Center Stage Ashburn Preschool - 20955 Professional Plaza, Suite 100, Ashburn, Virginia 20147 - (703) 723-6265

Behind the Scenes at Center Stage … A Director’s perspective!

January 10, 2017

Tuesday Morning at Center Stage Preschool!

Our Tuesday morning started out like any other morning. Open the center, turn on lights, set up table games and defiantly make a cup of coffee! As soon as that first drop of coffee touches my soul, I know that all will be right with the world and our precious preschool. 15 mins later our students start trickling in. The amazing sounds of an open thriving preschool float through the air. I think, “YES! We are doing well, there is no other place I’d rather be. Look what we made! Watch our amazing staff guide these sweet youngsters to the next level. Heather Carboneau, you DONE GOOD!! What a fabulous team you hired!

Heather Carboneau - Director of Center Stage Preschool.

Heather Carboneau – Director of Center Stage Preschool.

Department of Social Services!!!!

Just as I was getting comfortable with my second cup of coffee and all the positive vibes wrapped around me in my cozy little nook, in walks The Department of Social Services!!!!! DSS!!! The big dogs!!! The, “I can close you down with one flick of my pen, branch of government!” “Hello” she says with a beautiful bright smile. “I’m here to conduct your surprise inspection.” She says this as if she’s asking me to please pass the creamer at our local coffee shop. But we are not at our local coffee shop. We are standing face to face at the Center Stage Preschool welcome desk. MY welcome desk! I want to cheerfully respond, I know I need to respond but I have no words. My mouth goes dry and all I can muster up is a feeble, “Hi.”

All of those wonderful comforting thoughts have disappeared and I’ve started sweating profusely! There is a distinct odor in the air, what is it? It smells familiar, oh yes… that’s FEAR you moron! FEAR with a dash of panic and a dab of RUNNNNN!! No time to prepare, not one moment of I’ll be right back as I run to make sure all is well with my teachers. Nope, I push the metaphorical panic button of our security door and welcome DSS into our preschool. No matter what, there is no turning back. This is happening and I need to get a grip!

Breath!

I start my positive internal self- talk. You are fine! Your team has worked super hard to continually meet DSS standards of operation. Your center is clean, inviting and a safe inspiring environment for all children. I tell myself, any child would be lucky to come to our school! Our teachers are qualified and passionate about their jobs! Breath in, breath out.

All of this happens within the first five seconds of the inspection. I try to calm down as I can feel the perspiration collecting on my forehead! I yell at myself inside, “CALM THE FLIP DOWN!! You are ready for this! It’s a surprise inspection for a reason. BREATHHHHH!!” Every licensed preschool has to go through this.

Record Keeping.

Center Stage.

Main room with open floor plan.

Now the inspection is in full swing, the DSS inspector is freely walking around writing notes, asking questions as she is observing our day. I fight the urge to look over her shoulder to see what she’s writing. I follow her every move but not to close, I follow at an “I’m not a creepy stalker” distance. That’s good Heather, answer her questions and you don’t have anything to worry about.

Now she’s in our office looking at our records and files. A new fear washes over me, “Have you done the endless complicated and ever changing record keeping right?” Who knew that so much paperwork would come with a preschool? Now, I’m questioning all my life choices! Why did I think I could open a preschool? What was I thinking? Why do I smell like onions? I hate this feeling, when is she leaving? Let’s just get this over with, go ahead and close us down!

The DSS Worker.

Then just as quickly as she came in she was packing up to leave. It was like a modern day version of The Cat in the Hat…just as the mom was walking up the drive, the Cat had cleaned the whole house! Now, I’m having a full out of body experience. I am watching the DSS worker and I have a lovely conversation. I’m signing papers and smiling. I’ve even complemented her beautiful eye shadow.  I see myself happily nodding as this kind-hearted angel explains that she only found two minor clerical errors that could be corrected that day.

In all other respects the center is in excellent shape and the children are healthy and engaged! That was that! She was gone! Somehow I feel that I am now one with my body again. I see my reflection in the window, and it’s me, holding the DSS inspection report. I look tired and… what is that smell? Oh, its coffee being made for me by my awesome assistant Anica! She’s the reason any of our records are in order! I honestly couldn’t do it without her!

Wouldn’t be Anywhere Else!

As that first drop of coffee touches my soul I think, Yep, you DONE good kid! I look out over this amazing thing we created called Center Stage preschool and think, I wouldn’t rather be anywhere else! An enormous sense of pride wells up inside of me and I am grateful for all those who helped us get here. I’m even thankful for our beautiful DSS worker. I look at the clock, its only 10:30am. How is that possible? It was a normal every day Tuesday. I answer the phone and drink my coffee.

Are you looking for a unique approach to education? Are you familiar with the benefits of a Montessori approach classroom? If you are interested in getting started in Center Stage or taking a tour, click on the link here, and schedule a time to come in! Center Stage is making a difference for our children! You can also check out our Facebook page for more amazing pictures!

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