“US students spend less time in school compared to other countries. This could play a roll in our less than average performance compared to other global countries.”
I had the pleasure to interview Elizabeth Fraley, the CEO Of Kinder Ready, a transitional program to help students transition from preschool to kindergarten.
Thank you so much for joining us! Can you share your backstory and prior experience with us? How did you end up founding/launching Kinder Ready and what’s the mission?
Initially I was an early childhood director of a preschool program in Santa Monica. Before that I was a classroom teacher working with children mostly in preschool and kindergarten. I noticed an immediate need for a transitional program to help students transition from preschool to kindergarten. Especially students, attending private school, as the curriculum usually accelerated. Kinder Ready helps children going from a play based classroom to a kindergarten classroom with success.
What does your company do? What programs are currently available for kids?
Kinder Ready™ is a specialized program designed for 3–5 year olds. The program would best be described as a “balanced approach” to learning. Our team will individualize the needs of students based on their individual abilities and interests. Our teachers are familiar and trained in various educational philosophies (Bank Street, Waldorf, Reggio Emilio, Montessori, etc.) Currently our company offers one on one learning classes, assessment, small group parenting classes, and academic summer camp.
Can you tell me about the most interesting thing you’ve learned since you started? Or a unique experience that has happened?
I think the biggest and most interesting thing I have learned is that it is ok to take risks, especially involving something that you are passionate about. Working with children and families have allowed me to feel fulfilled and inspired.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person or mentor who you are grateful towards/admire who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I would say my mother, a former early elementary teacher, would be a role model for me. Growing up as a child, I was able to observe first hand the ins and outs of teaching and educating young children. Everything that she did was extensive from her curriculum planning to her actually implementing the instruction that I would see firsthand. When I was a student at the school where she taught, I would watch my mother teach. It was really captivating even as a young child. She managed to keep the attention of her students for such a long time- do to her expert planning and the fact that she knew her students well.
What are the 5 things that most excite you about child education and why?
There is never a dull moment. Young children keep things so interesting.
I enjoy meeting families and kids and hearing their experiences and goals.
It is really captivating to hear children have that “a-ha” moment.
It is really encouraging to help children be productive and use their time wisely.
I love helping children feel prepared and confident about their learning and what they’re capable of.
What are the 5 things worry you about our current education systems and why?
One thing I worry about is the ratio of teacher to students. Oftentimes there are more than twenty students and only one teacher.
There needs to be more individualization for students in the classroom.
More interest-based learning. More learning using various modalities to keep it fun and engaging-and for all ages!
There needs to be more character education to teach morals, manners, etc.
The nation should build stronger art programs in the nations schools. Many art programs are continually being cut due to budget constraints.
US students spend less time in school compared to other countries, this could play a roll in our less than average performance compared to other global countries.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world? Can you share a story?
Each year Kinder Ready donates services to schools to help raise money for schools all over LA. Kinder Ready also participates in other charities that promote children’s safety such as Safe Kids Worldwide, Alliance of Moms, CASA of Los Angeles and more.
What 3 things would you advise to someone who wanted to emulate your career? Can you share an example for each idea?
There is never enough professional development and training you can get.
Stay in tune with the local market. What are families looking for? What goals do they have for their child?
Get to know the people in your field.
Is there a person whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why?
I would love to meet with Maria Montessori and pick her brain! Having gone to Montessori school, it is an approach I really admire.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?
Self Care is crucial. Be sure to take time out of the week for you.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
I remember trying to make these brochures and they turned out really terrible looking. I then turned to my web designer for some design help!
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
Our elementary WISE program follows “W-winning attitude, I-integrity, S-showing respect-responsibility, E- Encouraging Others. I’ve used this quote to help my students and even in my own life.
You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. :-)
I would love to set up an annual literacy event in the west la area in August to help families gear up to back to school.