Kendra McKinney – Little Learners Academy LLC

by Terry Watson | January 19th, 2021
Kendra McKinney (Photos by Bernard Smith)

Kendra McKinney (Photos by Bernard Smith)

For Kendra McKinney, it all begins with a genuine love for children. As the owner of Little Learners Academy, she is helping to shape and mold the lives of her young students into phenomenal individuals.

A native of Greenville, S.C., Kendra holds a bachelor’s degree in Early Childhood Education from University of South Carolina Upstate, and a Master’s degree in Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix.

“I love everything about what I do. I love the opportunity that I have to witness children learn and grow. I also love the look on parent’s faces when they see their child accomplish goals,” she says.
Located in Maudlin, SC, Little Learner Academy operates under a simple Christian based philosophy that’s based on the elements of student success. Little Learners Academy understands that there are several different learning methods, which may hinder levels of achievement in a traditional academic setting. They offer activities and individual attention to ensure all students achieve academic success and positively build self-esteem. “The students are taught to thrive spiritually, emotionally, and academically,” Kendra says.

The system of Little Learner Academy is a multi-faceted approach to education, including a spread of academic courses, plus a variety of extra-curricular activities and enrichment programs. Small class sizes enhance the academic experience, and their graduates will be educated spiritually, academically, emotionally, and socially. Furthermore, Kendra shares her students will be motivated to go out into the world to duplicate what they’ve learned and pursue their purpose in life.

Kendra’s educational journey began in 2013. ‘I was a teacher at the SC School for the Deaf and Blind when the decision was made to transition out of the public school system. As a parent of a special needs child and other children, who needed childcare and attended the public school system, I decided to begin an in-home daycare. I had a vision that would allow parents to be comfortable with dropping their children off in a home like environment, where they would grow and learn safely,” she says.

The vision was large, but the start was very small, Kendra shares. “I began at my home in the Blue Ridge Area of Greer, S.C., with seven children which grew to more than 14. I gave myself a two-year window to transition into a center or return to work. I knew that was not in God’s plan or my plan,” Kendra says.

She continued to press on. In 2015, doors would eventually open for Kendra at a new location, 102 Pinecrest Drive in Mauldin, S.C., and Little Learners Academy LLC was born.
That building had a capacity to accommodate 58 students and six teachers, and that number was reached within nine months. Kendra says they found themselves searching for another location.
“Growth, understanding, and pruning happened at 102 Pinecrest Drive but in 2019, we were introduced to another location at 437 W. Butler Road. We grew to 8,000 square feet, as opposed to 2500 at our previous location. God had yet again shown His favor and proven to me I was indeed walking in purpose,” Kendra says.

After nine months of renovation, Little Learners Academy moved into their new location in January 2020. Their enrollment grew to 75 children and then came the Corona Virus pandemic. They closed their doors by choice for a period in March 25, until April 27, 2020.

Kendra shares their faith didn’t allow them to miss a beat. “We currently are not back at the number of 75 enrolled students, but we have exceeded that mark and are at 98. We have also applied to become an independent private school,” she says.

Presently, Little Learner Academy has 45 school age children enrolled, and are successfully completing virtual schooling each day. They also have two clinical therapists on site that offer individual, group, and family sessions along with play therapy for children to develop socially. There is also a coach that teaches Mindful Kids through meditation.

Little Learner Academy also offers Occupational, Physical, and Speech Therapy through Tri County Therapy. In 2021, they will begin a Home school Co-op.

Though the road hasn’t always been easy, Kendra says she wouldn’t change anything about her journey. “Everything has purpose. Everything that has happened was to sharpen me for my next step into my destiny,” she says.

The future appears to be very bright for Kendra McKinney and Little Learners Academy. “This is not a job it’s my calling, and I’m walking in purpose. I am inspired every day, knowing that God is going to reveal another part of my vision. My plans are to have an accredited independent private school that serves all children. I also hope to franchise Little Learners Academy LLC. I have a special place in my journey for children with special needs and I want to incorporate them in all areas including education and childcare. This is my testimony. Believe, have faith, run toward your destiny, pray for purpose, and live life on purpose,” she says.

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