Adventure Place is an outreach ministry of Advent Lutheran Church to families in the community and beyond. Originally called “Latch Key”, this ministry launched in 1987 and provided before and after school care to 12 children. This wonderful ministry realized the dream of many hardworking, dedicated members of Advent. From its humble beginnings of a paid staff of two and two volunteers, Latch Key continued to grow beyond what anyone could have imagined, ministering to hundreds of families throughout the years. As the program evolved, it was renamed Adventure Place. This ministry now provides care to an average of 75 children year round, Monday-Friday, 6:30am-6:30pm. We are blessed that Adventure Place is recognized as such a valued outreach ministry to our community.
Ms. Sara Kantorik
Miss Sara is the director at Adventure Place. Miss Sara has her associate degree in Early Childhood Education. Miss Sara has been in the field for over 20 years and at Adventure Place since 2013. She has been a lead toddler teacher, preschool teacher, assistant director, and director.
Miss Sara’s philosophy on child care is that children need freedom and boundaries at the same time. They need to be free to make mistakes, explore without hesitation, and create their surroundings. Boundaries need to be set so that children learn manners, respect and how to live safely. Her philosophy is incorporated by educating her staff in age-appropriate topics to better themselves and strengthen their classroom. She is always on hand to assist and guide the children in the classroom when needed and to offer suggestions. She works one on one with the teachers as well as a team to come together to make Adventure Place successful. She is always raising the bar for her staff and encouraging them to think out of the box. She thinks big and does what it takes to get the job done.
Mrs. Jessica May
Jess is a graduate from Stark State College of Technology with her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education. She has been at Adventure Place since 2020.
Jess started in the field as preschool/School Age teacher in 2011 at the YWCA and then went to Loving Heart Christian Childcare in 2014 and started as a Lead Preschool Teacher and became Assistant Director there in 2017. While at Loving Heart Christian Childcare she was in charge of Step Up to Quality and carried out the daily operations.
Jess believes that children are an open book with blank pages to fill up and it is the teachers and staff’s job to help mold them and influence them to fill those pages with something great. She also believes that children need freedom to explore freely and to learn through age appropriate play and developmentally appropriate activities. It is important for children to feel safe in their environment for them to learn. They also learn by doing hands on activities and when they have set expectations to learn boundaries, rules and manners.
Miss Jess will implement her philosophy at Adventure Place by being available to assist the classroom teachers when they need it. I will also steer them in the right direction for trainings and professional development courses that meet their needs as a teacher and for the environment they are in.
Miss Kaitlyn Mc Coy
Lead Infant Teacher
Miss Kaitlyn is our lead teacher in our Cutiepillar (Infant) room. She has been at Adventure Place since October 2018. Miss Kaitlyn is a graduate Stark State College with her AA in Early Childhood Development.
Kaitlyn believes that children not only learn by the adults they see in their everyday life but by the way they play. Children learn so many skills from playing with one another, from social to cognitive learning. Just simply sitting on the floor playing can have amazing outcomes.
She plans on implementing her philosophy on play by doing just that. She plans on sitting with the children and interacting with them while implementing not only the early social skills they need but focusing on all areas of development as well.
Miss Ashley Cassetty
Assistant Infant Teacher
Miss Ashley is one of the assistants in our Cutiepillar (Infant) room. She has been at Adventure Place since September 2019. She is currently working on obtaining her CDA.
Ashley’s philosophy on how children learn is by watching and imitating what adults/teachers say. She believes hands on learning and verbal communication to help build vocabulary is key to a child’s success. Ashley plans on incorporating her philosophy in her classroom by building relationships with the children through interacting, talking to them and promoting exploration with teacher planned activities.
Miss Kim Kelley
Assistant Infant Teacher
Miss Kim is one of our assistant teachers in our Cutiepillar (Infant) room. She has been in the field since 2017 and is currently attending Walsh University for Early Childhood Intervention Specialist.
Miss Kim believes that children learn best when you let them do things hands-on and interact with them. By giving them hands-on activities, you are encouraging their self-help skills as they are exploring things and figuring them out for themselves.
She plans on implementing her philosophy with the infants by giving them a lot of sensory things for them to touch, feel, mouth and just explore at their will. She will be there to encourage and guide through these activities ready to take them to the next level as needed.
Miss Kiara Alvarez
Assistant Infant Teacher
Miss Kiara is one of the assistants in our Cutiepillar (Infant) room. Kiara has a BA in Psychology with a minor in Biology from the University of Alabama and is currently working towards her Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy at Walsh University. She has been at Adventure Place since January 2021.
