When Hanna Compton attended the Child Care Success Summit in 2017 she was sure that everything she would hear during those three days would be old news to her. Hanna graduated from college with a degree in early childhood development and was the co-owner of a successful child care business for nearly a decade at that point so what was there possibly left to learn? To Hanna’s surprise, she was amazed and the invaluable lessons she learned and friendships made that weekend. She couldn’t let go of the knowledge and network at her fingertips so she eagerly joined the Child Care Success Academy as a Freedom member.
We asked Hanna to share her story of transformation and business growth since working with the Child Care Success Academy so other child care owners across the world can be inspired by her results.
I’m Hanna Compton, co-owner and Director of AppleTree Academy Daycare and Preschool in Peoria, IL.
I was born and raised on my family’s farm in west central Illinois, and from an early age I knew my passion and calling in life was to work with children. I am the youngest of six siblings, and from 12-years-old I cared for and babysat my nieces, nephews, and the neighbors’ children. The delight of singing a song, playing a game, or reading a book to a young child has always brought me joy! It was natural that I pursued my degree in Early Childhood Development to become a daycare and preschool teacher.
Over my career there were aspects of each center and program that I thought were excellent and aspects that I thought could be improved upon. Most of all, I believed that parents should feel that they, their teachers, and the center are a family, partnering in the care and instruction of their children. My teaching experiences, positive feedback from parents and mentors, and my passion to care for and teach children—and endless encouragement from friends, family, and my husband—convinced me and my co-owner to realize one of my life’s goals and open AppleTree Academy. Time flies and I am amazed that our daycare and preschool center has been so enthusiastically accepted by our community and successful for over a decade.
I attended the 2017 Child Care Summit thinking it was just another conference but I was amazed that it was so valuable to me and my business. We had a center with full enrollment, wonderful teachers and great parents, what more could anyone need?…so I thought! Joining the Child Care Success Academy has made me aware that there was much to improve upon, such as growth, marketing, budgeting, on-boarding, and staff appreciation & retention.
During the last year and a half I have talked with owners and directors from other states and have been encouraged by their accomplishments. I have taken their ideas and have modeled them in my center. Programs that we have introduced include yoga, sign language, dance, Spanish, and tumbling. Outdoors, we built a garden and implemented a wonderful curriculum to go with it. These were expensive investments, but they have greatly benefited our program and marketing. Now because enrollment has become so consistent we have been able to update our preschool and establish fringe benefits for our outstanding staff.
The Academy calls and time spent working with my coach have been inspiring. They’ve taught me how to motivate my leadership team and how to delegate tasks. I was taught how to motivate parents and work with my website designer and social media advisor to boost our online marketing and reviews. We created a Facebook page to share staff and children’s photos as well as center information. We developed our core values and instituted a core value program for the staff. Other excellent suggestions from my coach included teacher bonuses for employee candidate referrals, bonuses for perfect work attendance, and monthly One-on-Ones with our teachers. Implementing these suggestions has greatly increased our staff satisfaction and retention.
The most beneficial aspect of participating in the Child Care Success Academy is the opportunity to network. I have learned that I am not alone and that the challenges I face running my center are shared by many. It truly has been a pleasure to have made so many great friends who can listen to my concerns, relate to my situation, and share their experiences. I still have many goals to work on for my center, and I am so thankful to have Kris, Coach Ben, and the team for continuing to lead me forward with such great ideas for a successful, and high quality childcare center.