her long-time friend Mrs. JoAn Willis. JoAn began her career at D2D in 1995 and was one of the very first teachers on staff! Having met in college, in an early childhood class, this dynamic duo director team are both moms. They hold early childhood degrees along with national and local directorial accreditation & certification. The pair has more than 50 years of child care experience between them! Having a co-directorship is not common, as the local and national standards call for only one director; so you can be assured that with this directorial duet there is plenty of positive staff mentoring along with constant communication, participation, attention, observation and celebration!
Year after year, Detour 2 Discovery continues to grow, providing hundreds of families with reliable, affordable, top-notch professional early childhood care!