When kids walk through the doors of Priscilla’s Place Daycare, the only thing they should think about is fun and happiness. That’s the philosophy Shelly Palumbo adopted when she opened her day care in February 2019, and that’s how she has operated her business throughout the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Seeing smiling faces everyday does something wonderful to your soul,” Palumbo said. “We try our best to shelter the children from reality, so they have a little slice of heaven when they come to school. I would like the community to know that I strive to know each child, their likes and dislikes.”
She and her staff have done everything in their power to provide a happy and carefree environment that shields children from the scary realities many families have been facing since Covid-19 disrupted everyone’s lives and daily routines. They have also experienced increased demand.
“Due to the pandemic, there has been an increase in young families moving to town,” Palumbo said. “I have gotten so many calls for registration, but unfortunately I have to turn them away because I am a small facility.”
After graduating from Sacred Heart University with a degree in accounting and living in Easton for 15 years, Palumbo saw a need for child care among the young families who were moving to town.
“I have three children of my own,” she said. “They are 11, 7 and 4 years old, all girls! I wanted to go into taxation for my master’s but decided to expand my family instead.”
Palumbo named her new business Priscilla’s Place in honor of her eldest daughter and treats the kids at the day care as if they were her own. “My biggest challenge is making sure that I have met each child’s need to the best of my ability,” Palumbo said. She is careful to maintain a desirable staff-to-child ratio, especially while following Covid safety regulations.
With the business open year-round, Palumbo has faced many challenges as a working mother with three daughters. However, she feels a great sense of accomplishment from continuing to build and maintain a successful Black-owned business. “I find it very rewarding running a small business. The kids make it worthwhile.”
The kids partake in a variety of tasks and activities while attending Priscilla’s Place. “A typical daycare day is arrival and breakfast, play for a while, then morning snack and morning meeting, preschool activities for motor skills and other developmental issues, before outside play followed by lunch, nap and dismissal,” Palumbo said.
Palumbo has done everything in her power to accommodate families and follow safety regulations. “I clean every night by myself and sanitizing all the toys and equipment to make sure that no child gets ill,” she said.
Thanks to her steadfast efforts and attention to detail, Pricilla’s Place Daycare has remained Covid-free since the very start of the outbreak. However, much like other business owners, Palumbo did experience an initial slowdown in business as families were understandably anxious about health and safety issues. “The pandemic affected my business in the beginning, but then after the summer I started receiving calls for childcare and things picked up,” Palumbo said.
Currently, she has needed put a cap on admitting new students but also expects to see new faces in 2021. “We are able to accept a total of 22 children from six weeks to 12 years old,” she said.
To keep her business open throughout the pandemic, Palumbo has also implemented her own rules and regulations to mitigate risks. “The staff gets tested regularly to ensure that we are not placing anyone at risk,” she said.
Palumbo has made it her mission to make the best out of a difficult situation, including encouraging parents to become involved. “I strive to help build the community at my school, always encouraging parents to participate and creating a great home-school relationship,” she said. “Since this is a daycare, the only thing kids should be worried about is snack time.”
If you are looking to enroll your kid(s) into Priscilla’s Place Daycare, you can reach Palumbo by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the office at 203-371-6707. Priscilla’s Place is located at 25 Flat Rock Road in Easton.
Photo at top: Shelly Palumbo, Owner of Priscilla’s Place Daycare. — Taci Batista Photo