Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Some things take time

If you are a close friend of mine, you know that I am SUPER impatient. You would also know that when I get an idea in my head, I go full speed towards it and do everything in my power to make it happen. I don't take my time, I don't take no for an answer, I certainly don't wait around for things to happen, and I work my tush off until I achieve it. This is something that has served me well in life. Also something that I'm sure annoys many people in my life ;) So now that you know this about me, you can understand how unbelievably devastated I am that we are holding enrollment for the 2017-2018 school year without advertising new classes in a new building...

This wasn't supposed to take this long. And it definitely wasn't supposed to be this hard. Almost a year ago I posted a blog (here) about my desire to find a new location that could give us all the things we so desperately need. I sat down and made a plan of how this would be achieved and then started the process of making it happen. Then...then life happened. A year of unexpected expenses, health issues, growing pains, and just plain hard stuff. The excitement quickly wore off when the price tags started adding up. Y'all, did you know parking lots can cost over $100K?!!!! What on earth!? And you can go ahead and double that if we want a nice playground. It's so discouraging. So because of this revelation, I've been in self-pity mode, whining that we have to spend another year at our current location. And to be completely honest, I'm pretty annoyed with myself. I have so much to be thankful for in regards to our current location and the future plans for a new location.

For starters, we just raised $2,158.00 from our online auction! That is so amazing!!! A HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who helped make that happen!! We had many local businesses donate items and services that were so awesome and then wonderful families bid on those items making this fundraiser a big success! Combined with our new building fundraiser last year (LulaRoe and Thirty-One sale) we now have a total of $2,736.00 in our building fund. That's pretty incredible! While we still have a long way to go to get a paved parking lot, it's a great start and I am so grateful for everyone's support in this!

Another thing I'm thankful for is that I get another year of sharing an office with my best friend. I'm sure we will each complete more work every day when we have our own offices, but we sure do have a lot fun sitting three feet from each other :)  I often think about how everything will work when we are separated and then I think, maybe we should just always share an office. It's so nice to bounce ideas off of each other, talk each other through issues, help each other, complain about Abby's loud singing with each other (sorry Abby!), and laugh together. I'm so lucky to have Caroline in my life and even luckier to spend 4+ hours a day in a 10'x10' room with her ;)

When we move to a new building, we will be leaving great neighbors. The guys at Eagle Trucking are awesome and have helped up so many times. When you work in a building full of women, it's nice to know there are guys next door that can pull your car out of the mud for you (that really happened--more than once!!!)

And mostly, I'm thankful that I am surrounded by the most supportive staff and families that I could ever ask for. You all encourage me, dream with me, help our school raise money, and most importantly, believe in us and the future of our school. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your endless kindness, smiles, and support. It is more appreciated than you know.

So where does this leave us? We are going to continue to work on raising funds towards a new location while we continue to do our thing each day. My hope is that when we are enrolling this time next year, we will be sharing details about a new building, but, if that's not the case, I will continue to be content and grateful for the amazing community we have!


Monday, November 14, 2016

Preparing for Another School Year!

I'm always surprised how quickly this time comes each year. It feels like we just start to get into the groove of our new school year and then it's time to start thinking about the next one. Each year we come up with the *perfect* plan and then when enrollment is over, we take notes of everything we need to change for the following year. It never fails and our plan has yet to be perfect after all of these years. So, with that being said, here's how we are doing it this year:

We will be holding an Open House for new families to come tour our facility, meet our teachers, and ask any questions you may have on Wednesday, January 18, 2017 from 6:30 to 7:30pm. We will have information packets available that evening and our administrative team will be available to answer questions. Children are welcome to attend. After the Open House, if you decide you would like to enroll your child, you will receive a card with instructions on what to do next. I've included a picture of the card below in case you misplace yours or want to knock the first step out now :)

We will email out a link on January 23, 2017. This link will be to a form that we need you to complete with your name and contact info, along with your child's name and preferred class. You can list up to three children per form. All forms that are submitted will be time stamped. We will begin processing the forms in the order they come in and place children in any spaces we have available. If your child receives a space, you will receive an email on January 25, 2017 with instructions on how to pay the $125.00 new student fee and when we will need your child's paperwork. If your child does not receive a space, they will be placed on our waiting list and you will receive an email by January 27, 2017.

