Mary Wardlaw

Owner, The Children's Center
The Children's Center
210 Main St.
Niles, Michigan 49120
1 (269) 683-0405

“It's one of the best choices I've made for my son's education and well­‐being! My favorite life lesson that the staff provide for my son is making ‘smart choices.’” ~Nikki D. (Parent)

“Impressive child care! We love The Children's Center! The Pre-­K program is unbelievable. The staff are always so pleasant and upbeat; they create a really positive environment for the kids! The curriculum is very carefully considered and varies week to week.” ~Stacey E. (Mom)



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Mary's Vision for Children

Loving children has always been at the heart of Mary’s vision for The Children’s Center. But, loving them is only part of the vision. HOW love is demonstrated at The Children’s Center is what completes the vision. There are 5 key ways you’ll feel the love once you engage with Mary and her staff who are committed to being THE BEST for you.  

  • Genuine Relationships: We wrap our arms around families so they feel secure in our care.  
  • Thoughtfully Prepared Environment: Children are drawn into new and exciting learning experiences every day.
  • Professional Staff: Just take one look at our staff and you’ll see something different in their appearance and interactions with you as they follow the planned curriculum with a strong sense of fidelity.
  • Strong Program Management and Support
  • Effective Communication with parents: Our parents know and FEEL how happy we are to see them!


From The Desk of Mary Wardlaw…

It’s been my joy wrapping my arms around families for the past 24 years that I’ve been in the early childhood field, 12 of which I’ve owned my own center. At times it’s hard to believe that I started The Children's Center in 2004 with 17 children and 3 staff members and today we have over 100 students and 20 amazing people on our teaching team.

One thing I know for sure is that once you step foot into my child care program you won’t want to go anywhere else. You’ll feel the heart, the warmth and the genuine caring that flows so easily from my staff. We take great pride in creating an environment where parents stay connected with their children and our staff throughout the day.  

My child care program is my passion and in addition to teaching preschool, directing a program and owning a child care center, I have also taught a college course in early childhood curriculum and have written several  e-books; two of the books, "Leadership in Early Childhood" and "Preschool Curriculum — Theme-Based Learning Centers," are sold on

Where my journey started… 

The seed was planted early! My parents were both teachers, and long before I recognized it a seed was planted that eventually would grow into what The Children's Center is today.  

The seed started to take root when my first child was 18 months old. My husband, Jay, and I needed to find child care and enrolled our daughter in a program near our home.  On her first day, I went to pick her up and she was sitting outside of the program director's office on a bench crying. The program director was talking to someone on the phone, not even looking our direction. When I saw my little girl's puffy eyes, tears streaming down her face, it broke my heart. We walked out of that center and that's when the seed took root. I wanted to fix it. Not just for my little girl and me, but for other moms and dads who needed a safe and nurturing place for their children. My underlying vision was to create a place with not only a strong educational foundation, but also a place where children could laugh and play and be comforted when they were sad. A place where children felt loved. I am blessed that Jay and I have been married for 25 years now and have 4 children and 1 grandchild.

I am passionate about helping parents find quality child care that works best for their needs and values. I hope you’ll stop in or call and say hello! I am also available to speak at events where my expertise (a BA in Child Development and the degree of Master of Business Administration plus  24 years of experience) would be beneficial in educating participants on selecting quality child care as well as the top mistakes parents make when selecting child care for their children. Companies also find tremendous value in partnering with me to help reduce employee callouts due to lack of quality child care. 



Open Monday - Friday 7:00am - 6:00pm