Meet Kari: Owner of Acorn Patch Family Childcare
I’ve known Kari for ages. We both grew up in Holliston, her graduating 2 years before me, the same year as one of my older brothers. Being from a small town and having siblings means you get to know a lot of people. Kari and I ran in similar crowds in high school, so while I wouldn’t say we were besties growing up, we definitely knew each other and have actually gotten to know each other even better in our adult lives.
Because of the nature of her business (a family child care center), I met Kari at her house on a Saturday morning, when all of the kiddos weren’t there. It wouldn’t be appropriate for me to visit during the week when she’s opened with Covid looming around, so we went for a weekend where she’d be able to sanitize her space after I left. Kari has built such an inviting space in the lower level of her home for her childcare center.
Kari has carved out an entire floor of her home and dedicated that to her childcare center. Running a childcare program seems like it can be a lot of work. Kari talked about how Covid protocols are constantly changing and she needs to keep up with those. She mentioned how she has to keep up with continuing Ed and certifications to keep her daycare running. While I was there, she was tidying up, she also has to keep up with cleaning/sanitizing on a daily basis. In addition to this, she's coming up with her curriculum each day for the kids and welcoming them into her home every day. She seems not only to enjoy her work so much, she makes it seem easy.
If you’re looking for part time or full time care for your littles, definitely consider Acorn Patch Family Childcare - you will not be disappointed!
Before meeting Kari, I sent her some questions to answer. Keep scrolling to some more pics of Kari's childcare space and to see how she responded!
1. What’s the name of your business and where is your business located?
Acorn Patch Family Childcare
6 Acorn Street
Bellingham, MA 02019
2. What type of business is it?
Family childcare, in-home daycare. Ages birth through school age.
3. Tell me a little bit about yourself?
I was born and raised in Holliston, moved around a bit after graduating high school and college (Framingham State) and finally settled down in Bellingham about five years ago.
I originally worked in the banking/finance industry and always felt like something was missing; I wanted to help people in some way but also wanted to be around children. One day on the way to work I had an epiphany to start a home daycare and then went on a mission to become fully licensed through the state.
I always wanted to be a teacher but my high school guidance counselor told me I was not smart enough to pass the MTELs. I showed her...I not only have a bachelors in Economics with a concentration in business but I also earned my MBA.
I am married and we have three kids, ages 18, 5, and 4 (OMG on the 16th Tillian will be FOUR!!!), two dogs, and a horse.
4. What has your biggest challenge been starting your own business?
Um, well one of my biggest challenges when starting my business was figuring out the logistics of working out of my house. It was really hard for my family to understand that during childcare hours I am not available to do home things.
The other big challenge I face is some parents look at me as a 'babysitter' rather than an educator since I work out of my home. I am continuously taking trainings, learning about new theories and the best ways to guide and teach children. Some parents believe all a home daycare is, is a glorified playdate whereas it is a structured day with specific learning (academics and social-emotional) experiences.
5. What is your favorite part about running your own business?
Definitely being my own boss; it allows me to organize in a way that works for me rather than someone else. I can create my own daily routines that work for the children in my care, I am able to introduce new topics to children and expand on the parts of those topics the children are most interested in learning about. I am able to tailor my routines and curriculum to the current group of children I have enrolled and as the children age out or their interests change I can modify my curriculum and routines to match.
6. What is one thing you wish you knew before getting started?
I wish I had realized I gained the ability to be selective in what clients I enrolled and how to respond to those families that just didn't fit with my program and teaching style. I have taken this as a learning experience and really fine-tuned those interview skills to make sure the incoming families are a good fit for my program
7. What advice do you have for anyone trying to start their own business?
Time management is key when you run your own business; suddenly there isn't anyone there taking taxes out of your paychecks, reminding you what documents you need to keep, defining the hours you work, and how to keep a work/life balance. Definitely prioritize your work life balance and make sure you build in time to practice self-care so you don't burn yourself out.
8. Who is your role model/who inspired you to start your own business?
I would have to say my youngest children's daycare provider. Seeing how she was able to create an extended family with the children (and their families) made me want to do the same thing.
If you haven't already, make sure to check out Kari's facebook page (click here) and make sure to keep following me to hear about some other amazing woman owned businesses!
Thanks for stopping by!