Sunday, November 3, 2013

A little more about us…

It’s so hard for me to believe that this year marked our seventh anniversary!! Time is flying by! I always love telling people our story, sharing our times of celebration and excitement, and also sharing what it took to get where we are today, which wasn’t always fun. I am amazed as I look back over the years and see what we have accomplished and the lives that were touched through our little school. Here is a little play-by-play of the last several years here at Coastal Day School:

2006: We found a location!! In June we signed a lease for a 1200 sq. ft. unit on the second floor of Cross Creek Commons located along highway 17 in front of the Leland Walmart. Construction started and after a few months of hard work we opened for business on September 12th. At the time, we operated as Kids At Play Drop-In Child Care. We offered drop-in care and soon after we opened, we added preschool and after school care. Our first preschool class had 4 children. I was excited to be leading the way along with my two awesome employees!
2007: This year was pretty uneventful but good for Kids At Play!! This year we changed our name a little to Kids At Play Education Center as we began to put more focus on our preschool classes. This year our preschool grew to 12-15 students. Our drop-in business and staff were slowly growing as well.

2008: What a year. Not every year has been great and this was one of those years. We discovered this year that we could no longer offer drop-in care if we were going to offer full time care for our after school students when they were out of school. We had a tough decision to make and when you only have 15-20 preschool students and 10 after school students, it’s a BIG deal taking away half of your business. It was a tough year full of struggles and at many times, I wondered if we would survive as a small business. Thankfully, I have an amazing business partner that stuck with me through this hard time and helped keep me sane and the electric on! She’s truly a blessing in my life!!

2009: Time to move!! We secured our new location on Blackwell Road and began renovation. Let me tell you something, it took vision to see what it could become. We spent many long days (and well into the nights) scrubbing, sanitizing, and scraping to get our new facility to a place where we could finally paint and install flooring. For the month of December we lived on Mr. Frosty’s subs and Claritin Allergy medicine. We were operating on no sleep and stress levels were high, not to mention we were broke and trying to upfit a new space. Things were tough but somehow we pulled it off and were ready to open January 1st!
Here are a few "before" photos of our new location
This last one was our lobby. The front right door is now our Kindergarten room and the second door is to our library. We had to cut an opening on the back wall to gain access to the hallway. Crazy to see the difference!!

2010: As 2009 ended, the only way to go was up!! We opened in our new location on January 2nd and things finally started getting better. We spent this year working to improve our location adding a playground and security system. We grew a lot this year. As 2010 ended, it was nice to look back and see that all our stress and hard work paid off.

2011: This year was full of change. This is the year we decided that we would add Kindergarten in the near future, Miss Caroline transitioned into her new administrative role (this was hard for me in the beginning—first person ever to know the inside workings of our business and the first person I was able to give up a little control to), and decided we would change our name to Coastal Day School. We also built our awesome library this year. We added a few new staff members as well this year taking our total to 8 teachers, the most we ever had!! We were averaging around 40 preschool students and 12 after school students at this point.
Our awesome library
2012: My favorite year ever!! This is the year with the most growth ever, we added some amazing teachers, we officially changed our name, and I got to teach the most wonderful class of four year olds! This is also the year I learned to give up *almost* complete control to Caroline in the office to free myself to teach. We added our resource classes this year along with our reading pull-outs (ending the school year with 7 readers.) With our new name, we worked hard to add some coastal flair to our facility. We added our new lobby area and landscaping. Often times throughout this journey, I have felt unequipped and pretty much a failure. This year changed that for me. This is the year that all the pieces started falling into place and I stepped back and was amazed with what I saw. We were thriving. We had an AMAZING staff that I thanked God every day for. There was so much learning and laughing going on each and every day and I was so thrilled about it. I was loving my life and my job. I spent a day this year re-watching all our end of year DVD’s and my heart was so happy looking back at all the incredible families I had the honor of meeting and so many of those people will forever be part of my life. I felt like the luckiest person in the world that these parents allowed me to be part of their child’s life and trusted my staff and I to lead, guide, and teach their precious children. Have I mentioned I REALLY LOVE my job?!
My AMAZING class at our Halloween Party!!
Our new lobby

2013: And here we are, another amazing year to add to the books. With new families and teachers, and our very first Kindergarten class, we are getting ready to end another year full of learning, giggles, and fun! We are now averaging 65-70 preschool/kindergarten/MMO children and 20-25 after school children along with 11 teachers leading the way. I'm looking forward to our future plans of building a new facility and expanding our elementary grades! What a truly blessed person I am. I am forever grateful for all the moms and dads out there that stepped through our door and saw a place for their child to grow and learn.  I am touched each day by your encouraging words and support. Coastal Day School would never be what it is today without all of you and your faith in our program and in me. Thank you for helping me to become the teacher, leader, and person I am today. I love all of you and am thankful you all play a part in my story.

-Ashley (owner/program director)



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