Next Venture: Preschool - Mulberry Marymount

Saturday, April 29, 2017

(At our new site for @/mulberrymarymount)

Next Venture: Preschool
Mulberry Learning Centre Marymount

Hi guys! If you've been following me on my other social media platforms you'll probably already know this - my next project after Churro101 is a preschool! 
Super excited to share about it here :)

Our new preschool is a centre from the Mulberry Learning Centre franchise! And our estimated opening (if all goes well) is some time in July/August 2017 

WHY?
Most of our friends are really surprised at our choice for our next business venture because it's so different from what we've been doing hehe

Truth is, this was an idea that I had few years ago before we brought Churro101 into Singapore, but it seemed too far-fetched an idea for us at that time. Fast forward to the present, about 8-10months ago I started seriously looking for a preschool for Kayla because I thought it'll be easier on me if she went for half-day childcare after I gave birth to Tiffany! It was also around that time that I was invited by Mulberry Learning Centre to sit in on one of their classes for a review - read it here!

I was honestly pretty impressed with their school and how well the kids behaved. But more so after touring many centres and making a comparison. I visited about 8-10 centres around my area (I live in the northeast) and ventured as far as Kallang/East Coast area as well haha. The one school that D and I agreed on and was all ready to register for was Etonhouse 223. We really really liked that centre, BUT waiting list was a year. So we ended up settling for a Montessori near my house (just 5mins drive!). Unfortunately, the environment wasn't suitable for Kayla and we pulled her out after 3 days. She was super sick for a whole week after that. 

I was feeling quite defeated because the whole process was pretty tedious and after months of hunting etc we're back to square 1. It was then that I shared with D about Mulberry Learning Centre, and how nice it would be if they had a centre nearer to us. Their pricing is reasonable considering the quality of the centre environment, and they're winners of the Young Parent's Choice award plus they are the first preschool network in the world to be certified by the Institute for Habits of Mind (which is a pretty big deal!). 

Turning An Idea Into a Reality
This was when things started moving from just a thought to something concrete. I mentioned the idea to someone who ended up helping me to arrange for a meeting with someone from HQ. 

To be honest, we took awhile to really question ourselves if this was something we'd really want to commit to. We had no experience in early childhood and it seemed like a pretty "closed door" industry where you can't find much information online on how things are actually done. 

But by the grace of God, after sharing this idea with a few of our friends - they thought that this is a really good idea and wanted to be a part of this project too! (One of them is an ex preschool principal) Each and every one of our partners bring value to the table - and with this team we felt a lot more confident to take on this project :)

Long story short, we actually took time to meet with other preschool chains as well for comparison. But ultimately, we ended up going with Mulberry (from a business point of view) because of the support they offer! So if you're thinking - "huhh will the centre really be good a not since she has no experience in childcare?" - don't worry, operations will mainly be taken care of by HQ and an experienced/certified team! I will be coming in more from a parent's perspective, because my girls will be attending this centre as well, so parents if you have any suggestions/requests on how what you'd like a centre to have or focus on (like cleaner environment, CCTVs etc) you can always leave me a comment on any of my social media platforms and I'll take note! 

Why Marymount?
Our original plan was to open a centre 5mins away from our house hahaha. Unfortunately, after site-hunting for almost 2 months, there were no suitable spaces that's close to home. There are a lot of requirements by ECDA for preschool locations, and most approved spaces in Singapore are already taken up. So it's not like you see a nice landed property means you can just rent it and turn it into a childcare heh. 


(Artist's impression of our site building)
Marymount turned out to be a blessing in disguise even though the space is a lot smaller than what we were looking for initially. We wanted a mega centre haha. The building is new and honestly gorgeous, complete with a rooftop pool/jacuzzi that looks better than most offered by hotels! Our landlord who built this building has also been really supportive - she even built an extra staircase for public use so we can cordon off the entire outdoor space and have a private entrance, so nice right?!

Both units that we've rented have floor to ceiling windows - I really love spaces with tons of natural light!

There's a mezzanine level as well that we are converting into an office for the staff :) Private resting space away from the kids when they need a break!

The main outdoor area that will be completely fenced up and a private drop-off for parents! There's more outdoor space for our centre on the other side of the building as well. 

Outdoor activities that we are planning to include are:
Playground
Organic Garden
Outdoor Art
Waterplay Area

Initially I wanted to reach out to a rescue organisation to foster bunnies at the school as well so the children can learn compassion, but we ended up scraping the idea heh. 

So I guess that's about it for now!
Really wanted to share this with all parents out there because as a parent the thing I worry the most is not knowing if my child is in a safe place or in good hands. So since I have the opportunity to open a centre of my own now, I would like to be as transparent as I can about the whole process :) And feedback or comments on how to improve is greatly appreciated!


6 comments:

  1. Congrats to hear it all turned out well.

    Welcome to the industry.

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  2. This location and this building is super.....

    Tina

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  3. Regarding Outdoor Learning Activities, this outdoor class room project has many excellent suggestions! The colorful and fun ideas can be printed out as some reading materials for the parents too! Wishing you and your team achieving great success in this meaningful endeavor.

    Stacie

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  4. This is truly a beautiful dream project. Congratulation to you and your team that embracing such a beautiful dream. Happy for you ...

    Erika

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  5. Very Inspiring.... excellent choice of having this very modern building for nurturing our very future, little children!

    Kelcie

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