We are excited to meet new families and it's our hope that all of you can join us for another amazing school year!!! We are currently fundraising with hopes of expanding our school in the near future so we can fit more sweet students into our awesome programs! Please let us know if you have any questions! We look forward to seeing you on January 18th :)

Monday, October 17, 2016

Midnight ramblings by a crazy preschool owner!

I have a problem. Every night I go to bed at what I would consider a decent hour. I get nice and comfy, tell my husband goodnight, and then I spend the next four hours trying to turn my brain off so I can actually sleep. And tonight, well tonight is one of those nights. I just spent the last hour reading all of our previous blog posts and then convinced myself that I needed to stay up even later to write a new post since it's been so long. So, here goes...

A lot has happened and changed since my last post in April. It was a blog I wrote about saying goodbye to some of our wonderful teachers. As I'm sure you can imagine, we have hired new teachers that are doing an exceptional job!

Miss Caitlin joined our team this year as one of our four year old teachers. She is so wonderful! Each day when I walk by her classroom, I can't help but to stop and listen. She manages her class so well. She has done an excellent job at setting her class up for success and I'm amazed at all the things they are already learning. Each student is happy and engaged every time I see them. Caitlin brings so much experience with her and I am so very grateful that she decided to join our family!

We also hired a new two year old teacher this year. Miss Laura has been a wonderful addition to the CDS family. She is so kind and sweet and has quickly made friends with all of our staff. She came into this position with so much excitement and we couldn't be happier with the way it has turned out. While most of her teaching experience is with older children, she is knocking it out of the park with our littles. I love walking into her classroom and seeing our smallest students learning just like our big ones do!!

Here is a photo of Laura and Caitlin :)

In addition to hiring new staff since my last post, we also spent the summer with some of the coolest campers around! Summer Camp and Summer Preschool were a blast this year! Can I just tell you, Miss Veronnica is a rock star! She planned a summer that was fun for all and was so organized and smooth. Our days were filled with field trips, art projects, games, messy activities, and sweet friendships. We enjoyed beach days, pool trips, movies, water parks, farm days, working out, boat rides, and so much more! Here's some pictures from our summer:

As summer came to an end, I was of course excited for my favorite time of the whole year--the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL!! We have a wonderful group of new families and of course all of our faves from last year! We had an amazing morning at the park, getting to see all of our little friends we missed over the summer and meeting new friends as well. Our staff worked hard preparing classrooms and lesson plans to help our little students have the best year possible! They really are the best group of teachers around and I am so honored that I get to be their friend and leader. Here we are goofing off at the Family Picnic:

Another thing that has happened since my last blog post is Coastal Day School turned ten years old. It's not something I celebrated this year and spent most of the day feeling down. I had visions of spending our tenth birthday in our new location or at the very least breaking ground on a new building. As you can see, that didn't happen. I had a hard time even feeling happy about what we have accomplished over the last ten years and spent the whole day beating myself up for not being where I thought we should be. But the truth is, we have done a lot in the last ten years. I forgot about a lot of those things until tonight (well, it's morning now) when I reread all of our blog posts. What a crazy ride this has been. Some of the best times of my life and most rewarding parts of my days are because of our little school and the sweet faces that walk through those doors each morning. The encouragement and love we receive on a daily basis from our wonderful parents brings so much joy to my life. Watching my staff joke with each other, dance together when the day gets rough, and laugh their butts off makes me so thankful that I get to do this everyday. Not many people get to love their job but I DO! And just because we didn't spend out tenth birthday in a new school doesn't mean that we won't for our 11th! We are still working on finding a perfect location to grow in and also working on finding a way to afford it :)

The last few weeks around CDS have been wonderful! Our school year has started out great and all of our sweet students are adjusting to their new classrooms and teachers. Like always, our families are super supportive and kind and make our jobs easy. Coastal Day School is such a fun place to be. Thank you for your continued support in this journey!

-Ashley :)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Goodbyes are never easy...

It is very rare that I post sad blogs on here. Most of my posts are about something wonderful and exciting going on here at Coastal Day School. However, today's post has tears dropping on my keyboard as I type it. If you frequent this blog, you know that I absolutely ADORE my staff. You know that I have said a million times that we are more than co-workers, we are family. A family that walks through life together and celebrates and mourns together. It's with great sadness (and excitement for them) that I inform you that our family is changing and that we will be saying goodbye to some of our amazing teachers and my very dear friends at the end of the school year. 

