Like many businesses, Kiddie Academy of Feasterville made the difficult decision to shut down in mid-March as the COVID-19 pandemic began to crest in Pennsylvania. But even though the building was closed, the Academy staff went into overdrive. They revamped everyday practices so that when the Academy reopened in early May, it was tailored to operate in this new normal.
Academy owner Maria Littig explained that, “The approach we took was to focus on educating ourselves on the pandemic with actionable health and safety protocols related to our unique population. After we were educated, we could then determine next steps and implementation.”
Maria outlined several key steps in the process of making the successful transition to their new model, including:
- Shifting the role of Director Michele Klimas from day-to-day operations to that of a strategic enrollment planner and safety strategist. She participated in ongoing trainings through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state and other organizations, becoming the in-house expert on how to prevent the spread of the virus.
- They created a remote working environment that stressed engagement, collaboration and constant communication. The teaching staff quickly adjusted to remote teaching, conducting lessons via Zoom three times a week. They encouraged teachers to enroll in Child Development Associate credential classes, accredited continuing education classes or free trainings for their professional development.
- They closely aligned with their state licensing representative on training plans for a safe return to work, ongoing sanitation throughout center and new health and safety protocols to be implemented when the Academy reopened.
- For families, they maintained ongoing communications, developed flexible enrollment and tuition solutions and explained new COVID-related procedures.
They also invested in a fresh paint job, floor waxing, exterior maintenance and contracted with a COVID-approved vendor to clean and sanitize the Academy.
Maria can’t say enough about the hard work of her incredible staff. “They say, ‘It takes a community,’ and at Kiddie Academy our motto is ‘Community begins here.’”
PHOTO CAP: Kiddie Academy is committed to providing a safe place for children