Friday, October 20, 2023

Windham resident realizes dream of helping children and families

By Ed Pierce

Serving as a childcare provider can be one the most rewarding careers and at the same time, one of the most challenging. It’s something that Julia Preston Glaude of Windham has always wanted to do and now she’s able to realize her dreams and work with children every day as the co-owner of a childcare facility in Windham.

Julia Preston Glaude of Windham
grew up with hopes of working
some day in childcare and that
dream became a reality this
past summer when she and her
husband opened a new childcare
facility in North Windham.
Glaude, 25, grew up in Windham and says she always loved helping others, finding that helping adults and children at the same time is personally and professionally rewarding.

“I started to babysit in high school and absolutely loved being with the children,” Glaude said. “I started to see that just taking care of a child is not about feeding them and changing a diaper, but to actually do things that enhance their cognitive abilities.”

After graduating from Windham High School in 2016, she went on to attend the University of Maine at Farmington, earning her bachelor’s degree in 2021. Now married to Nathaniel and the mother of a young son, Glaude made her dream come true this summer when she and her husband opened A Step Ahead Child Care in North Windham.

“I knew I wanted to own my own childcare facility when I was in college,” she said. “I took many courses about administration and the special skills I would need. Once we had our son, Henry, we knew now was the time to pursue this.”

Balancing motherhood and putting the time in to make her business successful is not without some obstacles and long hours to be overcome though.

“I wake up at 5:30 every morning and I pack the three bags I need for the day,” Glaude said. “Right now, I’m bouncing between the infant and toddler classroom until we get our construction done. So, I’m doing engaging activities and playing outside with the children, and then working with every infant’s individual schedule and providing them with engaging activities as well. Usually on my lunch break, I do administrative work since that’s the only time I have for it right now.”

Her administrative duties are varied and plentiful including managing the company’s finances, maintaining licenses, business standards, scheduling state inspections, and dealing with families who have arranged for childcare services.

“As the director, I need to be credentialed through Maine Roads to Quality,” Glaude said. “You also need to at least have a bachelor’s degree in education.”
According to Glaude, the average age of children she works with are anywhere between 6 weeks to 6 years old and she says that the hardest part of working in childcare is making sure that all of her customer’s needs are met to the highest standard.

“A lot of people believe that childcare is all about changing diapers and playing with the kids” she said. “The parents’ biggest question is the price of tuition and what kind of curriculum we have. A Montessori curriculum is my favorite way for children to learn, through play and play that focuses on skills children would need in the real world.”

She says that to be a great childcare provider, one must have plenty of patience, demonstrate a flexibility to move between tasks and experiences, and show a willingness to continue to learn about children.

“The best thing about working in childcare is watching each child grow and achieve their goals as individuals,” Glaude said.

Her secrets to comforting a child when they are upset are simple.

“Asking a child if they need a hug and respecting their choice, talking through a problem, or redirecting their emotion helps,” Glaude said.

Although she loves reading, learning, and being creative in her free time, Glaude finds it hard to stay away from her work.

“I find watching videos on Facebook about new things I can do with the kiddos or learning about new studies that have been done with children fascinating,” she said. “I love learning about how a child develops, so reading new studies about how the child’s brain works, or other things of that nature are so interesting. I also just love to be a kid and have fun with my son, Henry. Drawing, dancing, singing, and playing outside are so fun.” <

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