Behind the Desk: Patricia Smith
Address: Infant and Toddler Center: 1637 E. Pleasant Valley Blvd, Altoona
Preschool and School-Age Center: 284 Greenwood Road, Altoona
Telephone number: 942-4221 and 944-1441
Years with company: Purchased the childcare in 2014, but have worked as a preschool teacher and center director for 28 years
Family: Husband, Christian; daughters: Kristyn, 18, and Trissa, 14
What products or services does your company provide?
Our services include day care, preschool, before and after school care and summer care. Our goal is to provide a stimulating early care and education experience that promotes each child’s social/emotional, physical, and cognitive development.
Who are your customers?
We provide these services for parents and guardians living or working in the Altoona region.
What is your business day like?
Every day is different and brings with it new challenges. On a daily basis, I interact with parents, our children, and our staff; I ensure proper procedures are being followed; I ensure staff-to-child ratios are met; I complete various forms and paperwork; and I split my time between both of our centers. I have to give credit to my two great Directors, Miss Nicki and Miss Rachel for their hard work and dedication for helping me fulfill all of these responsibilities.
What is the best business advice you have received?
The best advice I have received is to treat your employees well. Without loyal, dedicated employees, a business can not thrive. Employees who feel appreciated put their best effort into their work. I owe a great deal of gratitude to every one of my employees and I try to show them that every day. I couldn’t ask for a better staff.
What is the most important thing you’ve learned on the job?
The most important thing that I have learned on the job is that children always come first. I was taught this at the beginning of my career, and every decision that I make always centers around what is best for the children. No matter what the work day brings, the problems you may have in your daily life, or the way outside influences may affect our business, providing the best possible care for our children always comes first.
What does the future hold?
We look forward to serving our parents and children for many years to come. When I began my career 28 years ago, my dream was to one day own my own child care center. In 2014, that dream became a reality when the opportunity to purchase an established center became available. With the current virus pandemic and economic collapse affecting our area, our plan is to come back, continue to grow both of our centers, and to continue to change with the times. Over the last few years, our Infant and Toddler Center has been able to achieve a 3 Star Rating through the Keystone Stars accreditation program and our Preschool/School-Age Center has achieved a 4 Star Rating. We plan to continue this progress forward.
What have you read lately that has influenced your business life?
As with most small business owners during this time, I have been reading a lot of news articles on the economy reopening, changes that will have to be made as a result of the pandemic, and the “new normal.” Many of the policy changes being made across the country will be affecting the way that childcare centers everywhere provide services.
If you want your business to be featured in the Mirror’s Behind the Desk series, call Walt Frank at 946-7467.