The Young Innovators team was featured in the 2020 edition "Women Who Move the City"
Marnie Forestieri had been trying to solve one problem for years: to improve the salaries of early-childhood teachers. A former childcare franchisee and franchisor, she was unable to find the solution within the franchise model—a business model that takes up to 10% of the total revenue of an operator not leaving room for a pay increase or career advancement opportunities.
As an educator, she was concerned about the high teacher turnover rate of the industry and was aware of the importance of providing young children with a stable and trained workforce during the most critical years of brain development.
That’s when she decided to start looking outside the industry for a solution. Forestieri’s new brainchild, Young Innovators Academy, is an alternative business model that aims to compete with established childcare franchises by offering future childcare entrepreneurs a lower market entry and simple licensing contracts.
Her platform streamlines all the services needed in childcare operations so new providers can compete with existing childcare brands. But it’s not just about operations: the real differentiator of Young Innovators is their curriculum—one that aims to give children “the Innovation Advantage.” Through a preschool curriculum inspired by the design-thinking process from the Stanford University and Harvard University’s maker centered learning, the company hopes to prepare children for the careers of the future.
The team was right on target to roll out the first childcare centers powered by their technology platform this year when Covid-19 happened. To support their parents during the crisis, the Young Innovators team decided to take on a new mission. Forestieri drew from her previous experiences as a TV producer to turn the company’s lab school into a professional TV Studio featuring a daily circle time on YouTube and weekly lesson plans for parents. During the process, her staff transition from teaching positions to on-camera, curriculum development, and social media roles. Forestieri believes that infusing the maker mindset at a young age allows children to become agents of change and that teachers practicing the maker mindset is a precursor to teaching Innovation principles.
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