By Sterling McGinn

Tahqua Tots, the well-established childcare and learning center in Newberry has been sold and is now known as Barker’s Tiny Tots.

Germfask residents John and Marcy Barker officially took over the business on April 22, purchasing it from Quin Curley.

Tahqua Tots was established by Curley as a preschool in October 2014. After seeing the need for childcare services, she expanded Tahqua Tots into a learning/childcare center.

The center is located in the Pathways Building off of Hamilton Lake Road.

Both John and Marcy have wanted to open and run a day care for many years and saw the opportunity in operating Tahqua Tots.

“We have done youth groups and church groups pretty much since our kids were young and before,” said John Barker. “This has been a direction we wanted to go for a long time. We have worked with kids all our lives and our parents worked with kids as well.”

Marcy has operated an adult foster care home out of her residence in Germfask for 25 years and is planning to open an additional childcare center in Germfask.

The Barkers have total of 10 employees at Tiny Tots, with Heather Flatt as the center’s director. Flatt has been there for seven years.

Barker’s Tiny Tots serves and accepts youth from the ages of 0-9. As a learning center, Barker’s Tiny Tots has daily lesson plans in early education curriculum and ­­­is similar to a school setting. Each age group has their own sections. For those below preschool age, the center provides day care services.

Both the Barkers and Flatt want to involve community members who can share knowledge and talents with the youth of the center.

One program they are interested in establishing is a grandpa and grandma program where elders from the community can come to the center and read or make crafts with the children.

“I would also like to bring in people with instruments—someone to play the guitar or something to give them some culture,” said Marcy Barker.

“We would like to have more community members come in and teach the kids about what they do,” said Flatt.

Barker’s Tiny Tots can have up to 45 children enrolled at the center at one time, and will be nearing that number this summer. “We might have to have a waiting list,” John Barker said.

Tahqua Tots operates from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information, you can contact the center at 906-291-5054 or on Facebook at Barker’s Tiny Tots.