New child development center opens amid pandemic


Mackenzie Coughlin, Staff Writer

Throughout the pandemic, many people have experienced layoffs at jobs or have had to work from home. Co-owner of the Learning Garden Child Development Center, Annie Evans, had quite a different endeavor when it came to working in a pandemic.  

Evans and her husband are the co-owners of the Learning Garden, a child development and daycare center in Bennington. They created the business from the ground up, building the center themselves. “We had an anticipated opening date in February due to construction, then Covid happened literally days before we were scheduled to open. We finally opened July 6, 2020,” Evans said.  

Having daycare open during the pandemic means taking many precautions. “We take temperatures upon entering and if anyone has a temperature they have to leave. Masks are to be worn at drop off and pick up, and we clean and disinfect the center throughout the day. We do not let anyone in the building except the children and employees,” Evans said.  

The typical environment of a daycare involves being able to interact and play with children while learning life skills. Because of Covid-19, “We don’t let the rooms play together at the current time and we don’t get to have fun activities/field trips like we were planning on,” Evans said. Evans assures that the children love being at the Center regardless if it means creating memories and having fun with the teachers and other students.  

“The main struggles we experienced with opening a new business during the pandemic was the fact that everything was shut down, inspections could not happen, we weren’t able to interview or hire adequately, as well as having low enrollment at our Center due to everyone working from home,” Evans explained. Evans has taken this opportunity to turn an unfortunate situation into an amazing project and service.  

“I feel that we can truly handle any hurdles at this point given this was not part of our business plan. It is rewarding to see all of your hard work come to fruition regardless of all of the unknowns right now. Being a business owner is truly a blessing. It is amazing to be able to truly love what you do,” Evans says