Ms. Tanika of Educational Playtime Too! Inc.

by Tonya Dixon | May 7th, 2013

Thankful, humble, and loyal. Three words that accurately describes the feeling Ms. Tanika has every morning when arriving at her child care center, Educational Playtime Too! Inc.

Tenika Harris

Tenika Harris (Photo by Still Shots Photography)

Over the past few years Ms. Tanika has moved and expanded her educational facility multiple times. The constant growth and prosperity comes from not only providing a safe and nurturing environment for all children, but it also comes from having an astute knowledge of how children learn, grow, and develop. While her parents are pleased with the love their children receive, she says it’s about the success of the children, and maintaining a happy staff and a strong support system.

In 2011, she decided to move her business to its current location with a small number of children under her care, to a larger facility that has eight classrooms and a indoor recreation room. “The initial thought of growing to that size was scary for a short moment. After thinking about how much I had been blessed with constant enrollment, I felt at ease and ready for the challenge,” she says. The size will not determine the success of her business. Ms. Tanika says the services and love that she puts into it will. The support of families, those that were enrolled then and even now continues to fuel her passion.
“Ninety-five percent of the children enrolled came from referrals by our current and past families and other supporters in the community,” Ms. Tanika says. “Educational Playtime Too! has a great reputation and I am committed to maintaining the image and integrity of my company. When potential clients come to visit the facility, they always leave feeling very pleased with our developmental plan and services.”
Ms. Tanika has made a host of significant changes, additions and upgrades that makes not only the children happy, but her parents and staff remain loyal. If one great facility was not enough, she has made the genius decision to franchise her brand and make it available for others who are qualified to buy in. In the Summer of 2013, a second center is scheduled to open on East Wendover Avenue in Greensboro. She says she is excited to be able to serve a different area of the triad. The facility will be mirrored just like the flagship center but it will offer much needed care for special needs children. The second facility will serve children 6 weeks- 12 years of age. In addition this facility will also offer before and after school care for children, including those that have special needs that might attend Gateway Education Center, which is less than a mile away. All teachers at the second facility will also have degrees in Special Education and Early Education. She believes her decision to expand into other locations will allow other families the opportunity to have access to more and better quality childcare. She whole-heartedly stands behind her facility and her approach to early childhood education and a higher standard of learning.
The premise and success behind Educational Playtime Too! is that children flourish when they receive more individualized care and attention. It’s the exact reason why Ms. Tanika purposely keeps her student and teacher ratio lower than the state maximum. Everyone is extremely hands on at the center, including Ms. Tanika and the parents. She knows them all by first and last name as well as their parents, grandparents, and siblings. The parents are also heavily involved and it’s something the staff really encourages and stresses as being vitally important to their child’s overall development. “I don’t even have to make it a requirement,” she says. “The parents want to participate because we teach the families about developmental milestones, so they know what to expect for their children to be successful. If the parents know in advance then they can assist with the teacher’s overall objectives—we’re bridging the gap for our students.”
The center regularly has family fun nights, providing school information, food and beverages, games and much more. It’s a perfect way for everyone to get involved. In addition, there are scholastic book fairs, which provide great opportunities for parents to purchase materials for home, as well as introduce students to activities they should expect when entering the school system. Newsletters also go out on a regular basis to keep parents updated with all things regarding the center.
Ms. Tanika is dedicated to making sure her centers are safe for students and staff and has implemented a strong security presence. Parents are given codes to use, which correspond with their child. In addition to cameras, Panic buttons are installed in every classroom which goes directly to emergency services thereby decreasing response times. The protection the children are given is immeasurable especially in light of recent tragic events involving schools.
Educational Playtime Too! Inc. strives to offer many services to accommodate the growing needs of working families in our community. When traditional pre-kindergarten programs end for the year, many parents are left trying to find places for their rising five-year-olds to go. Unlike any other center in Greensboro, Educational Playtime Too! offers a competitive preschool summer camp. Each classroom does regular assessments for each child to make sure they are meeting their developmental milestones. There are specialists that come to the facility to screen children beginning at the age of two. Additionally, therapist and specialist in all areas come weekly to provide services for children that qualify. This is an extra measure taken by Ms. Tanika to ensure her center is reaching each child and providing them with everything that is needed during their early years.
Ms. Tanika also strives to employ individuals who have a degree in Early Childhood Education, or on target to obtain one. It is also a goal for her to have 100% of her staff to be at the highest level of education that is possible. She emphatically states that her center is on target to reach that goal having multiple staff members graduating from NC A&T State University and Guilford Technical Community College in Spring. Many of those graduating will also have their NC Birth – Kindergarten Teaching License. “Being a graduate of NC A&T myself, with a Early Education Degree and teaching license, I know the importance of each staff member getting that foundational knowledge. It is required to help our children be successful in the classroom,” she says. In addition the staff attends on going training and workshops to sharpen their skills and knowledge of early education.

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