“My goal is to ensure that parents understand that this place will absolutely enrich your child’s mind.”
–Corri Poore// Little Tykes University
Supported by Startup sioux falls
As a father of three, Corri Poore is no stranger to raising young children. In fact, his journey to opening Little Tykes University, a Sioux Falls childcare center, began with his own kids.
After the birth of his first son, Orion, Corri’s frustration with the available childcare options led him to take matters into his own hands. He wanted Orion to spend the day in an enriched learning environment, not just a giant toddler-sitting facility.
“We wanted to be in control of the things he was learning,” Corri said. “We had also discovered some interesting information about brain development and wanted to maximize that time from birth to six years old.”
Corri and Orion’s mother brought their son home and began to teach him themselves. Others in the neighborhood heard about what Corri was doing, and asked about sending their own children to the Poore home for childcare. Corri ran their childcare business out of their home for eight years before Corri finally launched a full-time daycare center in October, 2014.
Although many daycare centers and preschools simply teach children their ABCs and nursery rhymes, Corri knows that children have far more potential to be developed.
“In my time at home,” Corri said, “I realized how capable children really are, and I was just blown away, over and over, by that capability. Once, after a lesson on the stegosaurus, a four-year-old girl was looking at the class’ pet hedgehog and asked if the hedgehog’s spikes were like the hard plates on a stegosaurus’ back.”
Corri’s experience in 2021 with CO.STARTERS’s Core Program and Startup Sioux Falls taught him to hone in on his desires for Little Tykes University: scaling the business and offering childcare that stretches children’s minds, imaginations, and love for learning. This also allowed him to communicate his mission clearly to parents.
“CO.STARTERS taught me that you have to communicate the benefits and advantages of your business to your customer, not just the service itself. You have to help the customer to understand what a blessing it is for them to be a part of your business.”
For Corri, this means highlighting some of his research into learning development theories and his intentional approach with young children. Being able to speak clearly about the different methods of childcare he draws from sets him far apart from his competition.
Since participating in CO.STARTERS’ Core Program, Corri has felt more empowered to participate in the Sioux Falls entrepreneurial community. “It’s given me confidence knowing that I can walk into Chamber events or a Startup Sioux Falls event,” Corri said, “and see someone that I know and feel comfortable enough to go talk to that person.”
While strongly encouraging early stage entrepreneurs to participate in a CO.STARTERS program, Corri also offered one final piece of advice: “Just jump. Take that idea you’ve been sitting on forever and start. There’s no drawback. You can put the pieces together as you go.”