At Kiddie Academy® Educational Child Care, it’s in our DNA to look at everything that happens as an opportunity to learn. That applies to good times and bad. This past year, even as we were faced with operating during a pandemic, there were plenty of learning opportunities.
We recently interviewed several Kiddie Academy Franchisees to hear about some of their takeaways from 2020. What they shared were things that will serve them well beyond the pandemic – fast thinking, enhanced health protocols, increased communications and knowing that Kiddie Academy corporate will be there to offer broad support when it’s needed.
Below, you can find a sampling of what they told us. You can also follow the links from the quotes to watch video interviews where these Kiddie Academy Franchisees expand on their pandemic experiences.
Matt: “In a way, it’s cemented our purpose, being able to do this, being able to provide child care for people who need it during times like this, times of challenge.”
Jen: “As soon as the pandemic hit, we just started making quick decisions. We started a preschool-at-home program, which was partially a YouTube channel. And we had a program that still involves the families coming to the Academy to pick up food and educational materials. We were able to create that program very quickly and it was a success. And we were able to get a lot of participation with that program.
“The team at Kiddie Academy has just been world class, when we were struggling to figure out which decisions we should make. We called our Franchise Business Consultant who would share with us what other Academies were doing. It was such a help. I know that there are some preschools out there that were in isolation, but I felt like we were part of a strong network.”
“I think a lot of the things we’ve added will carry forward after COVID. We’ll be able to continue advertising all our health and safety features, this new, clean facility, and things that we do to keep their children safe.”
“We opened Winter Park in the peak of the pandemic in May. And that was a little bit scary, but we had our goal and we had to adapt and make changes and try to increase our communication with the families. Even if we didn’t know how to do it, we always had the support from Kiddie Academy.
“They had the webinars to teach us how to improve our skills with the technology and how to stay connected with the families. Kiddie Academy was fast, and suddenly they had a whole lot of material for us to send home to the families. They showed us how to be resilient, how to adapt and to know that everything’s going to be all right in the middle of all the chaos.”
Laura: “As ugly as all of this has been, it’s just required us to just step up to a whole new place and make the very best out of it that we can. We put the new Health Essentials protocols in place, which introduced a new set of drop-off procedures. But our Directors are saying that an unexpected positive outcome of that is that it’s made separation easier. The children aren’t clinging to their parents’ legs, crying for them not to leave.”
Tom: “Generally, what we have seen is the Kiddie Academy community, including our teachers, including ourselves and enrolled families have grown together even more.”
“We’ve had to reimagine how we provide a high-quality level of care in a time that most people were unsure of how we would even make it through the pandemic.
“We’ve learned how to be more flexible. We’ve learned to be more creative. We’ve engaged community partners that I think without the pandemic we otherwise would not have built a relationship with. I think we learned how to improve, even though we’re doing a lot more digitally, I think we learned how to improve the authenticity of our communications with people.
“I’m not sure that our staff could have made that adjustment without the support and tools from the Education team that we were able to access in KARES. And I think that that really evolved during the pandemic, those pieces that came out of Education Department and they really listened to us, in terms of our needs or if we needed additional materials.”
“We’re going to be fine. We’re going to be fine through this, and the reason we’re going to be fine, the reason I know that is because of our community. When I say community, I think of it in three different ways. Our community of parents – they have been tremendous throughout this whole thing and the trust and the relationship and the partnership we’ve been able to have with them throughout the pandemic, it’s built a relationship that is so strong. The second part would definitely be our teachers. Again, we’ve been able to keep our teachers employed. We’ve been able to provide work for them. And then, lastly, our community with Kiddie Academy. Not just Kiddie Academy corporate – all the different areas that helped us throughout the pandemic – but those Kiddie Academy community members in terms of Franchisees and the support that they’ve been able to provide as peers has been huge. As long as that community is intact, we can tackle any pandemic.”
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