Open Discussion Forum

Expand all | Collapse all

New Early Learning Plaza

  • 1.  New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 08-10-2019 05:45 AM
    Hello,
    My husband and I are grandparents who have each had more than one career already. But we see a desperate need for childcare choices in our community and are thinking of opening a childcare center.
    My background is in hospital fundraising and community engagement. My husband retired from 31 years of teaching middle school and has a M-Ed Admin. We've both had successful small businesses, but Early Learning Is new to us. That being said, we are passionate about the expertise needed for high quality preschool and daycare for our most precious resource. Therefore, we believe childcare workers must be recognized and compensated well for their contribution to our communities.
    We understand the State of Oregon has committed $$$ to help the K-12 school districts  start their own childcare programs 0-5 with an emphasis on kindergarten readiness.
    My questions to you is how do you see K12 impacting current childcare options in your community? Do you think state funded preschool and daycare programs will be accepted by the parents? Would a Reggio Emilia approach be a viable alternative? What percentage of your clientele will you lose to free public programs?
    Have any of you conducted parent surveys? If so can you recommend a service?
    i am new to this forum. I appreciate your work and will welcome your comments.
    warmly,
    Gina Bennett
    Baker City, Oregon

    ------------------------------
    Gina Bennett
    Freelance Writer
    Early Learning Advocate
    Baker City, Oregon
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 08-11-2019 12:35 PM
    Hello Gina,

    I am curious to know how you determined there is a desperate need for early childhood education (ECE) programs in your community. It sounds to me like you and your husband about the experience to build a business.

    I am based in Washington, DC where we have had Universal Pre-k for 3 and 4 yr. olds in effect for 10 years. Our Pre-k system includes the traditional public school system, DCPS, Charter Schools and Community-based ECE programs. It's a parent choice system and is connected to legislation. As with any legislation, from my experience, we have challenges implementing the law, however, I believe, the system is improving. I found families are focused on selecting a quality Pre-k program, as their top priority, and then determine which program is convenient and best meet their needs as a family. During the 10 years, families seem to value the choices. Sometimes they choose a community-based program, approved by our state education department, because they believe their child isn't ready to be in a school with older children.

    As one who had the opportunity to lead the implementation of 2 Pre-k classrooms in a community-based program, I found how you market the program is a key factor in the success of attracting and retaining families in the Pre-k classrooms. Also, identifying key indicators as evidence your Pre-k classrooms are high quality is important. For example, is your ECE program nationally accredited, what has been the outcome of your most recent licensing visit, scores on the Environmental Rating Scales and CLASS, etc.

    The latest opportunity is DC Public Schools System and Charter Schools are partnering with Community-based ECE programs to have an infant/toddler program in the school.

    For me, Reggio Emilia is an approach to use to create a high quality learning environment to provide evidence the children have the foundation they need to succeed in school and life. I also am aware of Reggio infused programs that incorporate this approach into an evidenced-based program for the children they serve. I think it is helpful to know how Reggio Emilia is viewed by your potential customers, the families, and if it is an approach they value enough to enroll their child in your program.

    While some of our Community-based ECE programs has families choose a Pre-k classroom other than the one they operate, I think having a strategic plan and a marketing plan may have played a role in the families choosing another option. My experience, as a former administrator and director of ECE programs is that families select high quality programs that provide them with the evidence they want to know their child will be successful in school and life.

    I would suggest contacting your NAEYC affiliate to find out what resources and support they have available to those who are interested in open an Early Childhood Education business. I would also suggested coming to the NAEYC Annual Conference in Nashville, TN in November to continue to learn about the field of ECE.

    If there is anything I can possibly do to be of assistance to you and your husband, please let me know.

    ------------------------------
    Robert Gundling, Ed.D.
    Better Futures LLC
    Senior Consultant
    Washington, DC
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 08-13-2019 02:07 PM
    Dear Robert,
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful reply. You've given us real world advice and we appreciate the time you put into your response. We are considering coming to NAEYC in Nashville this fall; in fact we were there last fall, the entire month of October, recording music with a friend in Springhill. At that time, we had not become involved in ECE.
    We were introduced to the "desperate need" for childcare in our community when I was contracted as a grant writer for the school district last winter. We applied for an Early School Success Grant offered by the Children's Institute, but were not awarded. We are located 304 miles from Portland (one way), so it is always a challenge to meet with people on the other side of the mountains, especially in winter. Anyway, as a result of that invitation, I've been attending a committee organized by the school district of partner agencies that include representatives of Eastern Oregon Early Learning HUB, Head Start, DHS, Health Dept., Hospital, School District, Public Library, Special Ed, a Literary Coalition, and other community members who are all dedicated to helping families. Our most recent community needs assessment identified approximately 835 children between 0-age five live in our county. We are a county of 16,000 people, which is quite small and economically depressed. The closure of lumber mills a few years ago caused a dip in employment, and it is estimated 53% (or more) of children qualify for free and reduced lunch program. Informal surveys of business owners indicate they would hire more if people had high-quality childcare options available, but the few that currently exist in our community are always full with waiting lists.
    We are still at the drawing board at this point. I am talking with childcare professionals as often as possible to gain insight.
    Again, thank you so much for your response.
    gina

