After six years of taking her son to three different childcare centers, Linda Clark thought she could do better. Not long after the birth of her second child, she became a victim of a corporate downsizing, and that gave her the opportunity to prove what she could do.
She opened Great New Beginnings Early Childhood Learning Center in 1999, expanded into the St. Andrews luxury rental community in Bear in 2005 and added a Middletown site the following year. In 2012, with the economy weak and fewer families needing childcare, she sold two of the sites in order to focus on St. Andrews.
Licensed to serve up to 205 children from 8 weeks old through school age, Great New Beginnings usually has an enrollment of about 185. The program recently was awarded its fifth star—the highest ranking—in the Delaware Stars Program, which monitors the training of managers and employees of childcare centers throughout the state. All 30 employees are licensed by the state Department of Education.
Clark is proud that her center was the first in the area to offer parents Internet viewing of their children’s classes throughout the day. “It’s an example of our transparency in what we do, and it’s something parents enjoy,” she says.
“For first-time parents with a child in daycare, it’s obviously a trust issue,” Clark says. “And nine times out of 10, after six months to a year, the family turns off the service,” which costs an extra $5 a week.
An accredited business of the Better Business Bureau for four years, Clark says the BBB’s online directory and Request a Quote program have helped families identify Great New Beginnings as their best choice for child care.
“We think the BBB is a great value for us and for our families,” she says.