Introducing Guidepost Picco
A New Guidepost Program Offering Families the Intimacy of a Nanny Share and the Support of a Local School
The Childcare Challenge
One of the most difficult challenges—emotionally, logistically, and financially—facing parents of infants and toddlers is the question of childcare. Across the country, waitlists are daunting and the option of a parent staying home or a relative providing care is often impossible or undesirable for many families.
For individual entrepreneurs, too, the path to opening and maintaining a small childcare operation in one’s home is challenging. From licensing barriers, to making ends meet in an industry with razor thin margins, and the lack of outside mentorship or support—the challenge of creating a viable in-home childcare alternative often leaves talented caregivers feeling drained, isolated, and financially insolvent.
Childcare centers and early education programs like Guidepost are not immune from their share of challenges either. Despite high and rising demand for infant and toddler childcare, more caregivers are needed to care for fewer children than in a preschool or kindergarten, so it is often prohibitively expensive to expand offerings at these ages.
At Guidepost Montessori, courageous innovation to meet challenges like these and best serve the needs of children and families is at the heart of what we do. Just as Montessori herself introduced an innovative educational model to the world—one that provides both structured support for a child’s development and offers unprecedented liberty for the child to direct her own education and life—Guidepost is working to innovate and expand Montessori’s work to new and greater domains—to the virtual and homeschool space, to middle and high school programs, and to children in every corner of the globe.
And now Guidepost is innovating to meet the challenges of infant and toddler childcare by re-thinking the traditional dichotomy between home-based and center-based childcare. Namely, Guidepost is launching a new model–one that combines the nurturing environment of a home with the curriculum and support of the Guidepost network.
Enter Guidepost Picco.
What is Guidepost Picco?
Guidepost Picco is a revolutionary new program where select Guidepost Nido and Toddler classrooms will be offered in a home environment instead of being located on campus with our Children’s House and Elementary classes. Similar to classrooms throughout the network, ages will vary by location, but Nido environments typically support infants from 6-weeks to 16-months-old and Toddler environments typically support children from 16-months to 3-years-old.
Picco’s in-home classrooms are, first and foremost, Montessori environments. They are simplified, beautiful, and orderly spaces where children have the freedom to move, explore, and learn about the world. They are environments filled with specially crafted materials that captivate a child’s interests and support their development. They are intimate environments where two caring guides observe 5-6 children closely and form personal connections with each child in order to best understand and meet each individual’s needs.
Taken from the Italian word ‘piccolo,’ for ‘little’, these in-home classrooms are intentionally small and nurturing spaces for young children. And because these are also Guidepost classrooms, they are provided with the same materials and support for a child’s development that parents and guides enjoy on-campus.
With Guidepost Picco, the wider Guidepost network—often including a nearby local school—acts as a central hub with countless in-home classrooms as spokes that extend outward into a neighborhood and create a thriving community overall—for parents, educators, and children from birth to adolescence.
A Win-Win-Win Solution
Guidepost Picco is a new model for childcare—one that shatters the false alternative between in-home and center-based childcare. With Picco, children, parents, and educators reap the benefits of both a cozy, nurturing home environment and the wide-ranging support of a high-quality Montessori network of schools.
Guidepost Picco meets the modern challenges of childcare and creates a winning solution for all parties.
Access to the nurturing environment of a home for their infants and toddlers:
- Infants and toddlers are most familiar and comfortable with a home environment. Center-based care endeavors to recreate a homey space as much as possible but, with Guidepost Picco, a home environment is provided to young children by design. With a small community of infants and the familiar environment and rhythm of a home, parents can be confident their child will grow and develop with security and joy.
Confidence that their child’s developmental needs are understood and supported:
- Because Guidepost Picco is an extension of the wider Guidepost network, infants and toddlers are provided with the Montessori scope and sequence of highly-designed materials. These materials captivate their interest and support their growth and independence. Guides in a Picco environment will use the same high standards for careful observation, parent partnership, and understanding of child development to best meet each child’s needs.
Promotion opportunities for amazing Guidepost assistant guides to open their own Picco:
- Because it is often difficult or impossible to open new Nido and Toddler classrooms within a Guidepost school, there is less of a promotion opportunity for our talented assistant guides. With the introduction of Guidepost Picco, however, amazing assistant guides have the opportunity to be promoted to a lead guide role when opening their own Picco environment.
