Reflections On Working At Wonderschool Over The Years

June 13, 2022

Mia Pritts is the VP of Strategic Partnerships at Wonderschool. She started her career as a preschool teacher and has since taken on major leadership positions in the field of Early Care and Education (ECE).

Mia received a BS in Family and Community Services & ECE and an MA in Educational Psychology and Educational Assessment. She's the mother of a seven-year-old and a two-year old, and as such, is in the thick of it with work, pandemic parenting, and child care on a very personal level.I recently reached my 4 year anniversary of working on the Wonderschool team, and it feels right to pause for a moment and reflect on these past few years, and also look at where we are, and where we're heading.

Just don’t call it daycare

Anyone who knows me also knows that who I am, how I work, and what I choose to work on all share a common focal point.

Call it child care, call it early care and education, early childhood education, call it supporting micro businesses, call it supporting a fragile industry, call it ensuring strong systems so that local economies can get to work, call it supporting female entrepreneurs, call it ensuring kindergarten readiness, call it really loving little kids. Heck, call it EdTech if you want.

It all comes back to the same thing, which is that my attention and passion is very intentionally focused on ensuring children, families, child care providers, and communities can exist and grow and thrive, and I can work on each of these things with Wonderschool and our incredible team.

Don’t most kids turn out fine? It can’t be *that* complicated.

It would be hard to overstate the importance of a strong early care/early learning experience for a child, and similarly, it’s hard to overstate the importance of a strong system to support child care businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic has shined a bright light onto issues and disparities that have been around for years, decades, and beyond.

This makes all of our collective efforts to stabilize the industry of child care even more critical, but really this is a long haul. At Wonderschool, we’ve been working on supporting this industry since well before Covid started and will continue to do so well beyond the pandemic. Has it been hard? For sure. These aren’t simple fixes. But are we seeing the needle move? Absolutely.

The opportunity to learn from and with amazingly competent team members, connect with and work in tandem with stakeholders throughout the country, and see the stabilizing impact we’re working on is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. I feel so fortunate to work with such innovative, forward-thinking people who are working so hard to ensure equity, sustainability, and success for child care providers.

Pandemics, parenting, communities - oh my

Our work at Wonderschool has evolved significantly, in part due to Covid-19 but in part due to a maturing organization and the refinement of our perspective on what we do and how we do it. Similarly, the tools we’ve built have evolved, as have the insights we’ve gleaned, and the insights we’re able to share out about the true landscape of child care in America.

Our impact, and resulting outcomes, continue to evolve as well. Stronger child care businesses equal sustainable programs for children and families. Financially stable programs equal providers who can move from barely scraping by, to making a healthy living doing work they love.

Parents who have high quality and consistent child care options that meet their own family’s unique needs can do better work in their own jobs (I have a very strong perspective on this as a working parent of 2 young children myself - it is HARD to do your best work, or your best parenting, when you’re trying to do both at the same time). When children receive quality care, when parents can do their best work, when child care providers can reach their goals and avoid burnout, local economies and communities can also build back, grow, and thrive.

The future is bright

When I started at Wonderschool four years ago we were a team of 5, working with 13 in-home child care programs in the Bay Area and LA. Today, our growing team works with a variety of amazingly talented and dedicated partners across the US and supports well over 1,500 child care businesses.

I see such a clear pathway to impacting stability and sustainability in child care programs through the services and supports Wonderschool provides. Until all children have access to the high quality early care options they need, I picture us as just getting started. The last 4 years have been exciting, challenging, eye-opening, hard, gratifying, and more - but more than anything they’ve been the starting point for a long-term vision that continues to evolve over time.

With a team like ours, our strong partnerships, and our collected dedication to supporting child care providers, we keep our mission in focus and move forward a step at a time.

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