I am on a flight to Ohio typing this out currently. I am on my way to a training for advocates in the early education/childcare space. I will spend two days learning how to SIT in my power and how to wield the voice I have with a purpose.
But today I want to talk about what it was like surviving as a small business through a Pandemic and the impact it may have on those entering the field.
I have been working in early education since I got out of the military in 2005. I started taking care of a fellow military members child while going to school and taking care of my own child. I moved over seasons and my career just kept expanding and getting better. I moved from Germany to Maryland and my business went BOOM! I mean it was amazing, people were seeing that I was in this for the long haul, that I CARED and it impacted the clients and their children in such a positive way, that I could not see EVER doing anything other than this job.
We have been in California since 2016. Not San Diego where I am from originally from, now the DESERT!
This meant that my job was not guaranteed to be around when the world shut down in 2020. I could have lost my entire business in 2020 with no way to really recover. Mostly because I am a preschool/PreK/Kindergarten program and the reason my business does so well is because of my past clients and current clients.
I was extremely Lucky at the end of the day. My clients from the military community kept me full of the start until the end. I was exhausted with the extra cleaning, the extra research, and hyper-vigilance. I just needed a break! But taking a break could mean disaster for growing my brand-new Private school Program. What do I do? How do I survive?
I took the break. I kept my hours the same 9am-3pm. I made myself a priority. I kept thinking that the only way to make it was to be always everything to everyone. That was the road to burn out. So, I took the summer off like was the initial idea for my business.
IT. WAS. GREAT!!
I survived Covid, by taking care of myself. It sounds simple and its not. Because in this field we are not encouraged to take care of ourselves. We are encouraged to be martyrs, to think of others before ourselves. To always be available.
We are not taking care of the children if we are not taking care of the people who are educating our children.
Leave your stories below and please
Live Long and Keep Teaching
It's been a long three years! I spent so much time in survival mode that I didn't have room for anything else. As I am on summer break preparing for the new school year, I am reflecting on how much has changed since 2020.
I moved into a house off base, I turned my program into a private school and I graduated my first kindergarten class since I moved from Maryland. I have traveled all over the place teaching about diversity and inclusion in early education programs, participated in a fellowship and graduated with my Master's in Early Childhood Education.
I am so excited that I have been able to expand my career, even though I have no plans of leaving this part of the early education field. Now I am trying to get back into keeping up with all of my social media better and launching the Chaos Coordinators podcast into space!
Wish me luck! and I will see you next post!
It has been a long time since I posted. Most of that comes from the fact that we are in a pandemic. I moved all of my preschool to distance learning and worked on filming videos for my youtube channel. I had to give him filming regular videos though because I needed to concentrate on being ready for the preschool students who appeared within my Google Meet window every Tuesday and Thursday and Wednesday the individual times I needed to work on for my students.
In doing all of this I was also providing Preschool bags and my income had dropped to 50 percent. But I was lucky. While many educators were fighting their clients for half their pay while asking the provider to keep their spots and provide educational experiences for their children, I did not have to do so. My clients were so great in making sure they paid even half their tuition, that it made me go the extra mile for them.
I used Experience Early Learning curriculum to help me provide the educational tools needed to continue learning their learning at home. And the video above is clear proof of how I was willing to make a fool of myself in order to provide some semblance of normalcy.
As I moved through the weeks and finished up the paperwork to buy a house to expand my preschool (INSANITY!), I became increasingly more and more concerned that my dreams of being a preschool that was embedded in the neighborhood and providing a much needed service would be crushed. I was a military provider and we had no guidance about how unemployment would work for us. I was adrift and stressed. But I have been pushing forward.
And now here it is, July and I am a month from my Grand Re-opening and we are facing a re-surge in cases. I have worked very hard and created the classroom of my dreams, gotten my license from the state of California and I am currently full. The uncertainty that is coming with not knowing if I will continue to have a business in 2021 is astounding.
