“You don’t have the “right” degree or experience…”
We’ve actually been told this A LOT. Can’t lie, it still stings to this day…
We’ve been thinking a lot about who should start preschools.
If you’ve wanted to start a preschool, but if you’re ever been told (or if you feel) that you don’t have the “right” degree or experience…
Let us validate your entry into this world by saying: “We see you. We’ve felt the same way. We’ve struggled, too…”
But there is a reason we’ve felt that we don’t have the “right” degree or experience…
After all, who is capable, who is qualified, and who is deemed “worthy enough” to teach children?
You see, there are some in our field who would say the only people “worthy enough” to teach preschool are those with degrees in Early Childhood Education. After all, they know the “why” behind the “what” and “how.”
They’ve learned all the research (in college) to know how to implement best practice and meet each child’s developmental needs.
And while we absolutely agree that it is vital to know everything there is about best practice (after all, how can we offer THE BEST preschool experience for our students if we don’t know this?) we do question one aspect of their thinking.
They say we HAVE to have the “right” degree – a degree in Early Childhood Education.
Not a Child Development degree, because that leans itself to just the research on development and less on implementing it in a classroom setting…
Not an Education degree, because that leans itself to teaching K-6 or 7-12 and less on teaching 3- to 5-year-olds…
And certainly not a Business or Marketing degree, because that leans itself to running a business and less on making a difference in children’s lives…
We have literally had people tell us all of this, and much more:
“Who were you to start a preschool? You didn’t have an Early Childhood Education degree! You didn’t have experience teaching preschool in a classroom setting! You must just be in this for the money! You’re setting a horrible example telling moms that they can do this, when obviously they have no formal education in E.C.E. or teaching experience. Leave preschool to the experts, and go make money somewhere else.”
For real. And to be honest, these conversations sometimes still nip at our confidence. When we remember their words, it still stings a little.
They make us feel LESS THAN. As if our preschools are LESS THAN. As if our teaching is LESS THAN. As if our very being is LESS THAN and “not worthy” to enter their world.
To all the critics on their lofty pedestals, who tell us (and every successful preschool owner who doesn’t meet their criteria) that we don’t belong in this world, we say this:
Open your eyes, and open your heart. There are PERFECTLY CAPABLE women who will QUALIFY themselves in their own way to be MORE THAN WORTHY of teaching children.
Their passion to make a difference surpasses many college students. Their drive to make the best preschool surpasses many business owners. And their dedication to learning (in their own way) surpasses many preschool teachers.
Our preschool owners do not SETTLE. They do not get CONTENT. They are always striving to become a better preschool teacher, a better business owner, and a better leader.
They did not learn that in COLLEGE. They learned that by being the underdog. They have to fight. They have to prove to the naysayers that they deserve a place in this degree-toting world.
And it is for them that we fight. We fight for their rights to be able to start their own preschools. Because no woman should be told what she can’t do.
If we had listened to all the critics before we had started our preschool, we would have given up. We would have buckled under their steely-eyed, disapproving gaze. We would never have created our little home preschool that blessed 24 children our very first year.
And we certainly would never have grown it into the largest preschool (that was not a daycare) in the greater Boise area ten years later.
We would never have been able to give jobs to the 50+ teachers and substitutes who taught at our school.
We would never have been able to bless the more than 1,000 children’s lives who have walked inside our preschool’s doors.
We could have waited for someone with the “right” degree and “right” experience to open such a preschool and bless these children’s lives…
But THAT PERSON never came. It was ME who showed up… ME who had faults… ME who had an imperfect degree and teaching background…
And I said, “WE ARE ENOUGH! And what we don’t know, we can LEARN!”
And that is why we believe there is a new standard for who can start a preschool.
We truly believe that if a woman has these three qualifications we will list below, that we can help her to create the absolute most amazing preschool she can ever dream up.
But if she doesn’t have all 3, we will concede that she should not start a preschool, because we can’t help someone who doesn’t want to be LOVING, LEARNING, and DEDICATED.
1. She must be loving to children.
If she isn’t loving to children, we cannot help her. But if she commits to showing love to children (regardless if situations are calm or difficult), she can be an amazing preschool owner.
2. She must be willing to learn best practice and implement it in her classroom.
If she isn’t willing to learn, we cannot help her. But if she commits to studying (regardless if that studying is inside or outside of college) and implementing best practice, she can be an amazing preschool owner.
3. She must be dedicated and not give up.
If she gives up before she ever starts her preschool, we cannot help her. But if she commits to push forward (regardless if things are easy or challenging), she can be an amazing preschool owner.
So there, we have said it. We have drawn our proverbial line in the sand, as one would say.
We will refute the critics. We have created the new “barrier to entry” in this field. And it is not lower… it is more accepting and more inclusive.
We will continue to fight for the underdogs–our preschool owners–and ourselves, who as we speak are blessing tens of thousands of children’s lives across the world. We will continue to be their champion and pave the way for them so they can serve in the only way they know how: to teach.
If you’re tired of the naysayers and the doubters, the best thing you can do is to prove them wrong!
If you want to stay home with your kids, create a consistent income, and make a difference in children’s lives even if you don’t have the “right” degree or experience…
Then you should start a preschool, too!