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Debbie’s Daycare closes after 32 years in Dassel
May 10, 2019

Amy Johnson

DASSEL, MN – Debbie Burandt closed the door of her daycare for the final time April 5. During the 32 years she provided daycare, more than 150 children passed through her doors.

Burandt’s former daycare families will be hosting a retirement party for her Saturday, May 18, and Burandt is excited for the opportunity to reconnect with her past daycare kids and families.

Through the years, Burandt stayed in touch with her former daycare children, watching them grow up to attend prom, graduate, and get married. Many former daycare kids sent their own children to Debbie’s Daycare. In fact, Burandt started her daycare with Ron and Betty Rauschendorfer’s kids, and when she closed last month, their grandchildren were in her care.

Many things have changed since Burandt opened her doors 32 years ago. When Debbie’s Daycare opened in 1986, families paid $1.25 per hour for one child, $1.50 for the second child, and $1.75 for the third. When she retired last month, the cost was $30 per day for one child, and $15 per day for each additional child.

Burandt described how a daycare home is different than a center. One of the primary differences is, in a daycare home, the older children interact with the younger ones. At a daycare center, the children are assigned to age-specific rooms so the after-school kids don’t cross paths with the toddlers and infants.

When describing the environment at her home daycare, Burandt said, “What is great is you have the infants and the 2-to-4 age groups here, and the after-school kids love interacting with the younger ones.”

Burandt described what a typical day was like:

The daycare starts at 7 a.m. when the first children get dropped off. Once all the kids arrive, breakfast is served,” Burandt said. “After breakfast, everyone heads outside for a walk (if the weather is nice). Once back at the house, they play games until lunch. Then, it is naptime from 1 to 3 p.m. After nap, the children set the table for a snack (and the kids love helping set up).

We have the snacks ready for the after-school kids. Once they get off the bus, everyone has snack together. During snack time, we talk about the day, then finish off the afternoon with a fun activity like find the Frisbee or hide and seek.”

Stories from a daycare family

Brenda Johnson’s daughters attended Debbie’s Daycare until the ages of 9 and 10.

“Debbie was like a second mom to them,” Johnson said. “She helped with the potty training and getting them off the bottle, which was very much appreciated. What I admired most about Debbie was her patience and her loving way with the kids. I don’t know how she did it at nap time, but she always had those younger ones well-disciplined enough for them to stay lying down, even when they weren’t asleep. She truly had a knack. She disciplined the kids, yet they loved and respected her very much. I know our girls still give her big hugs whenever they see her. She was a big part of their lives.”

Brenda’s daughter, Alicia also had some kind words to share.

“Whenever I see Debbie today or when I think about all the fun I had there 10-plus years ago, I’m filled with joy and appreciation. Looking back, Backwards Day was everyone’s favorite, and birthdays were the best! Debbie always gave my little sister, Dani, as much chocolate syrup as she wanted, and that’s something she and I will always remember. Words won’t ever be enough to say what Debbie and my time in her care mean to me.”

When Burandt announced to the children that she was retiring, their reactions ranged from disbelief to sadness. A few asked where she was moving to, so Burandt took them for a walk to see the where her new house was being built. Some children were upset that she was closing.

“One girl was mad because she thought she’d never see her friends again, which is funny, because they are in the same class,” Burandt said.

Other kids reacted with silence, not exactly sure how they felt when they heard she was retiring.

On the last day she was open, Burandt told the children, “Instead of me asking you guys questions about your day, today I’m going to tell each one of you what you mean to me.” The kids giggled, predicting Burandt couldn’t make it through without crying. She didn’t.

All Debbie’s Daycare families are invited for a celebration Saturday, May 18 from 2 to 4 p.m. in the basement at Gethsemane Lutheran Church in Dassel. A group picture will be taken at 3 p.m. Debbie is excited to celebrate her retirement with her past daycare children and their families.

Debbie’s Daycare

What: Debbie’s Daycare retirement party.

Where: Gethsemane Lutheran Church Dassel – basement.

When: Saturday, May 18 from 2-4 p.m.

Group picture will be taken at 3 p.m.

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