Children's Accademy Preschool
Children’s Academy offers quality childcare with a solid foundation in early childhood development
Lynn Curtis is the owner and managing director of Children’s Academy Preschool in Cottonwood Heights. Her business has been named the 2019 SBA Utah Woman-Owned Business of the Year.
Curtis has been working as an early childhood educator for more than 23 years after beginning her career with a child care business in her home. She then moved into a child care center and has been a teacher, director and center owner.
“I wanted to help working families by providing quality child care. Something I had a very hard time finding when my children were young,” Curtis said.
Curtis is also an instructor and coach at Children’s Service Society, a technical consultant for the Child Care Professional Development Institute at Weber State University and a co-founder of the Director Network Group of Utah. She enjoys reaching out to other directors and centers to help them improve the quality of care. She loves teaching adults and watching them gain new insight as to why a child is behaving the way they do and knowing that they can take that information back to the classroom and be a positive person in a child’s life.
Curtis believes that child care needs a more professional approach. “This is not just ‘playing’ all day, but helping to create the future,” she said. With this model, she has created a program filled with professional staff who continue to improve each and every day and understand the importance of their role.
“We focus on being honest, trustworthy and creating a community. The children, the parents and the teachers are all valued and appreciated for the important part they each play. We could not have such a great program without each of them,” Curtis said.
With 125 children, she decided that because of the lack of space and exploding demand, she needed to expand to a larger facility. Since she was in a good financial position, she decided to buy some land and construct new facilities for her preschool.
She was talking with her bank about what she needed to apply for a loan. She came to the Small Business Development Center because she needed help with creating a business plan and forecast for the new facility. Jim Herrin, director of the Salt Lake SBDC, met with Lynn and worked with her to create a solid plan and financial projections for several different scenarios for her business growth. This resulted in approval of an SBA 504 guaranteed loan of $3.3 million in the second half of 2017.
“The SBDC was instrumental in helping me with the growth of my company,” Curtis said. They helped her with business plans, and how and who to request financing from. “They recommended I apply to the Goldman Sachs 10K small-business course to help learn and understand the business world so I no longer felt lost. And when I was ready to purchase and build my own school, the SBA was great in helping me with financing so I was able to achieve my dream,” she said.
With this new facility, Curtis has been able to expand their services to include children that are too old to go to preschool but too young to stay home.
Children’s Academy Preschool offers high-quality child care for children from birth to age 8. They have secure facilities with video cameras in each room where parents can view their children live on a computer or smartphone. They are dedicated to making children feel like they are somewhere they want to be, rather than somewhere they have to go. Children’s Academy Preschool accomplishes this by employing professional staff and teachers, maintaining a first-rate facility, as well as promoting a learning environment for children of all ages.
“It is hard work and (owning your own business) will not be easy but it is possible. Ask for help and don’t give up on your dream. I feel very proud to have achieved my dream and help others in the process,” Curtis said.
Curtis is on the Board of the Utah Association for the Education of Young Children and on the committee for the Utah Early Childhood Conference. She enjoys reaching out to other directors and centers to help them improve the quality of care.
Beyond this, the Children’s Academy Preschool does service projects and collects donated funds and items for special groups. This year’s group was the Humane Society of Utah. They also visit retirement homes to sing, visit and do other activities.