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Lighthouse Christian Church will open child care center this fall

Jackie Hughes, better known as Ms.Jackie, will direct the Lighthouse Explorers Child Center. Hughes has more than 30 years of early childhood education experience.

For years, the leadership at Lighthouse Christian Church has talked about starting a child care center. And then last summer they got serious about getting something started and formed several groups to move things along, including establishing a non-profit and a board of directors.

Starting this fall the church will house Lighthouse Explorers, A Christian Child Center. The center will offer preschool and child care.

"We are really excited about this opportunity," said Bill Goodwin, Lighthouse's lead pastor.

To lead the center the board of directors set out to find a director. Several people applied for the position but one stuck out.

Jackie Hughes, or Ms. Jackie as she's better known, has worked with children for more than 35 year. Her position at Central Lutheran School in St. Paul had recently been eliminated and she was in the market for a new opportunity. A member of Lighthouse whose children had been taught by Ms. Jackie at Central Lutheran told her about the opening. She applied and went through several interviews.

Goodwin said Hughes' good demeanor and experience with Christian education stood out.

"God, in his plans, already had this lined up for me," said Hughes

Hughes is a self-professed child magnet and she loves teaching. Even though she will be directing the daily operations of the center Hughes said parents and children can expect to see her in the classroom teaching and singing from time to time. She said a positive experience with a teacher as a child influenced her life's work.

Going into it Hughes said she wants to work with families to meet their needs. All staff will be quality early childhood educators and the program will offer a developmentally appropriate Christian curriculum said Hughes.

Hughes said children will learn information such as numbers, letters and shapes as well as important life skills such as sharing and expressing themselves.

"Kids can learn at a very young age respect and care," said Hughes.

Goodwin said while not every day will be Sunday school, God is at the center of the mission for the child care center.

"Instilling faith in children is important in passing on our Christian faith," said Goodwin.

Hughes said while the center will offer Christian education they will accept anyone regardless of their religion.

"We will accept them wherever they are coming from," said Hughes.

Currently crews are busy remodeling the second level of the church to make way for the center. When complete the center will be able to care for 27 children.

Hughes said safety is the number one priority in the remodel. The building was built in the 1950s, when asbestos and lead paint were commonly used. To ensure the safety of everyone the church removed both substances as part of its remodeling project.

Hughes said they have put a lot of thought into the function of the rooms and how they will be used. She also said all the staff will be first aid and CPR certified.

The center will start accepting students July 16. The center will open Sept. 4. Hughes said they will accept various funding sources including through the Dakota County.

For more information visit the Lighthouse Explorers Christian Child Care at or email Jackie Hughes at Additionally, Hughes will have information available during Leprechaun Days about the Explorers program.

Emily Zimmer
Emily Zimmer has worked as a staff writer for the Rosemount Town Pages since 2007. She has a degree in journalism from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Outside of work, Emily enjoys running, reading and gardening. You can follow Emily's gardening adventures at the Areavoices blog East of Weedin'
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