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Addressing the Unmet Need in Pre-School Education: Alexandra Atlanova and Her Profound Approach

Alexandra Atlanova
Sourced Photo

When COVID-19 spread across the world like wildfire, one of the many awful impacts were that businesses had to shut down, rebrand or downsize. It was a moment that called for unprecedented times and new normal thinking. And for entrepreneurs like Alexandra Atlanova, it meant seizing the moment she had an idea: an idea that addressed the unmet need in her community in a profound and powerful way. 

The Beginning 

Like many great ideas, Atlanova came upon hers when first researching what she needed for her family: a quality daycare facility for her two-year-old daughter. Living in the San Francisco Bay Area, she was looking up a unique and modern facility that fit the bill of a mom wanting her daughter to not only be watched over but also educated— and cared for. Atlanova began to think about what makes a great daycare and why the ones popping up on her feed were lacking. And the answer was simple: so many parents had to worry about the proximity of the daycare to their home or work and about the cost of care that the actual quality came in last place of importance. 

“There is an average statistical quality in daycares that everyone is used to because parents are forced to settle,” Atlanova explained. “Facilities didn’t have to try beyond being in a good location and affordable because parents were simply out of options. Years of this have led to many daycare centers being complacent in how they treat their kids, teach their kids or care for the emotional intelligence instilled within the kids. Standards became too low.”

Indeed, according to the Five Year Fund, in research gathered over one year, “over 75% of parents looking for child care had difficulty finding center-based, home-based, or other types of care— high costs, limited slots, and care that fails to align with parents’ needs in terms of location or hours [were] to blame.”

And worse yet, when there is a demand for quality, parents find themselves on wait-lists or paying astronomical fees. “Parents [these days] face daunting wait lists as child care centers, which already operated on thin margins before the pandemic, are shuttering classrooms and capping enrollment numbers because of severe teacher shortages and a lack of funding,” the Hechinger Report summarizes. 

And so, in the midst of chaos, Atlanova planted a seed that soon would grow into a beautiful business: her very own daycare, Fluffy Lama

Closing the Gaps in Pre-School Education: Ground Rules

Fluffy Lama was born out of Atlanova’s commitment and dedication to quality and premium childhood care. 

“The main goal of my company is improving the quality of the preschool education system as a whole— I wanted to show by example that you never have to settle when it comes to your children. You can do better and demand better,” the entrepreneur and mother said, passionately. “No matter what business you have, whether you want to open the 20th cement plant or the 100th meat plant in your city, you must strive to be the best in your business. You have to study the market as well as consumer demand and close the existing gaps.” 

Atlanova created her Fluffy Lama daycare by addressing the unmet needs she saw in the daycares in her area that year. She took everything she observed was lacking as well as read the thoughts of fellow parents online and poured it into her business. Coming from a Russian background, she chose to let her identity fuel her work and brought forth a daycare other Russian immigrants in the area can be proud of.

The first step was the design and decoration. Atlanova felt the daycare rooms she saw were lacking imagination and personal touches of home. In “Daddy Daycare” style, she used her home as inspiration, which meant tapping into fairytales. 

You can view a gallery of her interior designs here. 

“Children feel the space they’re in very well, and they love beautiful fairytales about princesses or castles or pirates… how nice is it to come every day to a house that feels like a safe space,” Atlanova revealed. “And they don’t want to leave there, because it’s cozy there, it’s beautiful there, it’s warm there and they feel love there.”

Once Atlanova created her daycare, she noticed that the other daycares in the area improved their spaces as well, adding color and love into the walls and heart of their center. “Business is business but when you’re working with kids, we need to remember the heart of it all— and healthy competition can sometimes remind other contenders what we’re all fighting for,” she said, smiling.

Alexandra Atlanova
Sourced Photo

The Power of Quality Care

Beyond the feel of the space, Atlanova wanted her daycare to improve upon education itself and apply modern methods that help kids not only learn but also thrive, mentally, physically and emotionally. 

“The development of the interhemispheric brain (left to right), neural gymnastics and the education of emotional intelligence is crucial to our learning system at Fluffy Lama,” she revealed. “From our first graduation of children who went to school this year, we can say that it really works. Children from our care have proven to easily perceive new information, easily remember it and have logical thinking.”

To this end, parents find that kids cared by Atlanova’s programs have three main areas of development in focus: Memory, Logic and Thinking. 

And research proves the importance of such intensive, quality education at an early age. According to Vox, for example, “kids who enter intensive preschool programs are less likely to be arrested, more likely to graduate, and less likely to struggle with substance abuse as adults— one study with a follow-up when the students were in their mid-30s found that they were likelier to have eventually attended and completed college.”

Atlanova’s daycare has taken the development of a child’s motor and cognitive abilities very seriously while mixing in fun, joy and engagement within the curriculum. Check out her quick video on a day in the life of a Fluffy Lama preschooler here.

Alexandra Atlanova
Sourced Photo

The Fluffy Lama Way 

The preschool found such success that today, Atlanova was able to open her second daycare, all in less than a year since her first opening in 2020. Families who moved to the US from countries around the world reached out and asked for a space for their child. 

Atlanova is excited for the future of the children in her daycares, knowing that her holistic, impactful education and nurturing safe space will help children understand emotion, learning and motor skills and ultimately be crucial for their well-being and life success. 

It is, therefore, no surprise that two of daycares have won San Francisco’s best daycare award: Best Home Daycare of 2022.

“The best investment in the future is to invest knowledge and care into our children,” Atlanova summarized, importantly. “They are the future and they will make our world even better. It is our job to help them reach their full potential— it’s the Fluffy Lama way!”

If you are interested in enrolling your child into the Fluffy Lama daycare program, please fill out this contact form. You can check out the price packaging and weekly plans here to suit your needs.

Photographer: Katerina Erofeeva

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