How far would you go to keep your kids’ daycare in business? Would you buy it? That’s what one group of parents in Plano did to stop it from shutting down, Monday August 7, 2017.
How far would you go to keep your kids’ daycare in business? Would you buy it? That’s what one group of parents in Plano did to stop it from shutting down.
The Orchard School is growing a new kind of childcare experience. Monday marked the start of week two since parents took it over.
The Plano school offers hands-on learning with a healthy focus for infants through pre-k.
Same concept as before, same little munchkins, but different owners.
“At first I thought it was crazy. At first I thought the turnaround was really quick,” said Lead Infant Teacher, Cindy Dove.
The corporate owner wanted out. With a specialized curriculum and low teacher to child ratio, the school known as The Grove wasn’t making enough profit.
“When we got the news the school was gonna close, we were devastated,” said Stephany Sipes, whose 19-month-old daughter Harper now attends The Orchard.
When word spread about the closure in May, about two dozen parents stepped in.
“Within a week we were exchanging phone numbers, exchanging emails,” Sipes said.
She said they all got together in a park for meetings at night.
By late July, a well-hatched plan was in place.
One parent bought the building, another secured licensing and permits.
And the roll up your sleeves mentality didn’t stop there.
“They come on the weekends and clean the school with us. They’re helping with painting,” said Orchard Director, Jacquie Murphey.
Sipes and her husband both worked to keep current staff on board.
“Teachers make the school. I mean we really wanted to keep Harper with her friends,” they said.
“We’re just like a family. I call the children my kids so there was no way I could walk away and let it shut down,” Murphy said.
For Cindy Dove, it’s an opportunity to keep doing what she loves.
“Coming here I feel like I’m a mom and a grandma and a teacher and we have a great time every day,” she said. “It’s a new beginning. It’s making something better that was already good.”
The Orchard School has about 30 kids enrolled now, but hopes to eventually see more than 100.
One parent has taken on the marketing and with that group effort, they’re confident they’ll succeed.
The Orchard School is located at 6800 Independence Pkwy in Plano.
It’s open from 7:00 a.m. – 6:30 p.m. Monday – Friday.
Monthly enrollment for full-day care varies by age – anywhere from $1,065 for Pre-K to $1,465 for infants. You can find more information on the school HERE.