‘Tiny tykes’ welcomed at the new Sandy’s TinyTykes Daycare
Haverhill, MA – While raising her three children, Sandra Emery admits she didn’t appreciate the challenge of finding reliable, convenient, and affordable child care. “My kids stayed with my parents while I worked,” Sandra explains. “For me, child care was never a concern.”
But that all changed when Sandra’s grandson was born several months premature and required specialized, early intervention. “For the very first time, I was thinking ‘wow this is so hard,’” admits Sandra. “How do you decide who to trust with your little one?”
Sandra, who is now preparing to open Sandy's Tiny Tykes Daycare in Haverhill this fall describes that experience as her ‘a-ha moment.’ “I’ve always loved caring for children, so it just clicked with me. I want to be that person parents can trust, especially if the children have special needs. When you come into my home, you are a part of my family.”
Sandy’s TinyTykes Daycare will open as a licensed Family Child Care (FCC) program, regulated and certified by Massachusetts’ Department of Early Education and Care (EEC). All FCC providers are required to undergo training on childhood development and safety; complete a thorough home inspection (along with unannounced site visits) and three-part background check; and maintain current pediatric CPR & First Aid certificates. To learn more about licensing requirements, visit the EEC’s website.
Daily activities at Sandy’s TinyTykes Daycare will focus on encouraging the imagination. “I have a reading area, art and coloring space, and lots of opportunities to play with different sensory items,” says Sandra. “And my program space has a really comfy rug, so we can have fun playing games on the floor. I think it’s important for kids to have activities that trigger their imagination.”
This seemingly boundless creativity is what Sandra most treasures about her work with children. “I just love listening to what’s on their minds,” she says, who explains that one of her favorite games is to begin a story and then ask the kids to continue it. “As adults, we’re so preoccupied with life obligations, schedules, grocery lists. But kids are fascinated by all these amazing little things. It really brings you back down to earth.”
By opening her own program, Sandra is excited to have the flexibility to cater to the unique needs of the children. “Every child is different,” she says. “By setting up my own shop, I get to let the kids be themselves. Obviously, I’ve created general schedules, but everything will be tweaked once I’ve met the kids, and I see what they respond to. I love introducing different activities to explore their little minds. You can see them really thinking and processing, and it’s so rewarding when something clicks.”
As Sandra creates a program that is uniquely her own, she also draws on the knowledge and experience of NeighborSchools’ team of FCC experts. NeighborSchools is helping Sandra navigate the licensing process, design her curriculum, set up the business systems, and market her child care to local families. With NeighborSchools’ help, Sandra has been able to focus on the things she loves most: preparing her home to support kids and encourage their imaginations.
And Sandra says she can’t imagine it any other way. “I honestly can’t picture going back to an office job,” she admits. “I feel so lucky that I get to take care of little ones, prepare them for school, and be a part of their lives. This is what I want to do, and I’m ready to jump in, full steam ahead.
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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.