Ducklings founder Jody Thompson has spent more than 30 years working with children, starting as a preschool teacher while majoring in child psychology when her daughters were young. In the late 1980s, Jody began teaching a private kindergarten class housed in a daycare center. At that time, daycare programs were only for care and babysitting without any educational components. Seeing an opportunity to expand on the children’s daily experiences, Jody began working with caregivers and created an early education curriculum to incorporate into the program.
ONCE INTEGRATED, THIS CURRICULUM FLAWLESSLY DEMONSTRATED EFFECTIVENESS & SURPASSED ALL EXPECTATIONS
Jody served as Director of the Kennett Square YMCA preschool until 1994, when the board announced it would close the program, leaving 60-plus children without care and their parents without many options. With a small loan and 2,500 sq. feet of rented property later, the first Ducklings Early Learning Center was born (or hatched, you might say).
All three of Jody’s daughters eventually joined her at Ducklings, making it a true family mission. The girls worked as afternoon teacher’s aides while in school, and then moved up to lead teachers, school directors, and operations managers. All seven of Jody’s grandchildren have even been Ducks as well!
Since 1994, Ducklings has designed, built, and opened a dozen schools all while learning lessons and laying the groundwork for big things to come. This care and attention to detail has made an impression on families as well as staff. Many teachers have been with Ducklings for 15 years or more, each of them contributing to the development of Ducklings’ core values of collaboration, creation, and celebration, all upheld through professional integrity and deep respect for children and families.
For decades, Ducklings has been a leader in educational childcare and now, through franchise opportunities, is excited to bring the Ducklings brand to evenmore families across the country.