The last couple of years have been busy ones for the folks at Alphabet Learning Center in Brookfield. Since 2017 the business has roughly tripled the number of children it serves, opening two new locations – one on Grand Boulevard in Brookfield and one in the Depot District of Berwyn.
And, according to its owner Regina Spevak, they still need more room to accommodate parents looking especially for before and after-school options for their elementary school kids who have aged out of traditional daycare.
On Feb. 27, Spevak and Alphabet Learning Center’s district manager, Vianey Garcia, will appear before the Brookfield Planning and Zoning Commission, seeking a special use permit to open the business’ fourth location, at 9219 Broadway Ave.
“We’ve had a lot of need in this area for childcare,” Spevak said during an interview at Alphabet Learning Center’s flagship location at 9220 Broadway Ave., which is directly across the street from the proposed new site. “Brookfield is changing drastically for the better in the last eight years.”
The public hearing will be held at 7 p.m. at the Brookfield Village Hall, 8820 Brookfield Ave.
When Spevak opened Alphabet Learning Center in 2011, in just a part of the space it now leases on Broadway Avenue, the business served just 14 children. Over time, the business has leased neighboring storefronts and now serves 77 children on Broadway Avenue.
But, across all three locations, Alphabet Learning Center serves about 250 children. The business opened its satellite locations at 3726 Grand Blvd. in Brookfield, close to the downtown Metra station, in December 2017 and at 6958 Windsor Ave. in Berwyn, near the Oak Park Avenue Metra stop, last August.
And while Alphabet Learning Center ideally would serve children from 6 months old to 12 years, space constraints, even with the addition of two more locations, have effectively limited the business to serving kids under the age of 6, said Spevak.
The new location at 9219 Broadway Ave., said Spevak, would be expressly to accommodate children ages 5-12 and would include both before and aftercare options as well as individual tutoring services.
In addition to children who would be served five days weekly on a regular basis, the new Alphabet Learning Center location could also be a resource for families who need childcare during school breaks and on off days during the week.
The space at 9219 Broadway Ave. could be divided into two or three classrooms, said Garcia, and would operate between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., similar to the business’ other locations in Brookfield and Berwyn. The new location could accommodate about 50 children.
Garcia said the new location geared toward kids 5-12 would also serve breakfast in the morning as well as an afterschool snack and supper. On days where kids attend all day, Alphabet Learning Center would also serve a morning snack and lunch.
Part of the reason for the new location is to serve families whose kids now age out of Alphabet Learning Center and have to use other aftercare options, such as the one at St. Louise School in LaGrange Park, which serves some Brook Park School families.
“We’re hoping to keep our current customers with us, as they see what services we already provide,” Garcia said. “I think a lot of families need a center when their children have been in full-time childcare. They go off to kindergarten and they’re nervous. Are they OK after school in a gym or a cafeteria area? Are they going to properly get the attention they need?”
Many of the families on Alphabet Learning Center’s waiting list, said Spevak, have children who use St. Louise’s aftercare program. Even though Brookfield-LaGrange School District 95 is planning to implement its own aftercare program next school year, Spevak said elementary school families who use Alphabet Learning Center to care for younger children likely would also choose them to keep their kids in one location to facilitate easy pickup and drop-off.
“If we would be open yesterday, they’d be here,” Spevak said.
If the Planning and Zoning Commission recommends allowing the special use at 9219 Broadway Ave. and the village board votes in favor within the next month, Spevak said she hoped the new location could be up and running by June 1.