Support, materials, and guidance in opening an infant or toddler class:
- For those educator-entrepreneurs who want to open their own small childcare class, the Guidepost Picco program can provide the location, financial backing, legal help, and materials they need to start. Most importantly, Guidepost can offer these educators a wide network of support—to ask and answer questions, to bounce off ideas, and to share in the challenges and celebrations of working with children.
Free housing as part of a total compensation package:
- The cost of real estate is challenging for Guidepost and other childcare centers, but also for the amazing educators who must find affordable housing within commuting distance to the center. With Guidepost Picco, however, guides are provided with housing where they can both live and operate a Picco environment. This robust total compensation package provides guides with more financial stability and ensures that we are able to retain our talented guides to strengthen program stability and continuity of care for children and families.
For the Guidepost Community as a whole:
A robust community of children to eventually join a Guidepost Children’s House and Elementary class:
- With a high demand for quality infant and toddler childcare and a new and growing ability to meet that demand, Guidepost Picco can help create a thriving, robust community that will serve the broader Guidepost community as a whole. With better served and larger Nido and Toddler classes, we can build a growing network of young children that will overflow to create flourishing Children’s House and Elementary communities in the future.
Early and expanded access to childcare in regions without a local Guidepost campus:
- It can take years between the initial concept of a new Guidepost campus and its opening date. Guidepost Picco environments, since they are in-home environments, can open in advance of an upcoming Guidepost campus, providing more childcare at an earlier date than would have been possible otherwise. It also makes it possible to provide Guidepost-supported programs in locations where it is not currently viable to open a central campus, thus expanding access to quality childcare to even more interested families.
Increased flexibility and consistent programming for parents and guides:
- When educators are sick, go on vacation, or have an emergency that requires them to be away from their class, the ability to procure a suitable substitute is traditionally very difficult, especially for the Montessori provider. But, with the hub and spokes model of Guidepost Picco, all of our Guidepost classrooms benefit from a more flexible and adaptable community. There are countless creative and innovative ways to solve these occasional dilemmas when there are environments and campuses spread throughout a region and a whole, bustling network of support. This enables guides, parents, and the children we serve to all have a more secure and consistent experience, regardless of the challenging circumstances that sometimes arise.
With any new and innovative endeavor like Guidepost Picco, there will be many challenges—some of which we can anticipate and prepare for in advance and others which we cannot see but will face along the way. Yet, the challenges and difficulties ahead do not deter us or sway us from our path. We see and understand that in order to achieve our mission of expanding the power of Montessori across the globe and helping children everywhere confidently make choices and lead their lives with courage—of achieving a life fully lived—we must do the same.
We must demonstrate the same tenacity our infants show when they try again and again to scoot and reach an object that is just beyond their grasp. We must develop the same persistence and friendliness with error that our toddlers and preschoolers show when they work to master an expanding set of practical life activities—preparing a snack, washing a table, dressing independently.
We must, above all, cultivate the conviction of purpose, the sense of self-confidence, and the overriding joy that our students at all levels show in setting, pursuing, and achieving their ambitious goals. Only this will enable us to successfully go from the old to the new, to innovate in an industry that is ossified and brittle, and to accomplish our mission of helping individual children everywhere live full lives—from Hong Kong to New York to Paris, from birth to adolescence, and from virtual to brick-and-mortar and every innovation in-between.
Pilots of Guidepost Picco Opening Soon Near You!
We are on the cusp of a revolution in education and childcare—and the first 6 pilots of Guidepost Picco are part of that revolution.
Round Rock, Texas
The first Guidepost Picco will be opening in mid to late April near ourRound Rock campus in Texas. Courtney Cobb, a current lead guide at our Round Rock campus, will be the lead guide for this environment. She is beyond excited to take the first steps to making infant and toddler childcare more accessible to families in her community.
Other pilot classrooms opening soon in:
- Chicago, Illinois, with Guidepost at Old Town as the hub
- Charlotte, North Carolina, with Guidepost at Prosperity as the hub
- Burke, Virginia, with Guidepost at Burke as the hub
- Marlborough, Massachusetts, with Guidepost at Marlborough as the hub
- Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, with Guidepost at Palm Beach Gardens as the hub
Learn more about Guidepost Picco here.
Have questions about Guidepost Picco? Reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.