On the Hunt for a New Home

Little People’s Center is a local daycare being forced out of their 40 year home.

Little+People%27s+Child+Care+has+been+a+Medford+institution%2C+serving+the+people+of+our+community+and+school+for+over+40+years.+Now%2C+their+fate+is+undetermined+as+they+look+for+a+new+location.

Photo by Photo Courtesy of Little Peoples

Little People's Child Care has been a Medford institution, serving the people of our community and school for over 40 years. Now, their fate is undetermined as they look for a new location.

Since its doors opened in 1974, Little People’s center has been a child care fixture of the community. Family owned and operated since the early 1980s, Laura Miller, its current owner is on the hunt for a new home.

Open from 7am to 5:30pm Monday through Friday, Little People’s Center is located at 208 Jamaica Avenue in Medford and accommodates parents working full work days and more.

The property the center is located on is being sold and recently, a certified letter was received from the Episcopal Diocese stating a blind bid must be made on the property being sold within seven days.

Owner, Laura Miller, immediately contacted Brookhaven town to check the zoning and a lawyer to write up an offer for $295,000 shortly after.

After waiting one week, no response was given from the Episcopal Diocese so another letter was sent to them. Miller then received an email with a “listing” asking for $1.1 million.

“I am concerned that this property will sit vacant and be a blight on the community. I have done/reported to the diocese all the maintenance to the grounds and extermination of pests including mice and all kinds of bugs. I had the basement cleaned of food and garbage left over from when the church was functioning and had rotten trees removed from the property,” said Miller.

Miller is actively looking for other properties to potentially buy but says none of them can compare to the backyard of the Jamaica location. There, the kids are able to run around, jump in leaf piles in the fall, make snowmen in the winter, do butterfly releases and the staff even sets up a splash park in the summer.

“I love this place. I opted to work here so I could be with my children when they were little. I have my masters degree in early childhood education and could be working anywhere and making a lot more money. For me, money isn’t what it’s about. It’s about my love for the kids and the community,” said Miller.

The difficult part is finding a location with a yard space in general, let alone a space as big as they have now.  

Donating and giving back is taught to the kids from the start and they learn from Miller and her staff. They donate their time and money to school fundraisers, scholarships, volunteer at local events to do face paintings, collect coins and raise hundreds of dollars in the month of November for families with sick children or parents.

“When I visited and met with the staff, they were so caring and nurturing and had many different activities for the kids during the day. Everyday was something different. Around St. Patrick’s Day the leprechaun would come and leave footprints, my girls would come home with donation jars for Thanksgiving and they would always collect and donate,” said Mrs. Romani, a guidance counselor at PMHS.

The list of how they’ve given back to this community is not over. In December, toys, gloves, mittens, and hats are collected at their annual Christmas pageant and donated to outreach programs in the community and even offer tuition breaks and free tuition to families that need full time care.

“My most fond memory of Little People’s was the holiday pageant that the school put on each year in the church that was attached to the school.  It was always a special occasion and opportunity to see the hard work that both the students and teachers put into preparing for the pageant. I don’t think there was ever a dry eye in the house,” said Mr. Buccinna, a social studies teacher at the high school.

Little People’s Center put many children through their program. Many of the children include those of teachers at Patchogue-Medford High School. The staff works with the schedule of the teachers and being so close to the school, it is convenient to drop off and pick up their kids.

“For me, being a teacher here it was ideal and the perfect location for working in the school because I am right down the road from them and if there was an issue or problem it was easy to pick them up,” said Mrs. Romani.

This is no ordinary day care according to many of the Patchogue-Medford teachers who sent their children there for the day.

“We choose Little People’s for a couple of different reasons. First, the location was very important for us. Second, Little People’s had come highly recommended from other Patchogue-Medford High school teachers that also sent their kids there, going as far back as the 1980s,” said Mr. Buccinna.

As of right now, there was no final decision made on the property and Little People’s Center is still running. If need be, the center will relocate but they are actively working with the state, town, and real estate agents to find a suitable home.