Women Who Move West Michigan – 2021 – Special Section
Milestones Child Development
4527 Cascade Rd. SE, Ste. B | Cascade, MI 49546 | 616-551-3200 | milestonecdc.com
With a background in childcare and preschool teaching and a passion for educating young children, Kelly Russell founded Milestones Child Development Center in 2005. Since then, Milestones has grown into an institution that now serves more than 1,000 families at five locations across West Michigan.
Russell says the programming lays the foundation of early education, furthers children’s cognitive, language, social, emotional, physical, and creative development through play-based methods, and focuses on nature as a way to enrich each student’s learning. In the Milestones environment, each child is given opportunities to explore their surroundings and expand social and problem-solving skills.
She says as a locally owned company, Milestones Child Development Center, places children first, takes pride in their state-of-the-art facilities, has a strong commitment to the highest quality staff, and uses the application of proven education techniques. For parents who want to invest time and specialized care into the overall wellbeing of their children, Russell says Milestones is the ideal choice. She says the staff at Milestones believe it is essential for parents, teachers, and families to work as a team with a common goal to continually develop and increase children’s knowledge and growth. Parents are encouraged to be involved and partner with teachers and caregivers to assist their children in reaching their fullest potentials.
She says the certified and degreed teachers at the center serve as role models and are consistently encouraging students to reach new levels, and they recognize that children are capable of many things. “Teachers embody the roles of facilitators, observers, and evaluators — all in a warm and supportive setting,” Russell says.
Milestones Child Development Center is an award-winning institution, having been voted Top Daycare Center in Grand Rapids by GR Kids for 2019, 2020 and 2021 and the No. 1 childcare institution in the Best of Grand Rapids Magazine 2019-20 readers poll.
As the creator, developer, and owner of the center, Russell’s mission has been to provide a safe and nurturing environment designed to meet the developmental needs of young children. She says she puts her heart into every aspect of Milestones, and the most common compliment she receives is the overall feel that the center, the teachers, and the administration provide a secure atmosphere to families.
Russell laid the foundation for the united community that is Milestones. This spring, knowing the need for quality care and education for young learners, she broke ground on another center on Wilson Avenue in Wyoming area. This step was not without risk, given the uncertainties the pandemic
has brought to businesses, individuals, and families.
Last year was not at all what anyone expected. When other businesses were forced to shut down, she sought out ways to safely stay open to care for essential workers’ children. She also found a means to keep her staff safe and stay open for the families that needed the center as a resource. Her common phrases include, “How can I help?” and “How will that impact our families or staff?” She is selfless all while making smart informed business decisions. As a pillar in the world of education, Russell “moves” anyone she comes into contact with. Moves to educate. Moves to impact. Moves to change their future.