Pictured (L to R) are: Rob Parker, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce; Katina Robinson, Wawasee Community Schools; Dawn Pickens, Wawasee Community Schools; Ryan Zimmerman, POLYWOOD; Dr. Stephen Troyer, Wawasee Community Schools; Jennifer Phillips, Wawasee Community Schools; Jeremy Drier, POLYWOOD; Renea Salyer, Syracuse Wawasee Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Shelly Wilfong, Wawasee Community Schools; and Sherry Searles, LaunchPad. Photo by Lauren Klusman, Kosciusko Chamber.
Pictured (L to R) are: Rob Parker, Kosciusko Chamber of Commerce; Katina Robinson, Wawasee Community Schools; Dawn Pickens, Wawasee Community Schools; Ryan Zimmerman, POLYWOOD; Dr. Stephen Troyer, Wawasee Community Schools; Jennifer Phillips, Wawasee Community Schools; Jeremy Drier, POLYWOOD; Renea Salyer, Syracuse Wawasee Chamber of Commerce; Dr. Shelly Wilfong, Wawasee Community Schools; and Sherry Searles, LaunchPad. Photo by Lauren Klusman, Kosciusko Chamber.
SYRACUSE – The Kosciusko County Child Care & Early Learning Coalition, called LaunchPad, is celebrating a new partnership between Wawasee Community School Corporation and POLYWOOD.  

With a shortage of childcare countywide, LaunchPad has been strategically bringing partners together to solve this workforce issue, according to a news release from LaunchPad.

For over 30 years, POLYWOOD has been transforming outdoor living spaces with durable, sustainable and timeless furniture designs, the release states. All genuine POLYWOOD® products are made in the USA from ocean-bound and landfill-bound plastic and are produced in a 99% waste-free facility. To learn more, visit polywood.com. POLYWOOD employs 800 people in their Syracuse location and are proud to offer employees a suite of premier benefits, which now includes subsidized high-quality childcare seats in a convenient location, according to the release.

Leaders at Wawasee Community School Corporation recognize the need for high quality early learning environments for children before they enter kindergarten.  With 90% of the brain developing before the age of 5, providing an enriching and educational program for preschool children is one way that the school district can ensure that children enter school ready to learn. With an open classroom and a willingness to think outside-the-box, Syracuse Elementary has become a hub for POLYWOOD employees to access care.  

In addition to the POLYWOOD early learning program, Wawasee Community Schools operates three full-day early learning programs for children in the community, ages 3-5, at Milford Elementary, North Webster Elementary and Syracuse Elementary.

For more information about enrolling in these classrooms, or to learn more about how a business can partner with the district, contact Jennifer Phillips at Jennifer.phillips@wawasee.k12.in.us or call 574-457-3188.

While the school operates the childcare, it is fully funded by POLYWOOD and does not use state dollars. POLYWOOD has job opportunities in their production department and there are a few childcare seats available for parents working at POLYWOOD. These opportunities can be found at www.polywoodjobs.com.

LaunchPad’s mission is to seek to partner with local businesses who invest in the community to build high-quality childcare capacity so that they can attract and retain talent, working parents can be highly productive employees, and children can be in safe, nurturing environments. Call Sherry Searles at the Chamber of Commerce at 574-267-6311, ext. 5, to learn more.