Kasa fields a winning 'team'CANNON FALLS — It’s hard to fathom how a single adult could continually keep up with the energy of 12 little ankle biters. So how does Cannon Falls resident Jessica Kasa manage?
By: Regan Carstensen, The Republican Eagle
CANNON FALLS — It’s hard to fathom how a single adult could continually keep up with the energy of 12 little ankle biters. So how does Cannon Falls resident Jessica Kasa manage?
“Mountain Dew,” she joked.
Actually, her true tactic is to wear them down with a variety of activities.
“That’s why we go for a lot of walks,” she said with a laugh.
Kasa has been a licensed day care provider for eight years and was recently honored for her excellence with children. She received the Provider of the Year award from the Goodhue County Day Care Association after voters were told nothing but good things from parents she works with.
Three different families sung Kasa’s praises in submitted nomination letters, all of which were quite lengthy.
“You know that they really appreciate you when they take the time out of their day to do that,” Kasa said.
Having won the award for Goodhue County, Kasa will be able to attend for free the 25th annual Week of the Family Child Care Provider Conference and Recognition Banquet held May 4 and 5 in Bloomington, Minn. The event will feature presentations by speakers and a variety of training sessions.
An unexpected career
Kasa grew up as an only child in Cannon Falls so she knew early on that she wanted a different experience when it came time to have her own family.
“I used to always tell everybody, ‘I’m going to have enough for a baseball team,’” she said.
But a rough economy stood in her way.
“I had three. But now I’ve kind of got my baseball team,” she explained, referring to her day care children. “They just go home at the end of the day.”
A few who are already home are Kasa’s own 7-, 11- and 14-year-olds. In fact, having three children is what prompted her to quit working and become a stay-at-home mom. Since she’d already be at home, Kasa decided to have a small day care and take on just a couple of extra kids.
“A couple” turned into one dozen over the course of eight years. Still, Kasa doesn’t get overwhelmed with being outnumbered.
“I’m fortunate,” she said. “They’re all around the same age so they get along really well.”
Never a dull moment
Keeping busy with art projects, worksheets, movies, trips to the library, walks on the Cannon Valley Trail and playgrounds at the park, none of Kasa’s day care children have to worry about getting bored. Each of them has a favorite activity to look forward to.
“Making projects,” Abby Roepke said before quickly adding, ”and playing with toys when people are asleep.”
Someone is clearly very proud of the fact that she recently moved beyond the age of afternoon naps. Roepke is also pleased to tell anyone that she’s 3 ½ years old — not 3.
The kids’ unique personalities are exactly what Kasa said makes her job so entertaining.
“They’re just funny,” she said. “It’s contagious when you’re around them.”