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Saturday, October 26, 2013

expert mama - Jessica Regis - DAYCARE & PRESCHOOL TEACHER/OWNER

Jessica Regis is another Expert Mama, daycare and preschool owner and teacher, she may not admit this but to me she seems to know everything there is about children! She seems like an incredibly dedicated teacher as well as mother. Lots of good advice here - when to start preschool, when to speak up to caregivers, and what to do with kids who are misbehaving. Hope you enjoy! Thank you, Jessica, it was a pleasure reading this!

All photos from Jessica Regis

1. What is your job and where do you work?
I am a teacher/owner at Great Beginnings Nursery School.  I also own the Eliot Infant and toddler Center in Kittery and Great Beginnings 2 in South Berwick.

2. How long have you been doing this type of work?
I have owned my first business since 2003 But I have been doing childcare and/or teaching in public schools for 15 years.

3. How many children do you have, their names?
I have 2 kids.  Ty is 8 and Adison is 5.

4. How do you balance work and family?
I am lucky enough to have a pretty flexible schedule because I am the owner.  I enjoy my job so I never consider it a burden.  I also have a large family that is local so I get a lot of help when I need it.  My husband is also a very hands on father who does a lot with the kids, and around the house.  

I try not to stress about housework and just do a bit each day.  I never go to bed with dishes in the sink and spend at least a half an hour a day just  picking up!  I just take one day at a time.

5. What is the best thing about being a mom who works out of the home?
I like to work out of the home because I would get very grumpy if I did not have some adult time. Even though I am with kids every day it is totally different when they are not your own kids.  

I like that my kids see me as a strong individual who runs 3 businesses and still have time to do things with the family.

6. What is the most challenging thing about being a mom working out of the home?
The thing I find most challenging is finding enough hours in the day.  Because I am the owner, work issues come up often that I need to take care of immediately.  Sometimes I feel like that takes away from my time with the kids if they are home.  I also run out of time to do all the daily chores…but they seem to always be waiting for me the next day.

7. What is your advice to parents looking for a daycare? Preschool? 

You need to be comfortable.  You need to leave a center and feel at peace that your child is in a safe and loving environment.  I honestly feel like you need to have an instant bond with the teachers.  They are the ones who will be having the most interaction with your child and you are uneasy with them, your children will most likely too.  

Each person looks for something different and that is ok.  Look for what works for you and your family and no one else.  You also have to remember that it's preschool, not college.  If the teachers and the children are not having fun then keep looking.  Kids should be having fun!

8. What things do you do in your childcare centers/preschool that are you are proud of? 
I am proud of everything that we do.  We love our children (at our schools) like they are our own.  We cuddle with them just like a parent would want us too.  They are still young and still need love and support.  We teach building strong self esteem, and kindness to others.  If I was doing something that I was not proud of I would immediately change it!

9. What 5 things have you learned about children from your career? 
1. Patience: being patient with a child can go a long way in teaching them and helping me stay calm!

2. We are role models.  The kids see and hear everything we do.  We need to act in a way that we want them to act.

3.  They all just want love.  Every kids just wants to be loved and respected.  Take time each day to tell each child how great they are and they will remember that.

4. Structure is Key!  If I create a structured environment with rules and schedules, the kids thrive.  I believe in having equal parts firm and fun.  If my kids are having trouble at circle we may stop, stand up, dance and sing….then get right back to the task at hand.

5. No two children are alike and it is important to get to know each child.  Learn what makes them happy and what upsets them.  It is our job as teachers to see this and teach to their strengths, and help them with their weaknesses.

10. If a parent feels uncomfortable about something at their childcare center, 
A parent should always speak up.  You have to be an advocate for your child.  The center may not know that something is bothering you unless you talk to them.  How they respond is key.

11. When do you recommend kids start attending preschool? 
Preschool can start any time between 2-5 years of age.  I like giving children 2 years of preschool but it is whatever works for each family.

12. What is your advice to parents who are trying to avoid their child getting sick a lot, but who also attends a childcare setting? What precautions do you take to prevent sickness?
I encourage parents to send their kids to childcare, or get them in germy situations early!  I am not saying to purposely get your child sick, but the sooner they are able to build their immunity the better.  Kids, no matter their age, usually are sick the first 6 months of their school environment than rarely.  My children have been with kids either at my school, or daycare since 6 weeks and (knock on wood) are NEVER sick besides the common cold once in a while.  You mind as well get it over with before Kindergarten.

13. What advice do you have for the parent of a child who hits/kicks/bites/tantrums? What advice do you have for the parent of a kid who is on the receiving end of those phases from another kid?
 Kids can be tough. If you have a difficult child the best advice I can give is give boundaries and stick to them.  You are a parent first, friend second.  

If you have a behavior that you wish to break, discipline the child each time it happens and STICK TO IT!  Remember most behaviors are phases but you don't want them to think that any bad behavior is okay.  

If you are on the other end be patient, remember it could be your child.  As long as the other teachers are making sure that it is a safe environment and responding to your concerns try to be patient.

14. What do you love about your job?

I love everything about my job.  I love the way the kids make me smile and laugh every day.  I love how they challenge me each day.  I love all my parents that trust me with their children.  I love to teach the children and watch the wonder in their eyes.  A day never goes by when I don't want to go to work.  I am truly blessed for that!

15. What else do you want to add?
I see a lot of different opinions of parenting on the Mommy Stories and I just think it is important for everyone to be respectful of all different parenting styles.  I don't always agree with other people's parenting but if it works for them then that is all that matters.  I am not a perfect parent, I do not have perfect children but we (my husband and I) do the best that we can.  

I think we all agree that all we want is for our children to be happy, healthy and respectful of others.

Great Beginnings Nursery School (207) 363-1313


  1. Nice Article, So when you visit Playschool Franchisee
    look to see if teachers smile and are generally encouraging of children. Look to see how the teachers interact with the other children in the classroom and if there seem to be strong connections between them. Also talk to parents at the school about their experience.

  2. Great post. I enjoyed this interview. I guess it is a pretty tough job working outside the home, running three businesses and a mother but you made it sound like an easy job. I guess you are really lucky to have a supportive family. I completely agree with the idea of voicing out when a parent is uncomfortable at a childcare center. It is best to speak up to avoid more serious problems.