We return with even more Monday motivation with a new Coworking + Childcare interview, this time from a community leader in Lexington, South Carolina.
Can you tell us a little about your coworking space, your town and who your space is perfect for?
We are in Lexington, SC. It is a suburb of Columbia. We are an area growing quickly. Our school district (Lexington One) currently serves over 27,000 children.
CoCreate Lexington has been open for two years. We moved at the beginning of the summer to our new location. We are the only space in Lexington County and one of very few in the region.
We are a small space that is not exclusively female, but definitely female-focused. One of our core beliefs is we are an inviting space where everyone is welcome. We have an active and supportive core community comprised predominantly of female microbusiness owners.
Our mission is to empower female entrepreneurs to create a blooming business by providing an engaged community, entrepreneurial education, and inspiration.
What is the current local childcare situation in Lexington?
Most of the local daycares are open. However, not everyone is comfortable sending their child to daycare.
Parents with school-age children are having the most difficulties. Many school-age children in our area attend a variety of summer camps when school is out and these have all been closed this year. Most schools in the area will begin on August 31st. Parents had the option to choose fully virtual or face-to-face.
However, the face-to-face model will only have the students attend school 2 days a week with 3 days of virtual school for the first 4 weeks as a trial.
Parents who choose F2F are having difficulty finding places for their students on days they are not in class. Not only do the students need to be cared for, but they are also expected to attend school virtually.
What actions has CoCreate taken to help the local community with these challenges?
We are focusing on the parents and students who have chosen 100% virtual for the first semester. Many of these parents work from home and will need to balance work and supervising their children.
We have created a program called The Academy.
On two mornings or afternoons a week, we will have a group of four students working on virtual school under the supervision of a retired teacher. This will allow the parents to work in peace without stressing over their child and school. The Academy teacher is available to assist students when they have difficulties with technology or the subject matter, in addition to keeping them on track.
We have also added a tag-team option to our memberships. If both parents are working from home and want the opportunity to focus completely on work, the parents can share a membership. For example, one parent can come in the morning and the other in the afternoon or evening.
How can other people help you and your community tackle local childcare challenges?
Businesses can allow for flexible work hours for those working from home. Trying to supervise virtual learning while working remotely is stressful for both the parent and child.
We would like to see a better way for parents to connect with one another and affordable childcare providers. When parents are connected to other parents of children in the same class or age, they can share ideas on getting through the lessons or possibly trade-off watching the children during school hours.
Finally, parents need to know what options are available to them. Low-income families need low or no cost options during the first four weeks of school when face-to-face students are only attending school two days per week.
What would you love other coworking space operators to know about tackling local childcare issues?
Thank you for sharing, caring and all you do Kiri!