When Laura Ouellette hired Janet Street to work at her daycare back in the late 1980s, she had no idea that 30 years later, the two would still be great friends and spend each day preparing young children for success.
“I knew right away that Janet shared my passion, work ethic, and love of children,” says Laura. “We’re often asked how we’ve worked together for so long, and we always say that we respect each other’s differences and have never had a disagreement. It is important to Janet that the children learn something new every day, and that impresses me.”
A preschool is only as good as its staff, according to Janet, and a program is only as good as the people who implement it.
“Laura is a fantastic boss and friend,” says Janet. “She is a patient teacher who finds the good in everyone and cares for the children.”
Opened in 1998, Busy Bee’s Preschool is the second venture for the two. Laura is the owner/operator, while Janet is the preschool supervisor.
“When I first opened my daycare, I said I’d do it for 10 years before I moved on to something else, but I just never did,” says Laura. “I get so much fulfillment from what we do.”
The purpose of preschool is to prepare children between ages three and five for a confident, successful start to kindergarten, says Janet.
“We transition them through the first big change, which is leaving mom and dad for an extended period of time, and then bring structure to each day,” she adds.
Laura and Janet completed their Early Childhood Education and Care qualifications in the late 1980s, and they attend workshops and courses in order to recertify every five years. The continual training means they are always bringing new elements to their work at the preschool.
“We’ve definitely changed with the times because of the things we’ve learned,” says Laura. “Our focus is always on the children and how we can best serve them. Janet and I discuss what kind of programming we should offer in the school. We go home with kids on our minds, thinking about how we can make it better for them the next day.”
Programming at the preschool includes opportunities for creativity with words, music, movement and artistic media, quiet and active times, and outdoor play. Themes facilitate the learning process and allow Laura and Janet to integrate songs, stories and science activities based on the theme over a one- or two-week period. As well, the preschool is divided into different interest areas, allowing children to choose their own activities within the theme.
“We’ve just had some Early Childhood Education and Care practicum students here; they asked us, ‘how do you know what that child needs?’” says Janet. “We’ve been working with children for over 30 years, so we’ve seen all kinds of personalities come through our doors. We know what they need to succeed, and we approach each child differently because of that.”
Things have come full circle for Busy Bee’s, says Laura.
“Children I had in my daycare are now bringing their children to my preschool,” she adds. “During grad season, the graduates come by in their fancy clothes to take a picture by our sign. That is so rewarding, and I am so proud of them and the small part we had in their success.”
Janet says seeing the number of people who attended Busy Bee’s at graduation is amazing.
“I think to myself, ‘We taught you! How are you graduating?’ Because I’m still the same age, I swear,” she adds with a laugh.
Contrary to any rumours, Laura and Janet are not about to retire anytime soon.
“Yes, we’re still here, no, we’re not going anywhere, and yes, we’re still passionate about what we do,” says Laura.
Over 60 children attend programs at Busy Bee’s Preschool each year. The school offers three different sessions:
Session 1 takes place from 9 to 11:30 am Monday, Tuesday and Thursday mornings; Session 2 times are Monday afternoons from 12:30 to 3 pm and Wednesday and Friday mornings from 9 to 11:30 am; and Session 3 takes place from 12:30 to 3 pm on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons.
Some spaces are available now, and more are available for September 2020.
For more information, contact Laura at 604.485.0119 or email@example.com.