As most of you know, Miss Pam transitioned into a full time position at the beginning of March because of changes in her husband's job. We are so happy for their family that her husband has found a new job but that job is taking them to Florida. Up until this point, I haven't had to say goodbye to Pam. She has subbed for us a few times since she left, we've attended celebrations together, and we knew she'd be teaching summer preschool. But now the time has come we have to say goodbye. Thankfully, she will be able to attend our graduation ceremony so everyone can get one last Pam hug! Pam was such an asset to our teaching team and will be greatly missed by all.

I wish this post was ending now but unfortunately, I have more to share. Miss Susan, our beloved Bible Buddies teacher has accepted a full time teaching position at a school in Wilmington that her daughter attends. While we are very sad about this, it is an amazing opportunity for their family and we are very happy for them. Her sweetness and fun lessons and songs will be missed so deeply around CDS. She has truly been an answer to prayer and we wish her and her family the absolute best!!

And lastly, Miss Tammy, our amazing Kindergarten teacher also will be moving this summer and starting a new adventure with her family in Alabama. There are so many things I could say about Miss Tammy and how big her part has been at CDS. She has been a constant source of support for me through this journey and I will miss her immensely. Below is a letter Miss Tammy has asked me to share.

"Over the last 5 years, I have been blessed to be part of the Coastal Day School family, as a parent, and as the Kindergarten teacher. My youngest, now 7, started CDS, in the Mommy's Morning Out program, at age 2.  I immediately feel in love with CDS.  Mia adored going to school and I always felt she was loved.  What started as a break for me, turned into an amazing opportunity. I had the desire to go back to teaching, after 6 years as a stay at home mom, yet not wanting to work full time.  When Ashley proposed the idea of starting a half-day Kindergarten at CDS, I was excited and nervous.  Fast forward 3 ½ years and I look back and think about the process.  I have had the privilege of working with an amazing administration, staff, students and parents.  I feel blessed to have had this extraordinary journey.  With that being said, the Kindergarten program, is sort of, my baby.  I developed the program, set the standards, picked the curriculum and got it up and running. After three short years, it is a full program with a waiting list.  I am proud to say I was part of it.

As the school year comes to a close, my family will be relocating to Birmingham, Alabama.   My husband has accepted a job with Southern Nuclear Company.  It's strange how life makes a full circle some times. An opportunity came looking for Randall, and the perks that came along were too good to pass up. For Randall and I, it's like going back home.  We were both born and raised in Alabama.  Though, we will still be a couple of hours from home, we are excited to be closer and have our family be able to attend exciting events the girls participate in.  I will admit, coming in a close second to family, will be experiencing “Alabama Football” weekends with them. 

As I leave with a heavy heart, I am very excited to announce my replacement, Natalie Sasser.  Natalie holds a NC Teaching License, taught Kindergarten at Supply Elementary and is currently working on her Master's Degree in Curriculum, Instruction and Supervision. Natalie has been one of the 4 year old teachers for 2 years and was my sub for Kindergarten the first year.  She has worked with me all year, rotating learning center groups to best benefit our current students.  More importantly, Natalie is an amazing person. Her personality and passion for teaching will only benefit the Kindergarten program  Families moving into kindergarten next year are going to have an amazing year with Mrs. Natalie."

Goodness, we will miss these ladies so much and feel so honored to have been able to work with them. Each of them have had a big part in our little school.

We are in the process of finding new teachers to join our family. Because of the changes, a few of our current teachers will be stepping into new roles as we work to find each of our staff's "sweet spot"! I know that change can sometimes be scary but we feel very confident that we will find the perfect teachers to help us grow, learn, and have fun next school year!!

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Dreaming of Bigger and Better

In just six short months we will be celebrating ten years of business. At times, it feels like we just opened our doors yesterday. And yet, at other times, it feels like a lifetime ago when we welcomed our first student. What a whirlwind of an adventure owning Coastal Day School has been! There have been AMAZING moments that I have shared because of this business. Moments I would have never had the honor of being part of if it weren’t for our little school. And of course, there have been downright awful moments that we lived through, not knowing if it was ever going to get better. There were times in the last ten years that I counted pennies to buy groceries for my family, and other times that a family outing or vacation was only possible because of CDS. I’ve spent countless hours praising God for placing me in this position and just as many hours begging Him to make everything better. As I type this, I can truly say, I am grateful for it all. I am grateful for the good times for the obvious reasons but I am equally grateful for the bad times. It is in those times of despair that you find your passion and work hard for what you want. It’s in those times you test the limits of your commitment and truly find out what you are capable of. It is in those moments that the mission of Coastal Day School became clear to me and I decided it was worth everything I had to see our little school change lives.

