Crayons 2 Pencils - The Next Step

Winner

Jill Larsen
Crayons 2 Pencils
Norwalk, IA
Crayons 2 Pencils has been a strong Norwalk based business for ten years. Our program is built on the principle of the importance of the relationship that a teacher has with the child & family through the vital early childhood years as well as the value of hands on activities and educational play.
Our current business model is home-based and dedicated to serving the needs of families with a stay-at-home parent in need of part time preschool. Our program currently serves approximately 45 families and over fifty children ages two – five, through a staggered preschool schedule according to age. Our program has served families in and around Norwalk for approximately ten years. In that time, we have gained an exemplary reputation that has resulted in pre-registrations filling the upcoming year to capacity approximately seven months in advance, with a waitlist and no room for expansion to accommodate all of the families requesting a place in our program.

As a mother of five, and in building strong relationships with the families in my program, I am very aware of the need for a larger child care program that continues to offer a dedicated preschool program, but also meets the needs of working families by providing a full service day care facility. Recognizing that Norwalk is in a state of significant growth, I believe that now is the time to take our current program and business model and move to a full child care facility that will retain the current preschool program in a separate classroom, but that will also meet the needs of all families in our rapidly expanding city.

Based on my experience as both a mother and a business owner, I know that there is value in building a strong relationship with a single primary care provider during early childhood, but also in having opportunities available for educational experiences within a group setting. That’s where my business model is unique to the typical day care center.

At Crayons 2 Pencils, the business model ensures that our teachers are of the highest quality and not just a “baby-sitter” in a classroom. Additionally, our model is built on the foundation of building a relationship with the child and families that remain through early childhood. To accomplish this, teachers will loop with the children as they move up in age and programs. Meaning that a teacher or set of teachers will advance to the next level each fall with the children in their care.

To accomplish our goal of bringing a high quality child care program to Norwalk, we must move from our current home based location to a center where we can meet the needs of both our current preschool only families, as well as families working full-time in search of a single location for high quality child care for children through age ten.

In working with the current Norwalk child care center directors for, “Little Hands Big Dreams” and two church based locations, we all agree that at this time, Norwalk is not prepared to meet the existing need for child care as these centers are often turning families away. With the significant growth anticipated in the upcoming years, another daycare is necessary to prevent families from seeking care outside of the city and causing a loss of money that could be spent in and around Norwalk.
We have found an ideal location that will be convenient for families at 800 Colonial Circle, Norwalk, IA 50211. As the owner of Crayons 2 Pencils, I am prepared to take on the high cost of expenses to open the center such as remodeling to meet codes including the cost of a kitchen with specific requirements for fire codes, adding bathrooms and sinks to classrooms, as well as filling each classroom with the required furniture, educational toys and shelving systems to meet the needs of the children for both the preschool and full-time classes.

Based on priorities, the sacrifice we have made at this time has an impact on the ability for outdoor play. We need to install privacy fencing and build a playground system that will allow safe play so that we are able to continue our goal of providing an organic learning environment. It’s this specific need that has compelled us to apply for this generous grant. Being awarded this grant will allow us to move up our timeline for installing the privacy fence and opening the playground to better serve the needs of the children and families of Norwalk.

Current Rank

10

Number of Votes

514
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