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Linda Kudrna opened Learning Ladder in 1994 to provide the “highest quality of care to the children in the Cottage Grove community.”

And for the past 30 years, she and her team have continued to do just that.

The Learning Ladder hosts infant, toddler, preschool, and school-age programs for children ages 6 weeks through 12 years old. Their philosophy combines planned themes and emergent lessons to create hands-on environments that are safe and innovative and encourages learning through play, inquiry, and exploration.

“The most rewarding part of my job has been being a part of an industry that is finally being recognized as a valuable service for the education of young children and for the economy,” said Kudrna. The facility has expanded twice since opening in 1994; once in 2005 when 8 classrooms were added and again in 2008 to accommodate a partnership with Monona Grove School District to offer 4k programs and wrap-around care, which begins before school hours and continues after school for families who need it.

In 2014, Learning Ladder earned national accreditation from the National Accreditation Commission and received a 5-Star rating from Wisconsin’s YoungStar program. During the COVID pandemic, Learning Ladder only closed for two weeks and was able to implement additional cleaning, child health checks, and procedures that allowed them to adapt and stay open to support children in-person and virtually.

Kudrna said the pandemic highlighted the importance of Early Care and Education, which she also advocates for as a board member of the Wisconsin Child Care Administrators Association. “Currently, there is a teacher shortage in childcare across the state of Wisconsin. It is difficult for families to find care as many programs have reduced their enrollment or closed their doors. I am advocating for policy change to benefit families and providers,” said Kudrna.

Kudrna actively advocates for policies to support and sustain financial investments in Early Care, education, and funding for the Early Childcare workforce so Learning Ladder and similar facilities can continue to provide for the children and families who need them.

Learning Ladder focuses on the social, emotional, and cognitive development of its students and strives to create an environment in which the children will develop a love of learning in a creative and safe atmosphere. “Our supportive teachers and curriculum are intended to cultivate each child’s natural desire to learn, nurture their curiosity and desire for knowledge by using creative lessons, learning centers, and natural outdoor playgrounds,” said Kudrna.

Learning Ladder has programs for infants and toddlers, 3k and 4k children, and after-school and summer camp programs. For information about enrollment for summer 2022 or the 2022-23 school year, visit learningladder.com/enrollment.

As a busy business owner and advocate, Kudrna said working with DMA has been wonderful.

“They’re timely, efficient, and always willing to answer questions or help as needed.” – Linda Kudrna