A Non-Traditional (and fun) Approach to Child Care — Andrea Wortman

Andrea Wortman is all about doing things from a non-traditional and slow but steady approach. She runs an after-school program in the Portland, Oregon area with 11 locations, and has worked with the school systems to forge a relationship where she is contracted to take space and run her after-school programs out of the schools.

We talk about a different model of how to do effective, fun and profitable early learning in an after-school program that doesn’t require you to buy any real estate. We also discuss the challenges that come with this model, and how Andrea reduced her staff turnover and doubled her revenue and number of locations in the recent years.

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Here Are the Key Takeaways From This Episode:

  • Andrea’s school is the Club K After School Zone, a full after-school daycare service for families with 60 employees and over 500 kids served. She discusses how she fell into child care and education, and never saw herself as an owner and operator of a successful company. This fall, Club K will have 11 locations in three districts spread out in the metropolitan Portland area.
  • Andrea enjoyed her job at working at a Montessori school, and that began her path of many years and energy spent in child care.
  • Andrea discusses the conveniences and challenges of her stand-alone program. They have anywhere from 30-60 kids in a gym or cafeteria, and everything must be portable, flexible (and cheerful) in case they need to be moved. There are responsibilities of the traditional model that Andrea and her team are free from, including no maintenance and bussing.
  • They have added more Club K locations every year, and the process is different depending on the particular district.
  • Andrea has a pretty natural fit for her marketing, as she has access to the kids that attend the school. They do have families that attend her program that do not attend the school, so at some point, they may be doing bussing programs.
  • Club K’s revenue has doubled since joining the Child Care Success Academy, and she is serving twice as many kids.
  • It is imperative for the staff to roll with the older kids and keep one step ahead of them so they aren’t always standing in line waiting. Andrea ensures her staff is connected with the kids and ready to have fun with a sense of humor.
  • Culture is very important at Club K. Andrea has built a team focused on solutions, with a bright and sunny optimistic attitude. They still have challenges, but they handle it with a team mentality with kind and thoughtful actions instead of ruminating on something out of their control. She has a leadership team that is in charge of social events and gives achievement points for additional pay.
  • Learning how to speak up and confidently voice her opinion was one of the biggest shifts Andrea has made professionally over the past several years.
  • To Andrea, a rock star is the whole package of someone that has fun, sees the humor in life, and gets their job done while encouraging their team.

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