When it comes to experience, Cindy has it all! Having worked as a Director of Cloverdale Child Care for over 20 years she has seen the ups and downs of child care. Cloverdale Child Care Center is a Non Profit Preschool, Daycare and After School Program for children in Vancouver BC. Their programs are structured with the understanding that children learn best through play. What I love about their center is that they “strive to be a warm welcoming and safe place for families to attend”. Their center is filled with love and gentle nurture for each and every child.
What Cindy loves most about her job is the children. She also loves learning new things, working closely with the government and the flexibility it offers to her family, since she now plays the role of Grandmother in her family. Although, their center is thriving they still have issues that seem to affect most child care centers that we serve. Cindy explains that the most challenging part of her job as Director is “finding people to work”. “There is a huge shortage of staff in our area” she explained. Second to staffing is, having money to keep the program running. Cindy’s center runs mostly off tuition, but they do get some assistance from the government and grants as well.
Despite the challenges that Cindy has faced over the last 20 years she has managed to grow a now very large center that serves a wide variety of needs. When Cindy started 20 years ago, the center only had 14 children. They were small and “operated on paper” as Cindy explained and “at times phone calls and memos would get lost”. As they grew they started using a child care software company, it was a huge step up from paper, but it had a few issues as well. The main issue was the new system was not web based and it was very slow. This made it very difficult for multiple users to access the information and they couldn’t access anything from home. Although this software was a step in the right direction, Cindy explained that “it just wasn’t cutting it for their needs”.
When Cindy found Sandbox she was very excited about its accessibility. Both her and her assistant director could log on at the same time and they could even log in from home! She also explained how Sandbox made it “easier to track billing and was especially nice for doing tax receipts”. Since Cindy’s center is licensed, they spent some time with their licensor making sure that Sandbox would comply with their many licensing requirements. After some time Cindy explains that “they got their licensor on board with the program”. Cindy says that “they are catching up with the times” and have accepted full use of Sandbox in their area now. If you have ever managed a licensed center, you know this is no small task and a huge victory!
As I mentioned before when Cindy started at her school there was only 14 children, today their center has over 160 children enrolled. Coming into the school with little management background Cindy saw potential. It wasn’t too long after, that Cindy had a waiting list on their program, which at the time was just an after school program. She went to the school and asked for more space. She was able to prove the need and the school accepted and gave her another room. Because of Cindy’s great relational skills and the time she had spent building that relationship with the school, space was provided as her program began to grow.
At one point she saw a need for a preschool program within the school. Once again she went to the school leadership and they provided yet another space for her to use. Little did the school know at the time, but that preschool program was going to be the ticket to saved their school from closing down. Cindy explained “at one point they wanted to close the elementary school, however, we were able to show that the preschool was adding enrollment to the school which kept them from closing it”, because of this the school was able to remain open!
When asked about her next step in growth Cindy explained that “she didn’t see herself adding any more programs”, but that “there was a chance for another site in a couple of years”. Cindy has been able to build those relationships that really matter and as we can see here they have paid off. Because of those strong bonds, the government is now coming to her and asking her to help with the planning of another school in their area.
After examining Cloverdale Child Care Center and their fabulous leader Cindy, I have seen one thing for sure, and that is that relationships are key. You never know who you will meet, why or when it will matter. It’s only a matter of time and that person may end up impacting your life or center in a huge way. I can only imagine how many lives Cindy has impacted and conintues to impact. A big thank you to her for all the work that she has done in her local area and we are happy that Sandbox could assist her in this journey.
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