WEST LAFAYETTE -- The pinch of an unstable economy has trickled down to daycare facilities. And Precious Treasures, Inc. in West Lafayette is no exception.

Director Francie Shuck said there are about 100 children, from ages six-weeks-old to sixth grade, enrolled at the center, however, daily attendance is somewhere around 45 to 50 kids.

"We're taking a beating like everyone else," Shuck said. "If parents aren't working then they aren't needing daycare."

In a cost-saving effort, Shuck has also become the cook and dishwasher in order to save money at the center. She said she plans to hire someone at the beginning of the new year but wanted to wait until after the holidays as well as save money at the center.

"It (attendance) has picked up this fall," Shuck said, "but other directors of centers are seeing the same thing."

The West Lafayette center, which has been open since 1996, is open for children Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is no limitation on where the children live or income status for a child to be enrolled in any of the programs. There are students enrolled from the Ridgewood school district as well as from Newcomerstown and even Guernsey County residents.

The programs for younger children follow the integrated pre-school criteria as well as pre-K goals.

"They work on school readiness skills," Shuck said.

They also assist with homework for older students as well as walk them to school (Ridgewood students only) or pick them up from school, which is close to the daycare center.

The daycare center is located inside the West Lafayette United Methodist Church and religion is taught by having the children pray before snacks and meals. Sometimes, the church's pastor visits with the children to sing songs and take part in other activities.

The children have also been busy working on their Thanksgiving Day program as well as their Christmas program which is Dec. 17.

"We're really busy" Shuck said. "We do a lot of things this time of year."

The center will be having Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 9 a.m. Breakfast will be served starting at 9 a.m. and tickets are being sold.

A cookbook will also be published for the center.

All of the extra things such as the Breakfast with Santa or cookbook sales, goes directly to the children's needs at the center, Shuck said. She said its not for salaries or personnel issues. The money goes right to the children for supplies and other items that they need.

"There are people that still don't know we're here," Shuck said and that's something they would like to change.

If you would like to visit the center or would like to enroll your student, call Shuck at (740) 545-6082. Precious Treasures, Inc. is located at 120 W. Union Ave., West Lafayette.