A group photo with Sarah Srp and her day care kids is all lined up.
The kids are in place, the photographer is ready to push the button, and …
… and a little girl comes out of nowhere and pops into the center of the frame.
“Photo bomb!” Srp shouts.
The Kasson woman, surrounded by about seven wee little ones, clearly loves to have fun. As do her tiny clients at Sarah’s Day Care.
They just had breakfast, made “sugar scrub” exfoliant, and are ready to venture into the backyard.
“Busy all the time,” Srp says, addressing the toddlers with a smile. “We don’t have a dull moment, do we? Uff-das!”
For her work over nearly nine years, Srp, 35, was honored as 2017 Provider of the Year by the Dodge County Licensed Child Care Association.
The award coincides with Licensed Family Child Care Provider Week, May 7-13, and National Provider Day (May 12).
“I’m humbled,” she says. “I’m just doing my job. But it’s nice to be recognized.”
Srp says she knew at a young age that she wanted to work with children (her mother, Bonnie Broda, also was a daycare provider). The Princeton native earned a special education degree from Winona State University.
She was teaching special education when she decided she wanted to be home with her own children.
And now she’s a multi-tasking super-mom for about 10 children, creating kid projects for special days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Christmas.
Srp makes home-made snacks. And tries hard to enforce nap time.
“Ohhh, yeah,” she says. “Some days we can get ‘em all down at the same time, sometimes not.”
She seems immune to the constant din. The kids stay close to her in this kid-friendly house.
But it’s hectic, non-stop work.
“Sometimes people think it’s an easy job,” she says. “We don’t get that lunch break. You don’t get to run errands like other people get to. I don’t have that luxury.”
She smiles when a little boy shows off a scratch on the side of his head - the result of a tree-kid encounter.
“It wouldn’t move,” he says.
“I treat these kids like my own – very nurturing,” Srp says. “I just really try to give them a basis to make them good citizens and students. It’s a lot of repetition. I think for the most part it’s rewarding. ‘Oh, I finally get it!’ Or the milestones – walking for the first time, seeing themselves, sitting up, writing a letter. Anything that their little minds figure out.”
Srp has experience, comes up with good ideas, and is willing to try anything, says Association board member Cheryl Gillard of Dodge Center.
She went ahead and took a Parent Aware course, which helps child care and early education professionals invest in their professional development, improve their quality, and grow in their careers, according to parentaware.org.
Srp served two years as president of the Dodge County Association.
“She’s very positive,” Gillard says. “She has a good outlook on the daycare and shares all the frustrations that we all have, especially with the government making all these changes on us.”
“She’s not only dedicated to her daycare children, she’s also active in the community with her own children,” says Lisa Ripley of Kasson, the Association’s board secretary, who nominated Srp for the honor.
“She just kind of takes charge, and has the feelings of the kids first at hand.”