Kiara believes that children are little adults in the sense that they have their own thoughts and feelings. She believes that one should be receptive to children and their feelings and make them feel validated not dictate what to do and how to do it
When caring for Infants, Kiara will be patient and take time getting to know each of the children as individuals. She will get to know their personalities not only by interacting but observing as well to better fulfill their needs. She will be a positive role model and work closely with her co teachers to make their classroom successful.
Mrs. Angie Keagy
Lead Toddler Teacher
Miss Angie is our lead Amazing Owls (toddler) teacher. She has her associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Stark State and has been in the field since 2003.
Miss Angie believes the foundation of learning is play. She believes that when children can explore and let their imagination take over, great things happen.
She plans on incorporating her philosophy in her classroom by engaging with the children throughout the day. She will use age-appropriate toys and activities to spark their imagination while leading by example and having a balance of fun and structure.
Miss Jordin Roberts
Assistant Toddler Teacher
Miss Jordin is an assistant in our Amazing Owls (Toddler) teacher. She has her Associate Degree in Early Childhood Education from Purdue University. She has been at Adventure Place since August 2018.
Jordin’s philosophy on how children learn is that it is best through play, hands on activities in an active learning environment. She believes that the more they explore and discover, the more they learn.
Jordin will implement this philosophy in her classroom by providing them with an enriched learning environment and allowing time for guided exploration.
Miss Krystal Willett
Assistant Toddler Teacher
Miss Krystal is one of our Assistants in the Amazing Owl (toddler) room. She has been at Adventure Place since January 2021.
Krystal believes that children learn best by exploring their environment, making mistakes and learning from them, interacting with other children and teachers. She thinks children should be given age-appropriate boundaries.
Krystal will encourage the children in her class to explore the classroom with all five senses all while being there to support their learnings and keep them safe. They will talk about what activities the children are engaged in to help support language development and building relationships.
Mrs. Patty Luciano
Lead Toddler Teacher
Miss Patty is our lead teacher in the Jungle Cubs (27-36 months) classroom. She has her Early Childhood Education associate’s degree from Stark State College of Technology. She has been in the field since 2005 and has worked with all ages.
Patty believes that children learn best with they are having fun and given the time and materials to be creative.
She will allow the children to create their own projects giving them plenty of time and materials to explore. She plans on equipping the classroom interest areas around the current theme giving the children more hands-on experiences to what they are learning.
Miss Jaelyn Lawson
Assistant Toddler Teacher
Miss Jaelyn is our assistant teacher in the Jungle Cub room. She is a Lake High School graduate and has been at Adventure Place since 2020. Miss Jaelyn’s previous experience has been at the Lake YMCA as a youth aquatic instructor.
Miss Jaelyn believes that children learn best in a loving, creative and well thought out environment. She plans on implementing her beliefs by interacting with them in such a way that make them feel safe and the desire to learn. She will offer guidance through hands on play and always act as an appropriate role model for them.
Mrs. Kristen Chase
Lead 3 Year Old Teacher
Miss Kristen is our lead Teddy Bear (3-year-old) teacher. Kristen has a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. She has had many years of childcare experience and has substitute taught all ages. Miss Kristen has taken classes at the Early Childhood Resource Center to obtain her Preschool Level Child Development Associate Credential (CDA). She has been at Adventure Place since 2012.
Miss Kristen’s philosophy on teaching is that fun, hands-on learning experiences make the best teachers. Her classroom is always digging into something and exploring in ways that some would think unimaginable. Miss Kristen is not afraid to get her hands dirty and is always taking her creativity to the next level. She is very hands-on with her class and provides them with snuggles, education, and boundaries all at different times during her day!
You will always find age-appropriate themes and activities planned for her three-year-old’s. Miss Kristen is always challenging her class by asking questions. There is no better way to gauge what a child has learned than by talking to them. Listening to what they have to say and hearing their thoughts is Miss Kristen’s key to being a successful teacher.
Mrs. Julie King
Assistant 3 Year Old Teacher
Julie is our Teddy Bear (3-year old’s), Assistant. She has been at Adventure Place since 2017. When working with children, Julie likes having fun with them all while they are learning about the world and themselves. She loves interacting with children on a social level.
