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Chelsey's Little Monkeys awarded Provider of the Year

Sather and her "little monkeys" enjoying the sunshine outside. (submitted photo)

Chelsey Sather has operated Chelsey's Little Monkeys, a small child care provider in Pine Island, for about five years. Without any idea she had been nominated for Goodhue County Provider of the Year, Sather said she was humbled and honored when she caught wind of the exciting news.

"I feel blessed to be a huge part of each of my families' lives," Sather said.

The 34-year-old spends each weekday with 10 to 12 children and plans fun and educational activities for her little monkeys.

One of the parents who nominated Sather was reminded of how happy she was to find out Sather had an opening for another child at her daycare.

"My daughter comes home with a craft nearly every day," said Laura Kruger. "I was dreading going back to work after we had our son. I knew how badly I was going to miss snuggles with my babies. That being said, there was not one moment I was nervous or uncertain about leaving my infant with Chelsey."

The children at Chelsey's Little Monkeys spend a lot of time completing hands-on activities, playing games, making crafts and exploring together.

"We go on a lot of field trips and adventures," Sather said. "We enjoy spending lots of time outdoors going for walks, playing at the parks, having picnics, visiting local businesses, hiking and using our imaginations."

With fun events to keep them busy, Sather also makes sure that parents have some time to themselves. For one example, she makes sure families can have a night off during December to go Christmas shopping.

Kruger had coincidentally met Sather when she knew it was time to find a child care provider. Living in a small town together, they often ran into each other at the local parks.

"I constantly saw her pushing her four-child stroller, kids walking alongside of her and a baby on her back. She had patience, spoke with kindness and showed genuine love for each child," Kruger said.

While it may not be easy working with children, Sather thanks her mom and friends for encouraging and supporting her through the process.

"I truly believe I have the best job. I am passionate about what I am doing, it doesn't feel like work to me," she said.

With each child being unique, Sather strives to fit the needs of each one. Day care children start to become part of the family, she said.

"Above all, my daughter comes home with a smile on her face every day and can't wait to go back in the morning," Kruger said. "I believe with all of my heart that Chelsey is making just as much of an impact on our children's lives and who they will become as we are as their parents."

Kit Murray

Kit Murray joined Red Wing Republican Eagle in Aug. 2016, covering government, transportation and public safety. She is a graduate of Minnesota State University Moorhead with a degree in photojournalism and philosophy. 

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