About Us

Smiling Kids
Click here to read an article about The Bridges from a local newspaper

Become Part of Our History

Choose over 40 years of experience when it comes to your child’s care and education. Previous students have brought their children and grandchildren to be cared for by our licensed and insured professionals. Join the generations of families who have entrusted their children in our care.

Making your child feel comfortable while fostering an engaging and educational environment is our top priority. The Bridges’ can ease the transition and anxiety many students face when starting school by offering the benefits of both a structured classroom and an in-home environment. Enjoy a recently renovated facility, including new play equipment, updated classrooms, and more. Register online or call today.
Mary Kay and Cal Ervasti

A Letter From the Owner and Operator

Dear Parents,

When I think back to my first job as a teacher at Wee World in Hastings after leaving college, it’s amazing to see how that job led to my passion and profession as the owner and operator of The Bridges for forty years. But that’s the truth!

We converted my childhood home into the child care center and pre-school we use today. Although the home has been streamlined into the colorful, safe, engaging center it is today, we like to think that home and family values still color our atmosphere. We raised our three children in the home we built adjacent to the center. We are so pleased our daughter, Maria, has taken over the day-to-day operation of the center as director and teacher.

Our forty years of providing this service to the children and families of Dakota County have led us to these core beliefs:

We believe...

... children are precious and must be valued and respected

… children function best in small groups

… children thrive in resource-rich, sensory environments

… in providing professional, experienced, and caring staff

… children need to be nourished

…socially through playing and working together cognitively through math, science, art, music and communication activities ethically through emphasis on values, mutual respect, and empathy kinesthetically through creative movement, free play, and supervised outdoor activities

… children are valued members of our community, we want to help them build bridges to their futures

… in commitment and continuity: our child care center is now celebrating its 40th anniversary. We are family owned and operated business. The second generation of our family is carrying on our tradition of trusted service to the families of Dakota County.

Mary Kay and Cal Ervasti
Maria Mau

A Letter From One of Our Teachers

The Bridges has been my home since I was a little girl and still is my home. At 34 years old, I am doing exactly what I wanted to do when my childhood teachers would ask me, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wouldn’t trade being a teacher and a director at The Bridges for anything for this is what I know best. I grew up in this environment my entire life: first, as a student of my parents and other Bridges teachers; then as an assistant while I was in high school and college; and, now as a teacher and director. My original plan when I went to college was to become a teacher in a school district; however, after job shadowing several teachers in elementary schools, I did not feel that the school district was where my passion would be fulfilled. Something was missing. While exploring different options and areas in the education field, The Bridges always remained in the back of my mind. This is why I am here today and where my passion remains.

My passion has stemmed from the best teachers: my parents, Ms. Mary Kaye and Mr. Cal. I was a student in their classrooms where I learned the nursery rhymes, the alphabet, and the numbers with all of my mother’s puppet friends. We even made the best seasonal cookies, cakes and treats right in the classroom. My classmates looked up to my dad. He gave the best pushes on the swings and read great stories. I was always wondering as a child why my classmates would run to him with open arms, ready to embrace him as he entered, saying, “Mr. Cal!” The children still do this today. Eyes light up, smiles appear, and arms embrace as I watch the excitement in the children. Seeing these moments now as a teacher clarifies what I saw as a child among my classmates. My father’s decision to join my mom in owning and operating The Bridges has contributed to the long term success of The Bridges.

My parents truly have a gift when it comes to teaching and working with children. I am able to reach my full potential and utilize my creativity and talents as a teacher/director because of what I have learned from them. Every day is a different day at The Bridges. I cannot even begin to express the rewards of developing my own learning activities that enrich and foster the children academically, socially and emotionally. We have one parent that says to us, as he leaves his children in our care before he heads to work, “I’m Living the Dream!” This is exactly what I am doing, living my dream. Years ago, I had pretend students (my dolls) that I used to teach in my childhood playroom. Now, I have real students, students of mine and The Bridges.

Maria Mau
2nd Generation Director / Teacher
The Bridges Child Care & Preschool
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