Our mission at CDS is simple.

We want to provide a learning environment where students feel loved, safe, and respected, and where teachers provide a broad range of activities to help each child learn to the best of their abilities. We work hard to foster independence, growth, and friendships. We also strive to provide parents and staff with a community of adults that care for their family and will support them.

My staff and I work very diligently every day to make sure that we are doing just that. Facilitating a community, a family, that will support each other and grow together. We spend countless hours planning and preparing lesson plans, activities, and events for our families to participate in and enjoy. We spend time together, mentor each other, and help each other become the very best educators we can be. And in our opinion, we are just getting started.

We have dreams for CDS. BIG dreams. Wild, crazy BIG dreams.

We dream of building a facility that will meet the needs of our students and offer our teachers opportunities for growth they couldn’t find anywhere else. We dream of a school that will have spaces for our students to create, explore, and express themselves. We dream of a school that will provide our students with cutting-edge technology to prepare them for the world we live in. A school that has space to accommodate the whole family. A place that our community can utilize. A place that feels like home each time you enter it. A space that doesn’t have a line to get into the bathroom and has more than enough parking spaces :)

Like our success thus far, we can’t do this without your support. We would love your prayers along the way as well as any advice or suggestions you have. If you see a piece of property or building that would work, let us know! We will also be having several fundraisers to help with the crazy costs of everything that it takes to build a building or upfit a new space. Our first fundraiser will be a LuLaRoe Mom’s Night Out on Friday, March 11th at CDS from 7-9pm. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go towards our new building fund! It’s going to be a fun night with lots of cute clothing!! Here is the Facebook Event link if you’d like more information!

To everyone that has been there for us over the last ten years, thank you. Thank you for believing in us, trusting us, and encouraging us. Your love and support means more to me than you could possibly know. It is my hope that you feel the same from the entire CDS staff in return. 

With love,

Monday, February 1, 2016

Fun in the Sun! - Summer Programs at CDS

With the amazing weather we are having this week, we can't stop thinking about SUMMER!! Our summer programs here at CDS are full of fun and we would love for your child to join us!! We have a few different programs to choose from and have included information below for each. We will begin accepting registration for our half day Summer Preschool program and our full day Summer Camp program today! All of our spaces are first come, first serve and spaces are limited in each class. We will also be offering Mommy's Morning Out in the summer and will begin registering for that on May 2nd.

Half Day Summer Preschool
Our half day Summer Preschool Program is offered for eight weeks during the summer. We offer two classes that are divided by age. We offer a two/three year old class. Students must turn two by May 31st to join this class. We also offer a four/five year old class. Student must turn four by May 31st to join this class. We have two-day (Tuesdays and Thursdays), three-day (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,) and five-day options available. We will accept 12 students each day. Check out the link below for more information as well as registration forms!

Full Day Summer Camp


Our full day Summer Camp Program is offered for ten weeks  during the summer. We offer tons of fun activities as well as a field trip every day! Camp is open to all children ages 5-12 years old. Campers must turn five by May 31st to join our camp program. We have two-day (Tuesdays and Thursdays), three-day (Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays,) and five-day options available. Our camp is limited to 30 campers each day. Check out the link below for more information as well as registration forms!

Brochure for Full Day Summer Camp

Registration Forms for Full Day Summer Camp

We are super excited about all the fun we will have this summer!! Please contact us with any questions you have and enjoy this beautiful weather :)


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Our Family is Growing

As most of you know, we just had our Open House last week along with registration for our 2016-2017 school year. We loved meeting our new family members and are so excited to get to know everyone better once our school year starts! I feel like I always tell everyone that we are family around here, but I think it's one of those things you have to experience to really understand. We love these kiddos like they're our own and enjoy chatting with moms and dads every morning and at special events. As a staff, we support each other, help each other, laugh, cry, and pray together! I can't think of any place I'd rather work than right here at CDS! We always joke around about how our staff kids own this place. They LOVE coming to work with their mommies every morning and really enjoy being spoiled with lollipops and other candy after school is over. Just like their moms, they are growing and learning together and they truly love each other. It's our hope that every child that joins our program feels the same comfort and love that our staff kids feel. We love seeing our students come in each morning with a big smile on their face and love how happy they are to see their teachers and friends! We are so excited for next year and all the fun we will have! Welcome to our family!!

Three staff kids having fun after class :)