302 N. Eighth St., El Centro
Tell us how you ended up in this line of work.
I started a family child care business when I was expecting my first child because I wanted to be a stay-at-home mom. We lived across the street from Central Union High and one day Coleen Swartz, the director at CUHS, came across the street and said she liked how I worked with children. That was the most momentous moment of my life! I began teaching there and was able to have my children with me too! The best of both worlds. I graduated with distinction from Imperial Valley College with an associate’s degree in early childhood education and love what I do!
Describe what your business does.
We provide a safe, loving environment for children. We strive to provide children with opportunities to become self reliant and independent and autonomous. Our focus is on education, nutrition and physical education.
What are memories from your career that stick out with you the most?
When I receive invitations to graduations, birth announcements, job promotion announcements and most of all when I have a recycled preschooler (one whose parents were former students).
What do you most like and least like about your work?
Every day is a new day. I love the way the children “light up” at the sight of a new adventure in learning. I love everything about preschool except maybe the paperwork.
What makes your business unique?
Our center raises most of our produce in our gardens, we have a full gym equipped with child-sized equipment and we are focused on nutrition and science.
What advice do you have for someone who wants to open a business?
I would suggest that you set your goals, stay ahead of the regulations governing your business and be sure you are totally committed to something you love.
How do you give back to the local community?
I volunteer at the American Cancer Society and I am a legislative ambassador for the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network. We must make cancer funding a national priority and keep our elected officials aware. I also support several other charities and of course I bleed Spartan Blue!More about Jeannie West:
Years in business: I have been a preschool director in the field of early childhood education for 44 years. Discovery Land Preschool, which I own, opened in April 2013.
Hometown: El Centro
Family: I have been married to my husband David for 46 years and we have three daughters, six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter.
Hobbies: I love to read, sew and volunteer. I am a cancer survivor of 19 years and The American Cancer Society is an organization I am passionate about.
If you or someone you know would like to be profiled, please contact staff writer Julio Morales at 760-337-3415 or at email@example.com