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Koala Park Daycare Thrives In Tuckahoe

Karina Wyllie and Lily Mazzarella with Valentino and Izzy.
Karina Wyllie and Lily Mazzarella with Valentino and Izzy. Photo Credit: Zak Failla

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. – When Karina Wyllie opened Koala Park Daycare out of her Tuckahoe home in May, she had no idea how quickly the operation would grow.

Just four months later, Wyllie and her mother, Lily Mazzarella are accepting children for their fall program, with space enough for one toddler and one infant in her day-care program on Armourvilla Avenue.

Wyllie said her business got a quick start, when a fellow mother at her dentist’s office overheard her discussing her day-care center and promptly signed up a week after Wyllie received licensing.

“We landed our first child within our first week, Aiden, and within two weeks we already had two more,” Wyllie, who also looks after her 1-year-old son and 4-year-old daughter, said. “Everyone has been pretty satisfied, and there have been absolutely no complaints.”

Koala Park got its start after Wyllie relocated to Westchester from Long Island in 2010. After struggling to find local, affordable day care for her then infant daughter, she decided to open up a full-time center out of her home.

The schedule runs for 10 hours each day, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. There is an additional part-time schedule from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or 12:30 to 4:30 p.m.

“We’re able to provide one-on-one attention, and also provide meals, which is unique. We have breakfast, lunch, a morning and afternoon snack,” she said. “As a mother, I’d prefer [an operation] like this one, with such a small group.”

One important factor that sets Koala Park aside from its competitors is that it is both licensed through the state and insured. Wyllie said that she and Mazzarella are licensed to have as many as six full-time children, with two more for after school hours. There is also a $1 million insurance policy to protect against any potential injuries or accidents.

“Many family day cares are not licensed, and will charge just pennies on the dollar for daily care, many parents like that about us,” she said. “What’s most important to parents is safety, security and leaving their children in a place they can trust.” 

There will be an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. on Sept. 12 for parents interested in enrolling their children in the day-care program. Those interested can call Wyllie at 914-337-0110 or e-mail

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