“My dream is that a high-quality education should be accessible for everyone, from when children are very young through adulthood,” explains Esperanza Estrada of her mission as teacher-owner of Estrada’s Family Preschool in San Francisco.
Esperanza has been a MEDA Business Development client, coached by Teresa García. There were many business aspects to be learned – in general and specifically for a child care venture — but Esperanza was a quick learner. That has always been the case.
As an immigrant to the United States with the hope of a better life, Esperanza at was first met with the usual challenges of learning a new language and assimilating into a different culture. Esperanza later took child-development classes and had a stint as a preschool teacher for Mission Head Start.
Esperanza’s ardor for early learning, coupled with her being a budding entrepreneur, was the genesis of her idea to operate her own family day care and preschool enterprise. That’s where García’s expertise came into play, coaching Esperanza on business administration, from budgeting to marketing – the nuts and bolts of starting any business.
“I always knew Esperanza would succeed. She exhibits the drive that it takes to run a successful business, plus she went back to school and got a B.A. from San Francisco State University. Esperanza loves what she does, helping children every day,” states García.
Families are often a bit surprised when they first stop by the home that serves as Estrada Family Preschool, but after a tour and an explanation of the work, parents realize this is definitely a school. They know their child will be in the good hands of a seasoned educator.
On children’s first day at her school, Esperanza analyzes how well they interact with other students. She is cognizant that children learn through playing, as evidenced by all of the items to foster schooling that are displayed around the sun-dappled home and backyard.
Esperanza strives to prepare preschoolers on three levels: cognitive; emotional; and physical. That’s why the curriculum includes ensuring every child feels safe, loved and has their needs met.
There is also a definite bilingual component to Esperanza’s educational method. Spanish-speaking families want their children to learn English, but not forget their native language, while English-speaking families are looking for their children to be bilingual.
“Sadly, many of our Latino families lose their home language,” laments Esperanza, who always counsels parents on the importance of being bilingual.
Esperanza values being part of her community, which is why she is a leader of the San Francisco Family Child Care Providers Association. That group took part in April’s “Sixth Annual Walk Around the Block,” with community members converging on San Francisco City Hall to demand fair pay for preschool teachers.
That same community was in attendance to witness Esperanza receiving an “Excellence in Teaching” award from First 5 San Francisco last month. Interestingly, she was the sole honoree who is a teacher at a home day care and preschool. (Watch video from event).
“Hand in hand, we will move together. We are all equal,” concludes Esperanza. “If you are learning something, then I am learning something, too.”