I will continue to move forward though. Because I have had this dream since I was five years old and I want to continue to in this career field. In order to do that I have to over come my fears of the future. So in an effort to do just that I have made some goals for myself that will help get to a new normal.
1. I am going to be posting once a week on this blog and my consulting blog.
2. I will post on video a week to my youtube channel.
3. I will begin offering webinars on certain topics that are childcare and early education related.
4. I am going to begin researching and writing a book on working as an Early Education Educator.
If you are having fears about the future leave them in the comments. Lets talk it out.
Live Long and Keep Teaching,
With this Blog post I wanted to take a look back at all of the many things we did with Experience Early Learning Mother Goose Time Curriculum. We spent a ton of time outside, learning new things, gaining new skills and doing it all with hands on learning, dancing and fun! Take a trip through our past and we look forward to seeing you during our future.
The difference between Preschool and Prekindergarten
Since I opened my doors in 2012, I have tried to maintain a part day preschool/prekindergarten program. I feel very strongly about creating a program that helps in a small way to close the achievement gap. I say small way, because where ever I end up, I am going to stay a small program that will be embedded into the neighborhood. In my head, I become a neighborhood staple that is well known within the community. It may seem like a weird thing to dream when it comes to my business, I understand that, I also know that after spending my entire life moving around and never being embedded in a community, I crave it. I want to provide a service that benefits and enriches the area in which I live.
I have had parents ask me to explain the difference between preschool and prekindergarten. The reason for that is because I run my program different for those two different classes. I wanted to make sure that the type of education offered between the two programs was appropriate for the children that were enrolled. So for this blog post I am going to explain what the differences are in the two programs and I will show examples of how I address children’s individual goals.
My preschool program is for ages 2-3. The preschool program is a learn through play program. This means that the activities that I pick for the day are hands on and usually child led. I may set the activities out, but they work at their own pace with them. I want them to feel comfortable in taking charge of their own education.
I encourage independence and thinking for themselves. This helps them learn how to use their imagination and inspires their dramatic play. An example of this would the theme of the month from Experience Early Learning with Mother Goose Time. We have been doing community helpers. In order to fully lean into the community helpers theme, I have set up a fire station wall with a building for the children to use the fire truck. They have been rolling the fire truck right up to the house made from a tri-fold science board and sending the fireman figure up to the top to put out the fire that is raging in the pretend house.
Another way I encourage independence and provide a learn through play environment, is with outdoor play. I provide them with loose parts in the outdoor area. Loose parts are various bits and pieces that do not particularly go together. This is amazing because the children can dive completely into the play and come up with everything without my preconceived notions of their play interfering.
This does not mean I am not teaching or leading my classroom. It does mean that I foster and facilitate early independence and we work on learning letters, numbers and shapes while they are playing. Through circle time activities, individual time that takes place during. free play in 2-5-minute increments. The individual time for this age group is not something that involves them sitting at the table to color or write. It’s 2-5 minutes of teacher directed and focused attention.
Prekindergarten is ages 4-5 and sometimes depending on abilities and maturity, I will take older 3-year olds. For this class I still use the themes that are in the Experience Early Learning curriculum, but I tend to mix in other curriculum such as Starfalls and Handwriting Without Tears. Since this is the year before Kindergarten, I want to make sure I have an accurate picture of the skills that the children have and like to make sure I can use a curriculum to address their needs. It is a benefit from working for myself, that I can be more responsive and flexible in my response to the learning styles of the children in my classrooms.
With Pre-k I am making sure that the children understand how to be independent when it comes to going to the bathroom, following directions and doing work independently. Most of the learning takes place within a learn through play environment but there are more instances of intentional teacher directed learning. I move at the pace of each individual student. Which I am able to do because I have a small classroom. The benefits of a family childcare home is that I am able to spend more time on each child and cater their learning experience to them specifically. This leads to better outcomes and encourages them to ask me for more things they would like to learn about.
If you have any questions or suggestions about how I run a preschool/prek program from home please feel free to comment, share or email me at email@example.com
Live Long and Keep Teaching!