Julie incorporates her philosophy by having fun with the children! She presents them with new experiences to learn from. She engages in situations that promote social skills, manners, patience and respect. Julie loves hearing how the children interact with one another, watching them learn new things and grow up to become preschoolers.
Mrs. Kristy Widener
Assistant Preschool Teacher
Kristy is a floating preschool assistant, as she helps in all of the rooms. She has been at Adventure Place since November 2020.
Kristy believes that children learn best while playing. Through play, children use all 5 senses and that helps them grow and learn as a whole child. She plans on incorporating her philosophy with the children in her care by interacting with them during play. She will challenge them with questions and build on their learning.
Mrs. Nicole Watts
Lead 4 Year Old Teacher
Nicole is our lead teacher in the Fantastic Fours; she has been at Adventure Place since August 2016. She is a graduate from Stark State College of Technology with her Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education. Nicole has 11 years of experience teaching preschool. She recently took some time out to stay home with her two children.
Nicole believes that children are naturally curious and want to learn. She believes that through play and age-appropriate activities children develop new knowledge and skills. She will incorporate this philosophy in her classroom by offering engaging activities that will create confident young learners!
Miss Erica Kovacs
Assistant 4 Year Old Teacher
Erica is the assistant teacher in the Fantastic Fours classroom. She has been at Adventure Place since 2020. Erica is a graduate from Ohio University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and a minor in Marketing with a social media certificate.
Miss Erica’s philosophy on working with children in that they learn by example and by watching the actions and reaction of others. She plans on promoting her philosophy in the classroom by giving the children hands on experiences and interacting by asking open ended questions about what they are experiencing, how they are feeling about it and will look at different ways of doing an activity but having the same outcome when it is completed.
Ms. Nicole Ferguson
Lead 5 Year Old Teacher
Miss Nicole is the lead teacher in our Busy Bee (5-year-old) classroom. She has her associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education for Stark State with a concentration as an Intervention Specialist and then continued on with her degree as an Intervention Specialist Moderate/Intensive special needs at Kent State. Miss Nicole has been teaching preschool for 13 years and has been at Adventure Place since 2019.
Nicole’s philosophy on education is to educate all students and give everyone equal opportunity as a means to succeed in life. Through knowledge and skills, all students can achieve greatness. In addition, common values such as following rules, cooperation, learning to work and get along together as well as a sense of responsibility are all important factors of a quality education.
She plans on implementing her philosophy in her classroom by using her education to provide a warm, protective environment for my students. The behavior towards children is to give them care, love, respect, lead, teach and form a safe and pleasant environment for them to grow and thrive in.
Miss Dawn Penn
Assistant 5 Year Old Teacher
Miss Dawn is the assistant teacher in our Busy Bee (5-year-old) classroom. She has her bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from Cleveland State University and has been a lead preschool teacher for the past 15 years.
Miss Dawn’s philosophy on how children learn is by giving them hands-on experiences allowing them to explore their surroundings with every sense. She plans on incorporating this philosophy by providing hands-on activities for them and encouraging growth.
Miss Kelley Snider
School Age Teacher
Miss Kelley is our Lead School Age teacher. She has been at Adventure Place since 2019. She is a graduate of St. Thomas High School and is currently working on obtaining her Infant/Toddler CDA.
Kelley’s philosophy when working with children is that they learn by interacting with each other. Interaction with peers is crucial for success in all areas of development. She will implement her philosophy by allotting time for the children to interact in a more relaxed way. Through conversation with each other, playing games of all kinds (active, sports, cards, board games etc.…). She plans on being very active in all of the socialization so she can be used as not only a monitor of the conversations but as a resource as well.
Miss Amber Mesko
School Age Teacher
Miss Amber is our Lead School Age Teacher. She has been at Adventure Place since 2021. Amber has an Associate’s Degree in Early Childhood Education and has been working in the field since 2009.
Amber’s philosophy when working with children is that they learn best when you allow them to learn throughout play and self-guided activities. With redirection and guidance from staff, children will have fun, learn, and negative behaviors will be minimal. She will set the expectations for the room, play and implement age-appropriate activities and redirect when needed.
Mrs. Vicky Witter
Miss Vicky is a floater at Adventure Place. She has been with the school since 2005. She has been a preschool and school-age assistant and the cook.
Vicky believes that children learn best when you model for them. By showing them how to have healthy relationships when communicating with and positive interactions with peers set the tone for a healthy classroom environment where the children will feel safe and allow them to explore. Vicky will implement her beliefs by doing all of that in any and all classroom she is assisting in.