Back in 2001 Ellen & her husband had two young children at home and were faced with the question that so many parents wrestle with: do they both go back to work and pay for full-time childcare, or should one of them stay home and put their professional ambitions on hold to raise their kids? The economics are tough; full-time childcare for two kids can easily cost more than a parent's annual salary, and with so few high-quality programs, many parents reluctantly opt to stay home.
Ellen, however, found a third path. Ellen had always been entrepreneurial and always loved working with children, and from this challenging position Ellen found an opportunity for growth. Ellen obtained her License from the Massachusetts Dept. of Early Education & Care and opened her high-quality, low-frills program with four children in her home in Acton. Ellen's reputation as an outstanding Educator soon got out, and Ellen found herself with a long waitlist of families that recognize her program as a true gem in their neighborhood. Over the years, Ellen has grown her program, bringing on a full-time assistant and expanding enrollment to 10 children.
Ellen's program has transformed her career. As an educator, Ellen gets to design a program that aligns with her educational philosophies - with lots of play-base learning and arts & crafts activities - and, unlike directors in large centers, she still works directly with children every day. As a professional, Ellen gets to work with families that value and appreciate her role in the lives of their children. Ellen's program also earns her more - nearly twice as much - as she could earn working in any other early-childhood education setting. This is the magic of in-home programs - the best educators get to work hands on with children and get to earn a livable wage, all for less than a center-based program.
Ellen knows that high-quality in-home programs can be a win for Educators and Parents alike. That's why she's teaming up with NeighborSchools as a mentor to educators as they get their new programs off the ground. Together, with mentors like Ellen, and support from all of us here at NeighborSchools, we're empowering the next generation of early-childhood educators to open thriving, in-home programs of their own.