Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Dan Wald Opens "Hello Kiddy Daycare Center"

El Segundo, CA

Citing long hours of work and mounting pressures to ship, Dan Wald took an about-face from the corporate world and opened a day care center. "I'm kind of like the new Mr. Rogers - each morning I get up, put on my pink jumper, tie my shoes and say 'hi there, would you like to go to the land of make-believe' to all the children that come in my door," stated Mr. Wald about the abrupt switch. Although Wald has no previous experience in daycare, his new business is steadily growing. "There's just something about a grown man wearing a little girl's pink Hello Kitty smock that warms my heart," said one mother who was dropping off her four year old.

Activities at the Hello Kiddy Daycare Center focus on enriching the mind. In one corner, children are encouraged to play with mock satellites. "No other daycare has satellites for the children to stress test - I mean explore," proudly explained Wald. In another corner children are encouraged to type whatever they want into multiple computers, which Wald describes, "children thrive on tactile response; seeing what they type come up on the screen is such a thrill to them. So far, they've come up with pages upon pages of nonsense, a few funny stories and at least two working satellite data synchronization programs. The story June wrote about her puppy Max was the best though." June's mother agrees that her daughter loves typing and was happy to see the crude but heart-warming story June had written. Other popular activities in the Hello Kitty Daycare Center include a large plastic slide, a rock-em-sock-em clown, and Dimension SST 3D printer, which uses ABS plastics to create real, working prototype models for quick product development. Wald hopes to purchase a computer-aided design station for the Dimension SST, as well as another larger slide because some children have already outgrown the smaller one.

For future plans, Wald is rather ambivalent, "I'd like to expand the daycare to a second, maybe even third, location. I could monitor them by remote cameras and have robots there to enforce discipline. Also, I'd like to move our business model to include the earlier stages of childhood, pre-K, post-natal - maybe even helping with conception - but those things are still a longs ways off. Beyond that, one day I might even return to systems engineering, but that probably depends on whether the satellites ever get debugged and those programs keep coming. The children are really what matter most."


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