A program of laughter, learning and love!

At The Cradle Club, we believe the most profound learning happens when educational experiences are surrounded by laughter and love. By placing nurturing relationships at the heart of everything we do, our innovative programs immerse children in all the benefits of play-filled, theme-based learning and surround them with the joyous laughter and endless love that they need to flourish.

Our philosophy

We believe every child needs love, security, acceptance, control, guidance, and PROTECTION!

Here at The Cradle Club, we believe every child deserves to feel loved and wanted. We understand that every child needs the security of a stimulating, safe environment, and must believe they are always accepted for themselves. Each child needs to feel in control, and must grow and develop individually with nurturing guidance from those who love them. Through it all, every child must always feel trusting of and protected by amazing adults who care!

Our Family Approach

As a local, family-owned childcare company, it has always been our mission to bring laughter, learning and love to the children in our community. It served as our sense of purpose in 1986 when we began as a small, twelve-child infant program and we’re proud to continue to pursue it through our three industry leading schools serving over 400 children from 6 weeks through 12 years of age.

Led today by the same devoted family who pioneered our perspective, our team believes that contributing positively to the lives of families happens by providing a place where children feel as much love and care each day with us as they do with you at home. We know that trusting someone with your child is the most important decision you can make, and we don’t take that honor lightly. To us you are not just a client, you are part of the Cradle Club family!

Meet The Owners

Maria Erickson

Owner, CEO

Maria has served as CEO for the Cradle Club since 2000. In her role, she provides ongoing leadership, training, guidance and support to our amazing community of directors, staff, parents and children.  Caring deeply about the quality of our programs, Maria  pioneered the creation of Cradle Club’s Code of Excellence, a tool that instills professionalism and expertise amongst staff working with each age group of children, developed The Cradle Club’s Observation Project which evaluates and improves on excellence in our classrooms and has implemented many other training tools that encourage growth and excellence in our teachers. She has worked with our fantastic staff to create our “Fun with Fitness,”Spanish Splash,” and Character Building programs as well as Cradle Club’s Tips for Success Series,” an invaluable tool available to both parents and staff that offers expertise on topics relevant to all ages and stages of childhood. Maria works closely with our leadership teams on how to best meet the needs of each child and staff member. After double-majoring in Speech Communications and Political Science at Mankato State University, Maria went on to obtain her Masters and Doctorate degree in Ministry from the Christian Life School of Theology.  Scott and Maria enjoy being parents to their three sons who graduated from The Cradle Club in 2007, 2010 and 2012.   In addition to parenting their own children, Scott and Maria have spent many hours counseling individuals and families in need and have a heart to see every child and family thrive!

Scott Erickson

Owner, CFO

Scott holds bachelors degrees from Macalester College in Business Economics, Art and Theatre and has served as Cradle Club’s Chief Financial Officer since 1987. He provides guidance and support for all three schools in the infrastructure and financial areas of the business to ensure that we weather through any storms that come and that things are the best they can be for our wonderful staff, children and families.

Meet The Team

Jan (Erickson) Ashbaugh

Founder, Licensing Coordinator and Behavioral Guidance Consultant

Jan (Erickson) Ashbaugh is the founder of The Cradle Club and continues to work closely with each of our schools as our expert Licensing Coordinator and Behavioral Guidance Consultant. Jan 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! After expanding to two locations that provided care for children 6 weeks to 6 years of age and serving as CEO for the company for ten years, Jan took a hiatus to be a stay-at-home mom for her four children. In 2010 she returned to The Cradle Club as our Licensing Coordinator and Behavioral Guidance Consultant and makes a tremendous difference every day as she assists our Director Teams in providing the best of care and guidance to our children and staff.

Kristine Anderson

Director of Training and Operations, Curriculum Specialist

Kristine has been a part of the Cradle Club family since September of 2004. Starting her career as an infant teacher at our Minneapolis location, Kristine went on to serve significant tenures as an outstanding preschool teacher and exceptional center director for our schools. Throughout her time in these roles, Kristine has contributed her talents to impact Cradle Club curriculum and classroom excellence across all three of our locations. Kristine’s dedication and distinction at the Cradle Club led her to her latest role as our company- wide Director of Training and Operations where she continues to make an incredible impact on our community.

Kristine holds her bachelors degree in Psychology with an emphasis on Child Development and utilizes her education and frontline classroom experience to influence the way she serves others so well.

Just as when she was a teacher, Kristine’s favorite thing about working in the field of early childhood education is the joy she gets from watching children discover, believe in themselves and learn to overcome obstacles. As a wonderful mom of two Cradle Club graduates herself, Kristine understands the importance of excellence in childcare and is excited for the opportunity to serve your family.