Sunday, April 18th, 2021

Shopper Client Stories


GREAT BRIDGE CHILD CARE

Providing children with care, education and enrichment

by Cristi Sanchez


Jordan Mellott, administrator of Great Bridge Child Care

Jordan Mellott, administrator of Great Bridge Child Care

Jordan Mellott is firmly planted in Chesapeake. "My family has some deep roots here," she states with pride. "My parents, grandparents, and great grandparents are all from Chesapeake." But it was Jordan's close relationship with her aunt, Karen Colston, that served as the thread to her future as the owner of Great Bridge Child Care.   

Karen Colston opened one Great Bridge Child Care location on Albemarle Drive in 1983 and a second on Fentress Road in 1985. Her objective was to create a high-quality child care environment that would provide care, education, and enrichment for children in her community. "This business was Aunt Karen's baby," Jordan remembers fondly. "She built it from the ground up and always gave it everything she had,"

It was Jordan's inherent love for children that would prompt her aunt to quickly bring her on board. "I've always loved children," Jordan shares. "I enjoyed taking care of my younger cousins and also babysat as a teenager. The minute I turned 15, Aunt Karen went to Great Bridge High School to get me a work permit," she laughs. "She got me started in the day care business, and I've been working here ever since.  Working in a professional child care setting made me value and appreciate children even more."


"Our curriculum implements
hands-on activities
that are vital to growth, learning, socialization,
and making learning fun.
We cover all the bases:
 letters of the alphabet,
colors, numbers, art projects,
plus science, math, and language skills."     
           - Jordan Mellott





Always knowing that her aunt wanted her to take over the business when she retired, Jordan earned a degree in speech therapy for communication disorders from Old Dominion University. Her intent was to eventually work with school-aged children.  While working towards her master's degree after graduation, however, Jordan's career plans took a sudden turn when her Aunt Karen passed away unexpectedly in 2018.

"She left the business to me," Jordan explains.  "I was at a huge fork in the road.  Should I continue on towards my master's or run the business?  It was the easiest and yet the hardest decision I'd ever made.  It was definitely the right decision, though, because I couldn't be happier.  I absolutely love what I do!"

With her vast experience with the business and her love for working with children, Jordan found the job a perfect fit. She quickly stepped up to continue her aunt's vision for her community. 
The Albemarle location serves children ages 16 months through 12 years. The Fentress location serves children ages two-and-half through 12 years. The preschool curriculum offered at both locations uses the McMillan Early Education Program.

"My aunt used this curriculum for years," Jordan points out. "I picked up where she left off, enhancing and modernizing it. Our curriculum implements hands-on activities that are vital to growth, learning, socialization, and making learning fun. We cover all the bases: letters of the alphabet, colors, numbers, art projects, plus science, math, and language skills." The program also provides morning and afternoon snacks, and a warm lunch followed by naptime. 

For older school-aged children, Great Bridge Child Care provides homework time and assistance as well as after-school art lessons planned by teachers based on the curriculum's weekly and monthly themes.  "While the lessons for our school-age children are still structured, they're a little more relaxed. Because these children come here after a full day of school, we try to make the lessons fun," Jordan shares. 


"Kids love it here.
Almost every day,
someone asks their parents
to come back to get them later
because they want to stay."
                - Jordan Mellott



For children of all ages, Jordan provides many additional enrichment activities.  While children don't take field trips off-premises, a variety of fun, educational activities are brought to the centers. These activities are as diverse as bounce houses, petting zoos, and visits from the Virginia Marine Science Museum.  "Parents don't have to worry about children getting on a bus and going somewhere or having to pack a special lunch," Jordan smiles. "It all comes to us, and the kids love it."

Recently, circumstances due to COVID-19 have changed the face of child care. Still, Jordan has stayed abreast of all requirements to keep her facility safe. She is currently preparing for the upcoming school year by getting technologies in place should students still require Zoom meetings in the fall.

Also, with the safety of the children and staff of utmost importance, Jordan and staff are taking every precautionary measure to keep everyone safe and healthy. "We've increased our cleaning processes," she says. "We have housekeeping on staff, and surfaces and toys are disinfected frequently throughout the day. An additional cleaning crew also comes in after hours to clean and disinfect.  We ensure staff and children do much more frequent hand-washing. Also, state guidelines regarding mask usage and taking of temperatures before entry are strictly followed."

While many daycares closed during the pandemic, Jordan chose to help her community the best way she knew how. She made the bold decision to stay open for her clients while maintaining the governor's  10-person and social distancing rules. "We serve a lot of essential personnel who had to keep working," she explains. "I just couldn't turn my back on them. For parents who had to stay home, I waived their April tuition.  My clients are hardworking and loyal. I wanted to do whatever I could to help them out."

It's that personal touch and care that has earned Great Bridge Child Care the "Best of Hampton Roads" award every year since 1996.  Parent testimonials consistently speak of the love, care, and security that their children receive.  And the reactions from the children reflect this as well. "Kids love it here," Jordan chuckles. "Almost every day, someone asks their parents to come back to get them later because they want to stay."

Although Jordan took the reins of Great Bridge Child Care sooner than expected, she continues her aunt's work of providing children with high-quality education and care. She plans to do so for many years to come.




Great Bridge Child Care

701 Fentress Rd
Chesapeake, VA 23322

(757) 482-7404
520 Albermarle Drive
Chesapeake, VA  23322
(757) 547-4344


www.greatbridgechildcare.com