Eric and Jessica Hobbs knew they wanted to relocate their business, Posh Academy Preschool & Childcare, to the Lower Town community because they felt it would fit with their art-based philosophy and enrich the educational opportunities for their young students.
Even though they have only been operating at 719 Madison St. since June 1, based on the community's reaction they know they made the right decision.
Parents, neighbors, local officials and the community at-large all came together to help ease the transition from Posh Academy's previous location at the Paducah Regional Sports Complex on U.S. 60 West.
"The community support has been more than we ever could have asked for," said Jessica Hobbs. "People actually came to our house and everybody sat down and creatively thought out what needed to be done. They almost delegated themselves (to take on various tasks)."
Those tasks included things like helping with required paperwork, making phone calls, volunteering equipment, even constructing bookshelves to meet the state's requirements for a preschool program.
"We really wanted to be in Lower Town," Jessica Hobbs said, "but I really had no idea that people would just come to the door and (be willing to) help."
Posh Academy uses the Reggio Emilia approach, encouraging students to learn through their own exploration and discovery. Preschool students ages 3-6 move about the "campus" freely, rotating from indoor to outdoor learning stations.
The Madison location has a backyard natural play scape area where science, art and play are woven into the day's learning opportunities.
The environment is thought of as the "third teacher," Eric Hobbs said.
"When we say the environment is the third teacher, we provide materials and just sort of guide the children with the different activities," Eric Hobbs said. "When they're playing they sort of make the discoveries and we foster those discoveries."
The move to Lower Town allowed the Hobbs to offer a school-age program for students ages 7-12.
"We wanted a program where they could go in and explore Lower Town," Eric Hobbs said. "Maybe they'll visit the bank, or the Market House Theatre, or the library. They get the feel of the neighborhood. That's what we wanted ... to plant the seed in their head that community is what matters."
The school-age students recently held Entrepreneur Wednesday, where they set a goal and created a "business" to make enough money to achieve their goal. The goal in this case was a neighborhood trip to get ice cream. The business was a lemonade stand.
"They sat down much like in a board room, figured out how much money they needed and delegated responsibilities," Jessica Hobbs said. They created their own e-mail marketing, signage and materials list. "They raised enough money," she said. "It was very clever."
The response from students, parents and the neighbors has been positive.
"Everyone has been really accepting of what we're doing," Eric Hobbs said. "Some of the neighbors say they love hearing the sounds of children in the day now."
Contact David Zoeller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8676.
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