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Meet Melanie Martin of Little Acorns Grow in Reseda

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Martin.

Melanie , can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I’ve been a teacher many years and worked for a high-end private school. I ran the Pre-k through 6th grade and participated in everything from actually teaching to training the teachers, developing curriculum, marketing, finance, and much more. I would lay awake at night and fantasize about the decisions I would make if I had my own school.

I like aspects of many educational philosophies such as Montessori, Waldorf and Reggio but the problem I kept running into is that we now know there are many types of learners. The idea of a “one size fits all” philosophy is a bit outdated. I wanted to nurture a love and excitement for learning. I wanted a program that centered around the child rather than the program. I wanted small class sizes and a flexible program that could be tailored to the student in front of me. I wanted to incorporate some of the great work in education coming from the Scandinavian countries such as Finland. I wanted to create a beautiful warm environment that would motivate, inspire and support not only the students but the teachers and staff. I wanted a big nature inspired playground full of trees and grass.

So, when my daughter graduated high school and said she wanted to get her early education degree, I suggested we start a business together! From there, Little Acorns Grow was born.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The road has not been easy, but it has been steady. I really didn’t know what to expect. I visited a lot of schools so that I could hone my vision. I fell in love with a beautiful school in the valley and asked the director if she’d be willing to mentor me. To my joy she accommodated me and I’m so grateful for her wonderful direction.

We started at a very small facility and within a year we outgrew it. We found another location about 3 miles from the first one and renovated 2 classrooms. The next year we renovated another one. We added another and another. At the parents urging we added a kindergarten and a mixed age class of 1st, 2nd and 3rd grade. I’d say that the hardest part has been controlling the growth. Thankfully we’ve cultivated a wonderful staff that has become like family. Likewise, our parent community is incredibly supportive. With such a wonderful team behind the school we’ve been able to overcome struggles and accomplish a surprising amount in such a relatively small amount of time. We are so grateful!

Please tell us about Little Acorns Grow.
Little Acorns Grow is a very warm and nurturing preschool and elementary school. We strike a balance between academics and play. We teach through fun engaging projects. Small class sizes mean a lot of individual attention.

Individualization of learning is key to the success of all of our students. Each child is different. They have different likes and dislikes, strengths and weaknesses.

Some gravitate toward art, others academics or sports. Whatever innate qualities your child has, we will build an individualized learning experience that will provide a strong educational foundation.  We as teachers set an example of a positive attitude toward learning. From social skills to research, teachers model the behavior they would like to see in the students.

Through music, art, make believe and exploration of our wonderful world, children learn that discovering new things is fun. Learning should be integrated. For example, an art project can be a great springboard for learning math concepts. Using scissors to cut is an excellent way to develop the fine motor skills necessary to hold a pencil correctly. Music is a fun way to learn another language. Each part of our curriculum is intentional and designed to teach on multiple levels.

Family and community partnerships create meaningful connections. We welcome and encourage involvement from our families. From assisting the teacher to planning parties, special projects and fundraisers, there are many ways that you can contribute to your child’s education. We have an active PTO organization that meet once a month. All parents are welcome to attend and get involved.

These key principles, combined with a well-planned, thoughtful environment and warm, creative teachers provide the ideal learning environment for young children to learn, grow, play and excel in.

How do you, personally, define success? What’s your criteria, the markers you’re looking out for, etc?
For me, success is measured by how proud I am of what I’m doing. Have I created an environment I want to be a part of? Are the students, parents and staff happy? Are the students able to go from our program to another school and maintain the success they enjoyed while at Little Acorns Grow? What’s the attrition rate in both students and staff?

I’m glad to say that we’ve been able to maintain a relationship with students that have graduated and the feedback is very positive. Older students often come back just to visit and they are warmly welcomed.

We have excellent reviews across many platforms such as Great Schools, Beyond the Brochure, Google, Yelp and Facebook.

Little Acorns Grow was one of three schools featured in this super-cool by Soul Pancake as part of the National Campaign To Learn. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wrm0NCueeEU

Pricing:

  • 5 full days per week for each month $925/month
  • 5 half days or 3 full days per week for each month $775month
  • 3 half days or 2 full days per week for each month $575/month
  • 2 half days per week for each month $500/month

Contact Info:


Image Credit:
Marc Blackwell

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