What made you open your own childcare Centre after graduation?
I graduated as a Certified Teacher for the Elementary age, and after a few years of occasional work, it was proving to be a challenge to secure something permanent. Keeping my passion of working with children in mind, I explored ideas and fields that had a dire need and realized in Toronto, licensed child care was exactly where I wanted to focus my future work.
I began researching what it would take to open and run a child care centre, and how to start a business from scratch. It was quite overwhelming to begin with, and is an arduous process dealing with the regulatory bodies to work towards getting a license, but dedication and passion pushed me forward, as well as lots of support from my husband. I enrolled at Seneca College in the Accelerated Early Childhood Education program and got my diploma in less than a year.
After graduating with my ECE, I needed some experience before opening my own centre so I worked for a couple of years in licensed child care, and spend my down time planning for the opening of my own centre.
Did you have a mentor? What did they teach you that served you well?
Sadly, it was hard to find contacts in the field who were willing to share their story, provide advice, or even talk about their experiences with opening their centres. I tried by cold calling, emailing or asking for coffee/chats with other operators but unfortunately to no avail. I did not have any mentors through the process.
What are the biggest challenges that you face as a Director/Owner?
The biggest challenge at the moment is staffing – finding quality RECE’s and ECA’s, training, retention, and attendance. Building a strong supply list is near impossible as many people are looking for consistent hours rather than on call, and supply staffing agencies charge unaffordable rates for emergency staffing. It’s hard to compete with the school board salaries and benefits, so many quality RECE’s are taking jobs with boards rather than at licensed child care centres.
If you’re interested in learning more about Aspiring Academics Preschoool, visit their website: http://aspiringacademicspreschool.com