Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your business?
I am a mother of 5 kids, ranging from 2 to 26. I have always had a love for both children and Education. I have a bachelor’s degree in interdisciplinary studies with concentrations in Sociology and Business Management from the University of Memphis, as well as an Masters of Arts in Education from Union University, Masters of Business Administration from the University of Memphis. My education also includes Certifications in both Strategic Leadership and Project Management.
Having my youngest child, promoted me to open Ready, Set, Grow Learning Academy due to not being able to find childcare services that included all of the things that I was looking for. i.e. great price, right location, STEAM/STEM curriculum. The centers that I really liked, that did have those things all had extremely long waiting list. I felt that if it was this hard for me to find adequate childcare, that I am sure that there are other parents in the same situation.
Owning/operating a daycare center has always been something that I wanted to do. I believe here in Memphis, Midtown in general the need is great and our center has a lot to offer to parents and the community. We just had our grand opening Dec 2nd! And we are currently enrolling students.
What attracted you to the Medical District?
I work Downtown and pass through here all the time. I think it is a great and growing area, and there are not a lot of Daycare centers in the midtown/medical districts that have hours that support the area business and that have openings. I thought it would be a great area to be in. The location is easy accessible from anywhere in Memphis.
What age group will you be serving?
We provide Childcare services from ages 6 weeks to 5 years old. We are available for before and after school care, as well as Summer Programs for all ages. Our pre-school program is focused on ages 2-5 years old preparing them for Kindergarten.
Have you ever received any business supports from MMDC?
Yes, I did receive the Predevelopment Grant. This has helped me pay for an architect to help re-design the front and back of the building. The architect was referred to me by Vonesha Mitchell at MMDC. I love the designs and can’t wait to see the new façade! I also received an Event Grant for our Grand Opening.
Can you highlight some special services that will be offered here?
One of the biggest incentives besides the curriculum, is our operating hours. We do follow Shelby County School Calendar. We plan to be open for most holidays, that most of the area daycares will be closed. We have extended hours late night and weekend hours available. We will also host Parents Day/Night out monthly. This is great for people who need drop in services when their regular facilities are closed for example on Christmas Eve, or on days of inclement weather. If we are able to be open, we will be open because a lot of businesses do not close, therefore parents have to work.
We offer a STEAM curriculum- Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. We will have an iPad station, computer station, and medical students volunteering their time for Science lessons. I have a teacher who is employed full-time with Memphis Ballet who will come every 2 weeks to do a 30-minute lesson with our 3-5-year olds. This is all included in the tuition.
We have contracted with Happy Feet to add soccer to our program, and contracted with Kindermusic, Music with Annette and Friends.
We have a young lady who will come and teach 30 minutes of Spanish daily- starting from our 9-month olds up. For the summer program, we will hold a reading camp, and I hope to start a book donation drive for that as well.
Can you speak more on your immersive curriculum? Why is the implementation of this inclusive and holistic education important to you?
It is import to develop a sturdy foundation for preschoolers in some of the most technical academic fields. STEM/STEAM focused jobs are expected to grow over the next 10 years at a faster rate than non-STEM jobs. It is more likely that these preschoolers will enter a workforce that offers more opportunities in these fields then we have seen before. Professionals support that the early we introduced these concepts to children the more successful they will be in STEM subjects.
By introducing STEM in our center early, we are fostering their interest in STEM. Why wait to high school, when many times that is too late to keep their interest in these subjects. Anthony Murphy, executive director for the National Center for STEM Elementary Education at St. Catherine University wrote in an article for the U.S. New & World Report that research finds that by the fourth grade nearly a third of students have lost interest in science.
We aim to prepare students for the future by creating the interest in STEM early, that it will help them secure financial security later on in their lives. As Early Childhood Educators, we are role models for our scholars. We have the opportunity to be an example, to show scholars that we can be excited about math and science. If our educational leaders show their excitement about these core subjects’ scholars will be more curious about these subjects as well.
We want our scholars to also learn compassion and peace and to find their purpose through service to the community. In doing so we have things planned to raise money for St. Jude and Memphis Child Advocacy in addition to food drives during the holidays. We want to teach the children the important of service to the community.
Our teacher student ratio allows for us to be in tune with each child’s unique needs, and their skills. Which will allow us to tailor the curriculum, and lessons to fit how that particular child learns. We are not presenting a cookie cutter lesson, and teaching methods. Our goals in the center is to prepare each scholar to become well-rounded adults.
How can people get in contact with your business? Website, social media?
We have a website- getreadysetgrowlearning.com. There is a lot of information on there and parents can go there to setup a tour of the Daycare. We are also on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter at Ready Set Grow Learning Academy.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the community? Any upcoming promotions, specials, events?
I am currently running a special. For parents who tour and pay their registration and supply fee in the same week as the tour, the first week of tuition is free for one child. If multiple children are enrolled, they will receive 1 week free for the first child, 50% of the second child tuition. This is offer is for those enrolling full time and will expire at the end of February. We are also scheduled to appear on ABC24 News morning show January 21, 2019.