Our founder Jan (Erickson) Ashbaugh felt called to a future caring for children when she was still a child herself! She followed her heart and pursued an education in early-childhood development. Jan received extensive training both in the classroom and on the job as she worked in the field for six years. Eventually she realized the only way she could do for children what she thought was best was to start her own company and set the standards herself. In 1986 Jan started an infant only program providing care for twelve infants. Our satisfied parents then asked for more. They wanted The Cradle Club to develop a toddler and preschool program so their children could continue growing with us! While Jan was an expert in children, she needed someone with expertise in business to help her take the next step. In October 1987, Jan joined forces with her brother Scott, a business graduate, to put together an expansion plan.
In February of 1989, the Downtown Minneapolis Butler Square location opened to care for infants, toddlers and preschoolers and has grown over time to serve 118 children. In September of 1989, the Edina location opened and after twenty-six years in that location, our Edina school moved to a new facility that opened August 3, 2015 with the ability to serve 213 children from age 6 weeks to kindergarten. Then, on August 24, 2015, our Maple Grove school opened to serve 96 children with an eventual capacity of 166 children with four more classrooms coming soon!
At the birth of her third child, Jan phased out of her full-time responsibilities at the Cradle Club to be a stay-at-home mom. And in December of 2000 Scott’s new bride Maria phased in. With an extensive background in communications as well now being a mother of three sons, Maria began serving as The Cradle Club’s CEO. Maria has created a Cradle Club Code of Excellence for staff working with each age group of children and many other training tools including our Tips for Success Series to encourage growth and excellence in our teachers. She provides ongoing leadership training for our Directors, teachers and assistant teachers and consults with our Directors on how to best meet the needs of our children and staff. Scott continues in the role in which he began as the business expert that helps keep the business details in order so we can all focus on lots of laughter, learning and love with our amazing kids! To top it off, our founder Jan Ashbaugh returned to the Cradle Club in 2010 as our expert in-house consultant on licensing and behavior guidance! Isn’t family great?! For more about our owners, see the Meet the Owners page.