Be passionate about what you do and you will never work. Find what gives you joy and find a way to make money at it.
Janice Palmer, Owner and Managing Member of Little Peoples Child Development Center, has embraced her passion for caring and educating the children within her community.
Ms. Palmer migrated to America from Jamaica at the age of 20. She is a graduate of Southern New Hampshire University. She took her post-graduate training at the Graduate Management Institute of Union College in Schenectady, New York. After completing her education, Janice Palmer had several opportunities.
She accepted her first position on the public employee relations board through the budget examiner’s office in Albany NY. She then joined a management training program with Mohawk Community Bank through its merger to Amsterdam Savings Bank. She was offered a position with the federal government performing compliance and auditing. Eventually, she decided on a career in law enforcement.
After many years in law enforcement, and the birth of her fourth child, Janice wanted to devote her time to her family. She was searching for an opportunity that would enable her to accomplish her desire to spend more time with her children. She had become friends with the director of the childcare center that her child attended. Following a conversation about concerns with the facility and several conversations with parents, Janice came to the conclusion that the childcare industry could use her knowledge, strengths, and abilities. With a clear focus and determination, her passion was brought to fruition. She is now the owner and managing member of the Little People Child Development Center.
Where did the idea for The Little People Child Development Center come from?
I have always been an involved parent. My territory, while I was in federal law enforcement, was primarily in Delaware and Philadelphia. We live in Delaware and my husband worked in Washington,
D.C. We didn’t have family in Delaware. I became friends with the director of the childcare center that my child was attending. I listened to some of the concerns and complaints of the director and the parents. I decided to open my own childcare facility. It just made sense for me to use my knowledge, strengths, and abilities in an industry I thought could use those skills.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day starts at 5 a.m. I take the first hour of the morning for strategic planning. I review our programs. I take a proactive approach to consider a worst-case scenario. If a child became ill, what does my staffing look like? I consider who would be responsible to take a child for emergency care if required. I have to be prepared for any incidence that might arise. How do I maintain the child ratio if a teacher is called out? I am always at the ready for whatever comes my way. I support my managing staff for our opening procedures at 6:30. I make myself accessible to my staff. I spend most of my time at the Bear location. We have morning safety talks to address any concerns. I am very hands-on while I am in the building. I observe staff performance. I do coaching and mentoring. I meet with parents and staff members in the afternoons. We ready ourselves for our after-school students. We teach transitioning-to-home skills to our older children. I have additional office hours between 6 and 10 p.m., which concludes my workday.
How do you bring ideas to life?
We have a parent/teacher committee. We have relied on that committee for new ideas and the parent perspective to work collaboratively. We speak with community shareholders. We are a Delaware Stars Program. If there are new or better ways to improve upon quality, we will actively engage in the implementation of the ideas or projects. We also give our four and five-year-old’s a voice. We see what is practical and we implement them.
What’s one trend that excites you?
Universal pre-k is a trend that I believe in. I hope universal pre-k finds its place in Delaware very soon. I believe every child should have the right to a good quality early education. At times pre-k does not include all socio-economic classes. All children should have the same rights for quality education. I am hopeful universal pre-k will become law from three years of age.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I have been told that I am project-oriented and a planner. I compartmentalize and multitask extremely well. Even if I have distractions, I can prioritize and complete each objective.
What advice would you give your younger self?
The advice that I would give my younger self is to know that it will all be okay. Everyone makes mistakes. Enjoy every day and don’t take everything so seriously. Don’t miss the moment.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I have been accused of adopting everyone! I always take on everyone’s issue. I just think I provide help wherever possible. Nobody agrees with my assessment.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I would recommend that everyone stay compliant with whatever it is that you are doing. Learn the rules and regulations as well as the federal and state guidelines. If you don’t know them by heart, have them at the ready. Follow the laws that govern your industry.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One of the strategies that I use is to help people feel that it is not just my business. I want then to feel as though they have a stake in this business. I want to help my employees get to where they want to be professionally. Professional development is very important. I want to know we can help them with that as we work together. When they leave my hope is that they are in a better professional position than when they applied.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One difficulty that I have had is in finding staff who share the same vision of childcare. I seek to hire staff who have the same passion that I do for the care, safety, and education of children. Many people can appear to be a good fit as a caregiver but may not be the best choice in the long run.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Look for the one thing that you truly enjoy. No matter what it is, love what you do. Be passionate about what you do and you will never work. Find what gives you joy and find a way to make money at it.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I surprised someone with a birthday dinner. They had never had anyone do that for them before.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Childcare Management Software. It organizes my business. I can communicate with parents to keep them updated about their child’s progress. It has all the staff information. It provides a portal that I can access remotely.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I have a Times magazine article that I think every parent should read. It is called At What Cost, the brutal math for raising a child in America. It is written by Katy Riley and Belinda Luscombe.
What is your favorite quote?
“Stand for something or you will fall for anything”
– Rosa Parks
• Everyone makes mistakes. Know that it will all be okay.
• Enjoy every day and don’t take everything so seriously. Don’t miss the moment.
• Follow the laws that govern your industry.
• Find what gives you joy and find a way to make money at it.