Learning is fun at the new Miles of Smiles Childcare
Peabody, MA – As local Child Care Provider, Amanda Ireland, describes her new program, she says she’s most excited to help children grow—and continue to learn right alongside them.
“I’m at my happiest when I’m around kids,” says the Peabody mother of three. “They are funny, creative, and fun. Of course there are tough moments, but it’s all a learning experience. Learning what they like, how they express themselves; there’s always something new.”
Miles of Smiles Childcare will open in Amanda’s home this fall, and applications are currently being accepted for children ages four months to five years.
“I always thought about opening my own program, but the process seemed daunting,” Amanda says. “By partnering with NeighborSchools, I’ve had a lot of help navigating the setup, and they will continue to support me after the program opens.”
In addition to NeighborSchools' partnership, Amanda says one of her motivations was to establish her own business and provide a unique service to local families. “My two older children are in school and my youngest will be headed to kindergarten before I know it,” she explains. “I wanted to make sure I have something for myself, something that I’m passionate about. And I am looking forward to supporting other parents.”
“When my oldest was in daycare, I remember how much it helped to have her on a consistent nap schedule. I hope that I’m able to help parents in those kinds of ways, figuring out schedules that work when they are at my program and at home. I want parents to think of my program as an extension of their family.”
Miles of Smiles Childcare will be located in the brightly lit, bottom floor of Amanda’s home, with a main play area and a kitchen for snacks and meals. “We’ll have a toy space, a reading nook, arts and craft center, and plenty of room to dance, be creative, and get a little messy,” says Amanda. Children will also enjoy time in Amanda’s spacious backyard. “Outside, we’ll have lots of fun, sensory-focused activities. I love to create experiences for kids to play with sand, water, and other items that introduce them to new textures or experiences. Whether it’s adding shaving cream to water buckets or burying objects in shredded paper—I like to keep things interesting!”
And it is that open mind and creative spirit that defines Miles of Smiles Childcare. “I always want learning to be fun,” says Amanda. “Depending on the children’s ages, we’ll include more structured learning, but above all I want them to feel relaxed. I think children learn best when they are having fun.” Amanda even incorporates laughter into the most mundane of daily activities. “I really like turning things into songs,” she says. “I’ll take the melody of popular kids music and make up a song about whatever we’re doing. It makes the kids laugh and more engaged.”
As a NeighborSchools Provider, Amanda has had access to a network of experienced Providers and business experts in securing her licensed and launching her program. Family Child Care Providers are licensed through the Massachusetts’s Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). Per state law, Providers must complete trainings on childhood development, health, and safety; undergo a thorough home inspection and three-part background check; and maintain current pediatric CPR & First Aid certificates. More information about Massachusetts’s FCC licensing requirements can be found on the EEC’s website.
“Anytime you do something new, it can be scary,” Amanda says. “But just like babies learning to walk, I keep reminding myself that it’s all about taking small steps. I’m just excited to get to know the kids and support their families.”
Click here to learn more about Miles of Smiles Childcare and read testimonials.
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NeighborSchools partners with experienced educators to launch world-class licensed Family Child Care programs. In supporting the creation of more small-scale child care programs, NeighborSchools helps increase access to high-quality programs. Children benefit from lower ratios, greater continuity of care, and a nurturing home environment. Parents can discover and build a relationship with a Provider located right in their neighborhood. Providers get to launch the program of their dreams and earn a living wage, while working hands-on with young children every day.