Amy Ahola, owner/operator/primary caregiver, wearer of more than 100 hats at Child Central Station Group Home Daycare in Marquette Michigan, has worked with young children for over 20 years. She has played with, taught, and guided young children and the adults who work and care for them as a home based child care provider, a preschool teacher at a local center, and AmeriCorps member in a K-12 public school. She has also volunteered her time as a 4-H leader, Boy Scout Leader, and member of the Danish Sisterhood of America.
Amy decided to open her own childcare business in 2005 when she graduated with her bachelor's degree in psychology. At the time, her son was just about to turn 3 years old, and her sister was pregnant with twins. Amy was working in a child care center and she remembers thinking, I wonder how hard it would be to start my own child care business. She graduated in May of that year, and by August, Child Central Station was born.
Since the birth of her business, Amy has attained a Master’s degree in Psychology: Training, Development, and Human Performance Improvement. She was named the Outstanding Graduate Student in Psychology from Northern Michigan University in 2012. Additionally, Amy was recognized as one of the top five honorees in the 2012 Bammy Awards, and in 2013 by Microsoft Global Education as one of the 365 Heroes in Global Education. Amy was also recognized in 2017 by the Terri Lynne Lokoff Foundation as one of the National Child Care Teacher's of the Year.
Amy is passionate about hands-on learning and play, not only for young children but also for adults. This is apparent in the hands-on, interactive training sessions she has been sharing for over a decade. Amy prides herself in creating content that is real and relevant for all ages.
Amy’s home-based program has been featured by many early childhood educators and bloggers. Her photos have been published by Dan Hodgins in his newest book Get Over It, Relearning Guidance Practices. She published numerous handouts, and has written for the Great Start Connections publication on various occasions. You can get a sneak peek into her program on a regular basis by visiting her blog at www.childcentralstation.com
In 2016, Amy began co-hosting a podcast with Dan Hodgins and produced by the Upstairs Studio at Explorations Early Learning. This weekly show entitled "Shakin' Bones" is a discussion of various topics in the field of early childhood education and is meant to cause you to think and reflect upon your practice. Although the podcast is no longer in production, you can access the archives on the playvolution website by clicking here.
Amy founded Child Central Station, LLC in 2019 to provide a play-based program for school aged children at the Sandy Knoll Elementary School. She expanded to offer a Summer Program in 2020, and Child Central Station, LLC opened a second location for the 2020-21 school year at the Superior Hills Elementary School. (This means, Amy is running 3 licensed childcare programs during a pandemic!!!)
Amy lives and works in Marquette, Michigan with her husband Allan and son Dane. You can follow some of their adventures on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.