Spotlight: Stepping Stones Learning Center Finds Its Niche in the Child Care Sector


Child care businesses fill an important need in communities around the country. And some set themselves apart even further with specialized curriculum. Learn about one such business, Stepping Stones Learning Center, in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.

What the Business Does

Provides child care services in Englishtown, New Jersey.

President Raquel Palma told Small Business Trends, “My business is known for childcare and educational services. We offer Spanish as a second language, phonics program and music/technology program.”

Business Niche

Providing extra curriculum services.

Palma says, “These services educate and entertain our youth and provides them with a strong foundation for the future.”

How The Business Got Started

After a career in education.

Palma adds, “I am a teacher and have been in the education field for over 18 years. I wanted to incorporate my philosophy in education in my own business. After working for the board of education and several privately owned preschools, I decided to open up a preschool/Daycare to provide quality service. I wanted to have a say on the curriculum and policies incorporated in a business.”

Biggest Win

Hiring a diverse team.

Palma explains, “We all come from different countries, speak different languages and eat different foods. When we sit together to eat, we learn from one another and embrace our differences. Our differences encourage us to get out of our comfort zone to try new foods, to learn new cultures and learn new phrases. Diversity represents my team, students and preschool.”

Lesson Learned

Take finances seriously.

Palma adds, “If I could restart this project of opening up a preschool, I would do more homework on the cost of running a preschool. Running a business has a lot of overhead that can eventually cause it to close down. Finances are extremely important when owning any type of business.”

How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000

Advertising and supporting the team.

Palma says, “If I had extra money to run my business, I would invest it on advertisement, staff training and employee salary.”

Biggest Asset

The team.

Palma explains, “They are always looking for ways to help grow the business by providing. We also sit together as a family for lunch and enjoy foods that represent our cultures.”

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Image: Stepping Stones Learning Center

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Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends, covering feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.

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