Mom-Founded MyVillage Expands Nationally to Offer Home-Learning Support
MyVillage now offers COVID-19 safety certification for “pandemic pods,” along with curricula, schedules, and training for mixed ages
BOZEMAN, Mont. (Sept. 10, 2020) – MyVillage has announced a new, nationally available membership for anyone setting up or operating a home-learning pod for ages 0-10. Members receive a 24/7 community of support, COVID-19 safety certification, and on-demand access to education experts.
“Home-based early childhood educators feel misunderstood, underpaid, unappreciated, and they are denigrated as babysitters, despite 95% of brain development occurring before age 5,” said MyVillage co-founder and CEO Erica Mackey.
According to a national poll, nearly one in three public school teachers say COVID-19 has made them want to resign or retire early. An estimated 250,000 child care workers are unemployed as large centers have closed. New supply is popping up in the form of “pandemic pods” of mixed ages as schools remain on hybrid schedules or closed, but in the long term, retaining quality educators requires building a new system that makes them feel respected and valued, says Mackey.
“The average early childhood educator only lasts five years in the field,” Mackey said. “By the time an educator gets up and running, she’s ready to leave due to isolation, lack of earning potential, and a lack of support. That’s where MyVillage comes in, to have their back and help them be successful.”
Brittany Schultz is a 29-year-old former kindergarten teacher in the Denver public schools. When COVID-19 hit last March, she quickly found she did not enjoy teaching remotely, and she didn’t want to return to class, where she’d risk her own health teaching 30-plus kids. Instead, Schultz opted to create a home-based preschool program through MyVillage where she could safely care for her own three children, as well as many of the siblings of her former kindergarten pupils.
“I’ve had more support and recognition in three months with MyVillage than I had during six years of teaching in the public schools,” Schultz said. “I love the freedom to teach the way I want to, and the safety of a small number of children, and I’m earning more than I expected.”
Research from the Bipartisan Policy Center shows that 38% of parents of school-age kids will seek a child care solution if schools do not reopen, with 39% preferring a formal program or provider.
“Like WW (Weight Watchers), but for home-learning pods, we meet members where they are at and coach them to achieve their goals, whether that’s temporarily educating neighborhood children during the pandemic or becoming a licensed home-based early childhood educator in their state,” said Mackey.
Founded in 2017, MyVillage has hundreds of members across Colorado and Montana who operate home-based child care programs within an online community of support. MyVillage membership includes access to a “virtual teachers’ lounge” with everything they need to start a home-based learning program including: billing, tax and insurance resources, sample schedules, professional development opportunities and more.
MyVillage is the first company in the child care industry to offer a COVID-19 certification, including safety training on implementing CDC guidelines. The training is led by Dr. Vin Gupta, a national health expert.
MyVillage members can earn far more money than the $11.50/hour average for a child care worker (about usually $48,000 for four children, and up to $78,000 a year once licensed).
MyVillage’s co-founder and CEO Erica Mackey said demand for the membership has doubled each month since March.
“These are people, mostly women, who are stepping up to provide the care that working families need, and MyVillage is here to back them up so they aren't alone in the journey,” Mackey said. “Many are facing career transition due to COVID. With a majority of large child care centers closed due to the pandemic. Studies show more than 13% of working parents have had to reduce hours or quit their jobs, so MyVillage offers an economically viable option with built-in child care.”