534 days. That’s how many days it took from our first site tour of a potential daycare space to turning the key for one last pre-renovation look at OUR space. It’s still hard to believe that it’s ours. 

We’re the Bishops. myself and my sister currently run a dayhome in Starling, Edmonton. We’ve had a dream of running a daycare and finally that dream is about to come true. But, we don’t want to just run a daycare, we want to help raise kids, be a part of families and make a difference in little people’s lives. Interested in our adventure? Read on.

About us: 
Alicia – I’m an Elementary School teacher, or at least I was. My last day in the classroom was the day my son was born. I taught grades one through three in the Tevie Miller Program at the School for the Deaf. It was an amazing but demanding job. Now I spend my days, teaching tiny tots, creating dramatic play station and kissing skinned knees. It’s pretty amazing and I am beyond fortunate that this is my career.

Randall – Randall works as a Project Manager at a local web firm Yellow Pencil. He’s a funny, happy go lucky, golf loving guy. The kids adore when he is around the day home – he’s like the shiny new toy and can captivate them for hours on end. 

William – William is a creative, entertaining and loud three and a half year old (He’s three and a part if you ask him). He is magically drawn towards all things dirty and can spend hours creating amazing works of art.

Rosalie – “Posie” is our spunky, semi-easy going toddler. She’s into everything her brother is into and “Although she be but little, she is fierce”.

Kaitlyn – Kaitlyn got sucked into the day home life just before Rosalie was born and we won’t let her out. Just kidding, she loves the kids and they adore her! Kaitlyn spent countless hours volunteering in my classroom and the day home prior to making a career change and joining the Tot Spot Academy team full time. She’s an essential part of our team and we couldn’t imagine having anyone else go on this adventure with us.

Our new Venture: 

In August the day home as we know it will change. We’re moving over into a larger facility and making a 2000 square foot space on Mckenney Ave in St. Albert Tot Spots new home. Tonight we walked through the space, the existing walls were all still in place but the floor was covered in tape laying out where our new walls will go.  It’s going to be lots.of.work. Thankfully we’ve hired an amazing contracting team and we’re confident that things will progress smoothly on their end.

As I stood in the space I felt a mixture of emotions but ultimately this is going to be a good change. Day home hours are long. 7:15 – 5:15 five days a week. There’s usually a 45 minute (ish) break in there during which time we sweep the floor, empty and reload the dishwasher and cut up snack for the afternoon. With the help of an amazing staff, we hope to gain a few daylight hours (and a bit of my sanity) back.

But we’re going to miss our cozy, designed for the day home play room and the laughter that fills our house each day. The hardest part of this journey wasn’t the defeat we felt with every offer that didn’t pan out, it was telling our current day home families that we’re moving. We received mixed reactions… surprise, excitement, nervousness. All to be expected. When you run a day home or daycare like ours you’re not just looking after kids. You’re filling their days with smiles, laughter, hugs, kisses, stories, games and tickles. You are helping to raise them, you’re important to them and you love them. Of course, we want nothing more than for them to stay with us, take a leap of faith, make the change, but ultimately we want them to choose what is best for their families.

So now, we spend our evenings doing all the regular operations, cleaning, emails and paperwork to keep our current day home running as is, while we try to squeeze in time for licencing work, approving designs, handbooks, staff books, interviews and planning for our new Daycare. Its busy but it’s our dream and we’re going to make a premier, child-centered daycare. 

Now, on to this weeks program plan.