|A cool example of a sensory room|
One of those is my dream of starting a school. I have written about it before and even made a website for it.
I have been thinking of it as more of a long-term plan, like a "some day" kind of thing. But today I was thinking about both of my parents putting in super long hours at jobs that they don't really like, and thinking how I do not want to be like that. Even subbing is a nightmare to me, because it is a mixture of being anxious about never knowing exactly what I am supposed to be doing, and boredom from not really having much of a purpose. (I mean, yeah, subs are important, and there are people who consider subbing their full time job and love it. But the parts I love best about teaching... getting to know the kids, creating a classroom environment, planning the lessons, and meeting ongoing challenges, are not really a part of subbing.)
So then I was thinking... here I am with no job, no place to live, no anything... literally, nothing to lose. Literally. Lit-er-all-y. If there was ever a time for me to take a chance and try to create something out of nothing, it would be now! Because, if it doesn't work out... well, the worst case scenario would still find me at the same place that I am at now. And maybe even a little better off, because of the experiences I'll have gone through in the process. And as a lot of people I know are trying to find jobs right now, while also trying to maintain homes and provide for children, I could actually be considered sort of fortunate for the opportunity I have.
In any event, I am giving serious thought to trying to get Over The Rainbow started by this fall. Like, September.
Here's what my research has told me so far: (And please correct me if I'm wrong!!!) In Oregon, a preschool program where children attend for four hours or less per day is not required to follow all of the same standards as an accredited preschool program, which is usually in a day care center. And obviously I would want to follow most of the requirements anyways... especially those that involve background checks for all employees, a safe environment, etc. Mostly, what it means to me is that I would not need someone who is "director qualified" to run the program. All I would really need is a regular business license, plus get background checks on any employees (which I would want to do anyways, obviously!) The programs I would want to start out with would be the preschool program, weekly drop-in, and monthly respite. This would give me time to begin working on any additional requirements to become accredited and also work towards becoming an actual "school!"
So the main things I would need to dredge up would be:
1. Space for the program... Either a storefront type place such as in a strip mall, or some sort of fixed-up warehouse, or even a house! A house might actually be best because it would be safe and private (no parking lots or random strangers to contend with, like you might in a strip mall. And lets say some crazy person is running from the police and wants to run into someplace to hide... a public space in a strip mall would be more likely to be targeted by the crazy person, than a random, anonymous house in a residential neighborhood!) and we could have our own backyard playground, multiple rooms for different purposes (for instance a tutoring room and an art room) and a kitchen to do cooking and science projects in. But I don't know how that would work with renting a house, as some rental properties might not allow that! I also would probably not want to live full time in the same building, because my small dog needs a quiet place to live, and I would want to have my bedroom and furniture and stuff in my own home, which would not leave a lot of room for kid stuff!
2. Equipment for the program... I have a lot of educational stuff and could acquire more as we go along, but we would definitely need kid-sized furniture, Definitely some sensory stuff too. I am thinking of making a Pinterest page of ideas. Especially because we'd be using the space for drop-in hours and monthly respite care, I would want it to feel really special and fun, not like a typical classroom!
3. One or two "partners" to start the business with me. I won't want to ask anyone else to contribute their own money to start out, but maybe the partners would be able to help me raise money for the start up, help with finding the location, organizational stuff, etc. They'd also, of course, be helping to run the actual program and working with the kids!
4 A hellsbells lot of money to start all this! How much? I don't know yet! But I will surely save at least part of my tax refund (minus whatever it takes me to actually move to Oregon when the time comes and what I will have to contribute to my aunt for letting me stay) and part of whatever money I make subbing between now and then, as well as whatever money I make selling my books.
So... is there ANYONE OUT THERE who is more organized and business-savvy than me, who could perhaps give me a clue about how to start out? I have lots of great small pictures floating around in my mind, but for me the hard part is putting them into sensible order and combining them into a big picture.
I want to hear from YOU! I need some encouragement to keep going, while my mind is still spinning with ideas, before I get discouraged and crawl back under the bed to hide!
My book With Love, From Angel is now officially available, and you can get it in a multitude of ways!
The full-color version is available on CreateSpace for $20, or Amazon for $18. You can also get it on Kindle for $7.00. But if you buy the hard copy on Amazon, you can also have the Kindle version for free!
The black-and-white version is available on Createspacefor $10, or Amazon for $9.00.