Maria Ahrens: Helping Moms Feel Comfortable and Supported

Kris welcomes Maria Ahrens, Owner of Paper Planes Early Learning Center in Mount Sinai, NY, for an inspiring conversation on transparent and open communication and embracing the special parts of yourself in leadership. During their talk, Maria shares more about what makes Paper Planes unique and provides valuable tips for team engagement and teacher retention. She also reflects on the benefits of being part of the Academy and receiving mentorship in the industry.

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Here Are the Key Takeaways From This Episode:

  • [2:10] The inspiration behind Maria opening Paper Planes in September of 2020, and how opening during the pandemic affected their journey.

  • [3:42] Paper Planes is licensed for 100 and has a special license for continuity of care. They have a current staff of 25.

  • [4:44] How Maria got into the world of ECE.

  • [12:35] One of the selling points of Maria’s business is her ability to connect with people and provide an open and transparent environment.

  • [14:03] A few more of Paper Planes’ selling points are the play-based model, transparency in all departments, and training the staff to have hard conversations.

  • [22:24] The importance of making the teachers feel important and learning how to communicate in a way that helps others grow.

  • [29:11] How the Academy helps Maria stay on track by having systems in place.

  • [31:27] Taking away the anxiety that comes with being understaffed.

  • [34:44] How Maria overcame staffing challenges in 2022.

  • [40:40] How Maria utilized Grow Your Center and the ways it freed up her time.

  • [42:39] How Child Care Success and coaching have impacted Maria’s mindset and helped her with productivity, while allowing her to spending time with her family.

  • [45:20] What is next for Maria in 2024, both personally and professionally?

  • [50:10] A reminder that you don’t have to stay stuck and it’s okay to invest in yourself.

  • [52:19] You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a lot of impact.

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