    ------------------------------
    Gina Bennett
    Freelance Writer
    Early Learning Advocate
    Baker City, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 08-12-2019 12:39 PM
    Hi Gina,
    I think it's wonderful that you and your husband realize the need for high quality childcare! It's huge-especially in rural areas.
    Also, I want to mention the big difference between early childhood education and middle-school/adolescent education. :-)

    I would encourage you to check out the Early Head Start Child Care Partnership/Build Initiative. (You can google it and that should lead you to other resources). This is a program to implement high-quality early care/child care with developmentally appropriate guidelines (Head Start Program Performance Standards).

    Another place to go would be the state's Early Learning Division (I can give you a contact). Or check with your county's Early Learning Hub or local Head Start organization.

    Again, so great that you're aware of this issue and want to make it available to your community!
    Email me if you'd like.

    Gayle Campbell


    ------------------------------
    Gayle Campbell
    Education Coordinator
    Grand Ronde Head Start Preschool
    Grand Ronde OR
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 08-13-2019 02:20 PM
    Hi Gayle,
    Thank you so much for your encouraging words. We are in touch with the Eastern Oregon Early Learning HUB, the Director of EOU Head Start, and the Early Learning Division, as well as several other agencies such as Building Healthy Families, CCR&R, etc.
    Since learning the School District plans to begin offering Preschool and maybe Daycare in the future, we are wondering if opening a "niche" ELC will still work. Obviously, Early Learning Centers, Childcare, Infant care, are all businesses that need to stay afloat with donations, grants, state and federal support, and childcare fees in order to make childcare affordable. However, once "fees" are gone and it is publicly funded to all parents in the public school, who will be left to opt into a private system? Will there still be a need for a private system?
    Will it be like private school is now for K-12? Meaning it will have to be "niche" program like an academy or a parochial school?
    We think our next step will be to gather data and survey our community's parents who may be want to choose options other than public school.
    With this news, I'm not sure our plan will be sustainable.
    Thank you again,
    gina

    ------------------------------
    Gina Bennett
    Freelance Writer
    Early Learning Advocate
    Baker City, Oregon
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 08-13-2019 04:36 PM
    A community assessment seems like a great idea!
    Good luck in your adventure!
    Gayle
    P.S. The legislature has plans for opening up 1,000 Early Head Start slots in the project 'Baby Promise' which is like the 'Preschool Promise' program for children 3-5; babies are from 0-3.

    ------------------------------
    Gayle Campbell
    Education Coordinator
    Grand Ronde Head Start Preschool
    Grand Ronde OR
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 28 days ago
    Gina,

    In California, free state-funded preschool programs have vigorously recruited children from low-income families such that family child care providers often are left with only infants and toddlers to care for. The low child-adult ratios for younger children can make it difficult for providers to financially survive. Personally, I know of at least six family child care providers who have closed their doors this year; other providers have voiced concern about being able to continue to operate their business.

    Parents have the right to choose where their children are cared for, so it seems imperative for family child care providers to be vocal about extolling the benefits of a home environment for young children as well as a small group size. Offering unique benefits, such as a monthly date night for parents is another way to attract families.

    The National Association for Family Child Care (NAFCC) has a wealth of information to support new providers. You may want to contact your local family child care association and talk to other providers about your concerns.



    ------------------------------
    JodyJohnson
    Associate Professor
    San Juan CapoCA
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: New Early Learning Plaza

    Posted 28 days ago
    Dear Jody,
    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I am hoping to start a discussion in our community about how to provide a safety net for current small centers and in-home providers that may not be able to sustain their businesses. A date-night sounds like a good idea! I'll look into the resource you shared as well.
    We are currently studying the shared services model, where-in providers can come together to use one administrator for scheduling, payroll, reporting, etc., share a head teacher or staff to cover vacations and sick days. I'd welcome more about that from you or anyone else on the forum.
    warmly,
    gina

    ------------------------------
    Gina Bennett
    Freelance Writer
    Early Learning Advocate
    Baker City, Oregon
    ------------------------------