Amanda Knaert

The Rutland area got a new daycare this fall, thanks to the vision and determination of business owner Lacey Hall. Previously, Hall ran a registered daycare program from his home. She loves her job and puts her passion into the importance of early childhood education. But as her stay-at-home provider, she was only allowed to care for up to 10 children, a fraction of the local demand for childcare.

Hall envisioned a larger space that could provide high-quality, hands-on early childhood education for more than 40 children from newborn to five years old. In addition to the increased capacity, the new location will allow her to expand her programming by offering programs such as yoga, gardening, pottery and even Zoomba.

Hall needed help creating a business plan that would help secure the funding to grow the business. Last summer, she began working with advisor Nancy Shuttleworth at the Vermont Small Business Development Center.

Photo: Exterior of Expedition Kids in Rutland. Courtesy photo.

“During Covid-19, I was unsure if I would find the help I needed to take my business from plan to reality,” she said. Their expertise, knowledge and experience have pushed my business in the right direction and I have learned that business plans are not always frustrating.”

Realize your vision

In July, Hall opened Expedition Kids, a 4,000-square-foot space to create the experiential learning environment she’d dreamed of.

“We believe in encouraging students to discover who they are through exploring the world around them, through the local food they eat, playing with mud and paint, and through the hands of their community. I have,” said Hall.

The center’s convenient location along Rutland’s Route 7 provides more opportunities for excursions and outdoor tours.

“Our curriculum gets students involved in the community, whether it’s volunteering at an animal shelter, visiting a fire station, or hiking in a beautiful state park,” Hall said.

As part of the business launch, Hall introduced new services like Parents Night Out and Hiking Club, as well as a parent and teacher app that allows loved ones to view a live feed of their children’s daily activities.

Along with managing the new location, Hall also made the transition from sole proprietorship to employer. In this new role, she recognizes the importance of attracting and retaining her fellow caregivers.

“We offer our teachers a unique benefits package, in addition to paid time off, annual bonuses, team bonding activities, and monthly awards for good work,” she said.

For more information, please email [email protected] or call 802-855-8925.

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