Owner of Greener Little Seeds, an eco-friendly child development center and preschool at 2534 Amber St.
Interviewed in April 2021
Editor’s note: The following responses have been edited for clarity and brevity.
1. How were things for you and your business in the beginning of the pandemic? How would you compare the state of your business from then to now?
At the beginning of the pandemic, things were good. What I mean by that is we were able to easily transition to becoming a virtual center. We started doing “Circle Time” online with our families and children. We were doing that three days a week, and then we were able to still stay connected with them because we use technology for communicating. So it was great.
From then to now, our capacity has reduced, and the reasoning for that is lots of families are now working remotely. They’re at home, so their needs have changed. In addition to that, I would have to say that people are hesitant to incorporate their children back into the early childhood education environment.
2. Can you describe how the City of Philadelphia has supported business owners throughout the pandemic? Have you felt supported by the city?
I would have to say that there are resources that have been available to other industries. There have been very limited resources available for childcare. I feel like there could be additional support available for the childcare industry.
3. Can you share your experience with managing safety in your business throughout the pandemic? (mask mandates, capacity restrictions, social distancing, etc.)
Since we’re an eco-friendly center, we have always been a shoeless facility. We’ve always cleaned throughout the day and had higher standards than what’s required by law for childcare.
What has changed is that now we’re no longer allowing parents to come in to drop their children off. We’re doing COVID questionnaires here at the door. We’re checking the temperatures of the team members and the children here three times a day. In addition to that, we have shoe bags that we’re putting the children’s shoes in. Everything else has stayed the same.
4. Can you share any moments in the last year where you faced a challenge that required you to find new ways to operate due to the pandemic?
It was when they first had us on lockdown. Our community of families was almost in a pause mode. I felt that it was my responsibility, being a leader in education, to continue [our services]. Not just for the children but also the families. So I made the decision within that first week to go virtual.
Thankfully, I have a great team, and we just went straight forward. We probably had a week-long gap. Every morning, we were getting online for “Circle Time.” Families were on there, and parents were on there, and it really helped to make things much better. In addition to that, twice a month, I set up a meeting with parents so that they can have an opportunity away from their children to vent, give feedback, or just ask me questions.
5. What is the best way for people to support your business?
Greener Little Seed’s vision is to educate children, families, and the community on environmental issues, and to inspire them to take positive actions towards protecting our environment and human lives. What that means is for people to start thinking differently when it comes to early childhood education, meaning that you incorporate clean environments, healthy eating, and sustainability.
I am a firm believer that when you start early with good habits, that’s what children learn, and then [it’s passed on to families and the community]. So what people could do is start thinking differently about early childhood education and the way we live our lives.
Editors: Khysir Carter, Jillian Bauer-Reese, Solmaira Valerio, Zari Tarazona / Designer: Henry Savage