Judy Pino, a Georgetown mom, was frustrated by the lack of childcare options and the inflexibility of many childcare centers in the area. So she started her own: Little Seasons Child Development Center at 3222 O St. NW.
"I'm a Georgetown mom myself," Pino told Patch. "When I had a young daughter, I couldn't really find a place for her to go."
Her daughter was about 18 months at the time and many of the facilities in Georgetown and elsewhere nearby only accepted children ages 2-1/2 and up.
She eventually found a location in Northern Virginia, but said that search was what sparked her desire to find or create a solution closer to home in Georgetown, not only for herself by for other parents like her.
"I think it's important for parents to have options," Pino explained.
The Little Seasons Child Development Center opened in September and caters to working parents for whom a 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. childcare center is not an option. The founders of the center are five moms with some 17 children among them, including Pino and her daughter Sofia.
"We all had a vision for what a preschool should look like," Pino said.
Now Sofia, almost 4, can be found enjoying a quiet nap any given day around 2 p.m. in the brand new childcare center across from Hyde-Addison Elementary under the watchful eye of the center's Director Jessie Biggs.
Little Seasons' 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. standard hours fit the schedules of working parents, explained Pino.
"We wanted to make it easy," she explained.
They offer year-round enrollment, care Monday through Friday and they do not close for spring break or the summer holidays as some facilities do. The also accept children from 3 months to age 5.
"I felt that there was a need in the community," said Pino about Georgetown. "Our community keeps growing."
The demand for infant care is clearly there. The center's eight slots for infants are already filled. They have a total capacity for 39 children and still have space for children from 2-1/2 years old to five years old.
She said they like to think of themselves as "children-focused, but parent-centered."
They offer online monitoring for parents to check on their kids throughout the day.
Little Seasons also operates a bi-lingual curriculum. Signs throughout the facility are written in both English and Spanish. Even the infants are spoken to and comforted in both languages.
"I basically implemented things that I knew I would want," Pino said.
The school is also offering mini-camps during the spring as well as enrichment playgroups, for parents looking for something to do with their children, but who are not necessarily ready for a full-time program.
There will be an "Eric Carle Book Camp" April 1-5, focusing on books by the Hungry Caterpillar author.
And the busy bees playgroup offers two-hour sessions during several time slots each day.
You can learn more about Little Seasons on their website www.littleseasons.net or contact the Director Jessie Biggs at 202-944-8440.