The Women’s Business Development Center (WBDC) will be holding its Annual Children’s Educational Summit on Saturday, November 14, 2020. With a theme of Powering Through the Pandemic, this year’s half-day summit will be held virtually and educate childcare business owners on how to pivot and diversify their income following the fallout of COVID-19.
Lisandra Martinez, Director of the WBDC, said, “The focus of this year’s event is to bring together not just entrepreneurs in this industry, but also subject matter experts, community leaders, and seasoned entrepreneurs who have since reopened their doors, and to really communicate, collaborate and start some conversations around what we need to do to save this industry. As well as to ensure that we are helping them so that they can, in turn, help our families and those communities to continue to earn and contribute to our economy in such a difficult and challenging time.” She also added The WBDC is focused on bringing our entrepreneurs inspiration through tales of resilience from experts that can help them navigate this very unpredictable marketplace that’s impacting their businesses, communities, working families and minority women, and their ability to go out and work. Because of the increased demand for childcare for our essential workers and the number of shutdowns that these businesses have experienced, it’s become very touchy and very complicated for our families to navigate.”
Kimberlee Burt-Hendricks, one of the childcare experts featured on Saturday, will lead the conversation on pivoting to online childcare. The owner of A Child’s Space Early Learning Center, located in the city’s South Loop neighborhood, Kimberlee, quickly transitioned to an online childcare model after closing her childcare center due to COVID. “I knew that my parents were not prepared to like be home with their children and would need some tips. And because we already had our curriculum plan, we were able to shift right away,” says Kimberlee.
She soon learned that parents were tense about the learning from home model and again found herself pivoting. However, this time, she moved away from the curriculum that she had already had in place and focused more on home-based activities. Kimberlee said, “We began with telling the parents ways in which they could organically learn with their children in their homes. There’s learning everywhere in the natural home environment; there are shapes everywhere; there are colors everywhere. For example, we started recommending that they talk with their children about the different textures of the clothes they are washing, teaching them about how to measure out how much laundry detergent, letting them help with cooking, and seeing, touching, and tasting the different ingredients. This is all learning for children.” She then said, “For our parents, they began to see themselves as educators for their children. And I think that’s empowering. Especially when you help them to uncover their natural gifts.”
Smarty Pants Early Learning Center owner Daphne Williams will facilitate a session on creating new streams of income. Following the shutdown of her childcare center, Daphne found a way to continue learning outside of the classroom by creating childcare workbooks. This benefitted parents by ensuring that their children would still be developmentally on track and generated an additional stream of income for herself. Daphne said, “We wanted to make sure that the parents still had work for their children. And because my center is academically based, I needed to try to make sure that I was supplying them with what they needed to ensure that they didn’t have a COVID skill loss. Because summer reading and math losses are real.”
“Another way that we helped parents to continue the learning outside of the classroom was through the use of online resources and activities. We remained in constant communication with the parents and made sure that we were always available. I would have some parents reach out, asking for additional work outside of the packets that we were sending out because their children had already mastered those skills. So we were helping out in that way, and just finding different resources that will go with the lessons and encouraging the parents to participate in those with their kids”, says Daphne.
In addition to the two sessions hosted by Kimberlee and Daphne, WBDC attendees will also learn from experts across various fields such as architecture, finance, legal, banking, and child care cooperatives. They will learn how to open or scale their existing businesses with the challenging economy that companies face. For more information and to register for Saturday’s WBDC summit, visit https://wbdc2020virtualconference.lpages.co/riseup-childcare-summit-2020/.
Contributing Writer Racquel Coral is a national lifestyle writer based in Charlotte. Find her on social media @withloveracquel.