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Hello, I'm Mrs. Esther: I was the owner, director, accountant, secretary, custodian, lesson-prepper, and one of the teachers ; ). After doing a free "Mommy and Me" preschool, which I felt qualified to teach because I have my bachelor's degree in Theatre Arts - performance and I earned my California Elementary Teaching credential. My credential program allows me to teach preschool through adult education in one classroom. Besides my thirteen year experience raising my three children, I substitute taught for three and a half years for K-12 and taught 4th grade for two years. After I started a free “Mommy and Me” preschool for my middle child because of my teaching experience, I fell in love with teaching preschoolers, so I started French Valley K-Prep! I loved my job teaching preschoolers!
I had to shut down after 6 school years in business (August 2011- June 2017) and one year doing a "Mommy and Me" preschool (2010-2011) for my middle child. During that Mommy and Me preschool, I could tell that my son was not like the other children. He was very smart, but didn't behave socially the way everyone else did. He was very literal, stuck to the same routines, and suffered from selective mutism. When school began to challenge him when he had to read and write text that had to do with inferences, he struggled a lot. Also, every year since kindergarten, there were moments that upset him and with his selective mutism, he wasn't able to communicate his needs. Those moments resulted in crying or snapping at classmates. I had him tested for speech in his preschool year and again in 2nd grade. They didn't properly test him and therefore, didn't qualify for help in communication. In fourth grade, his teacher took my cries of help seriously and helped me get an SST, which lead to in depth testing and filling out the GARS test to see if he may have autism. The school claimed that even though the Gars says he most likely has autism, they told me they don't diagnose for autism, so I sought outside help. The testing for that lasted the full, first semester of 5th grade. During that time he was also tested for speech for autistic children who struggle with communication and socialization and he finally qualified. His IEP changed and he is finally getting the services he needs. During third grade until fifth grade (he just graduated), homework, after school was very challenging for me, because I juggled the preschool and helping him.
Running the program, I created, took a lot of work. It takes the kind of work that an elementary school teacher does. You work during the hours of school - teaching, but before and after school, you still have to prep the lessons and deal with school and district matters. Often times, elementary school teachers work beyond their contracted time - for free and spend their own money on supplies. Besides that work, I was also the secretary, the principal, the accountant, the custodian, the supply manager, and the district office. When I expanded, I hired other people and tried to train them to do the "admin" work, but that didn't work out, because there was private accounting information I couldn't trust them with and they were unable to make major decisions and write the kinds of emails I needed to have sent. If I had the money, I would have liked to hire an office manager/CPA, but there's no way I'd be able to pay them. I loved the teaching end of my job, but it was the other parts of my job that got in the way of my family. It's for that reason, that I had to shut down. I need to give my attention to my autistic son, to my other two children, to my husband, and to my home. I do feel blessed that I ran this program, because my youngest was in my program from when she was one (during the free M&M program) until she graduated from the pre-k program. I had to trade many of my household duties for running French Valley K-Prep, doing the after school homework dance, trying to spend a tiny bit of time with my kids, and continuing to work all of the other hours. Also, during my last year (2016-2017), I hired another assistant to do all of the prepping, had two other ladies do the teaching, so that I could concentrate on the admin. stuff. However, since I adopted a new program, I had to be there to guide them and make the major decisions instead of being able to volunteer in my autistic son's class. I lost money and didn't seem to release any more work. I was able to make the multiple appointments for my son, which was the only positive.
For now, I'm closing up lose ends to shut down the business and will try to sell my stuff on this website. After getting my children set up in school, if I find I have fallen into a good routine and am able to help my son, while also running my house, and spending time with my family, if there's any open time, then I'll look for a job that allows me to do what my previous employees did and that is: to clock in and clock out and not feel the need to get employed in a major job that a BA degree or credential pushes me toward.