Casa de Corazón provides quality Spanish immersion child care that families turn to for their children’s first educational experiences. Through Spanish immersion curriculum, sustainable practices, and an emphasis on social responsibility, children are prepared for their future endeavors both inside and outside scholastic settings.
Natalie Standridge’s vision for Casa de Corazón began when she founded the Minnesota based company in 2002. Aiming to provide a healthy and compassionate intercultural environment, Casa encourages children not only to grow by embracing curiosity and exploring things on their own but take a leap towards being socially responsible. Casa has six locations: five around the Twin Cities (Minnesota) and one location in Shorewood, WI.
“Language immersion in early childhood fosters creativity, confidence, and critical thinking. Bilingual brains benefit from improved executive control, which impacts the cognitive ability to plan, problem-solve, and focus.”
Converting disappointment into educational revolution
Natalie stumbled on her passion for early childhood education when she was searching for childcare for her own daughter over a decade ago. Sadly, to her disappointment, Natalie was unable to find high quality, dual language childcare for her daughter. It was clear to her that the type of care she was looking for did not exist in her community and that there was a strong need for it. Natalie launched a unique second language (Spanish) immersion childcare experience which focused on instilling environmental consciousness, intellectual readiness, and intercultural community engagement. “Language immersion in early childhood fosters creativity, confidence, and critical thinking. Bilingual brains benefit from improved executive control, which impacts the cognitive ability to plan, problem-solve, and focus,” explains Natalie, Founder, and CEO of Casa de Corazón. “Bilingualism aligns perfectly with our program’s philosophy of intercultural community building. A second language is a window into other ways of viewing the world.”
“We are looking for franchise owners who hope to own and operate a company that makes a difference in the lives of our future generations.”
The curriculum at Casa is NAEYC accredited and based on research about child development. It uses methods for fostering children’s learning through the effective use of time, play materials, self-initiated learning, and creative self-expression. With fun and excitement behind everything that is taught, children thoroughly enjoy being and learning in school. With specially trained teachers, children are carefully introduced and accustomed to the bilingual environment. “Studying a different country and theme each month allows us to have a truly intercultural exchange with our children. Our staff members help us to do so by sharing their authentic experiences from their home countries,” says Natalie. “Spanish immersion is woven into each child’s life at Casa and the effortless way they adapt to the Spanish language will never cease to amaze us.” Their specialized curriculum enables children to learn and communicate effectively with each other and adults. At Casa, children learn words and phrases in both English and Spanish. They express their emotions, learn to make conscious choices, and resolve conflicts by watching their teachers model appropriate interactions. “What I value most about my company’s culture is the authentic intercultural understanding and subsequent meaningful relationships that are built here. I feel strongly that the members of our community – children, teachers, and parents alike – glean understanding and connections with members of such diverse people that outside of Casa, they would not otherwise have the opportunity to form,” shares Natalie.
Along with educational activities, Casa hosts a wide range of events to incorporate intercultural celebrations, fun days of the week, and family and community celebrations. “As a premier provider of child care, we organize exciting enrichment experiences to help children grow, develop, and better understand the world around them,” adds Natalie. “We host an annual philanthropic event that helps underprivileged families in Spanish speaking countries receive housing. We are consistently adding new processes to positively change our world. Our children are involved in all aspects of these two fundamental parts of Casa!” Such programs help children learn the importance of helping others from a young age and grow into responsible adults.
As Natalie’s own children attended Casa, she was able to understand the expectations of a parent and fulfill them as a provider. From making healthy food in-house to providing cloth diapering, Natalie has streamlined the daycare experience so that parents can spend less time thinking about childcare and more time with their children. “I am dedicated to providing the best possible experience for each child,” affirms Natalie.
Entrepreneurship that brings joy
With growing waitlists and centers meeting their capacities, Casa soon reached a level where they were unable to meet the demand alone. After extensive research, Natalie made the decision to franchise as she thoroughly felt that it was the best way to allow others to have the Casa experience in their community. With a vast experience of two decades in this industry, Natalie willingly and wholeheartedly loves partnering with other entrepreneurs. Having experienced the ebbs and flows of owning her own business, she wants her franchisees to understand they are in business for themselves and not by themselves.
Who can apply? Professionals with a net worth of $1,500,000 and liquid assets of $250,000- $500,000. Aspiring business people who live in or wish to relocate to urban areas or suburbs with diverse populations including Spanish-speaking communities. “Budding entrepreneurs looking to make a greater social impact through intercultural education,” adds Natalie. The franchise owner should strongly believe that children deserve the highest quality education in the healthiest environment possible and should always work with this belief in their mind. They should have a strong desire for creating a legacy. “We are looking for franchise owners who hope to own and operate a company that makes a difference in the lives of our future generations,” says Natalie. Casa expects its franchisee to be aligned with its core values and share its vision of impacting the world for children. The franchisee is expected to be honest, dedicated, hardworking, and true to the mission.
From the moment the franchise contract is signed, Casa’s leadership team will be there to assist with human resources, marketing, finance, curriculum, programming, project management, and more! Casa strives to assist at every step including site selection, demographic analysis, lease negotiation, finance assistance, construction, pre-opening training, grand opening support, continued operational support, and marketing/promotional support. By being with them at every step, Casa values every franchisee and wants them to feel valued as a part of the Casa family. Willing to go the extra mile for its franchisees’ success, Casa believes in doing everything it takes. “With over 45 years of collective experience, our team is well versed and here to guide you through running a successful and enriching early childhood education center,” says Natalie.
A franchise owner and enrolled father at Casa, Nick Plummer, expresses, “Natalie has created an incredible playbook and surrounded herself with talented people. You have the greatest resource in Natalie. She created this and created it with her heart. She has great knowledge and experience and does a wonderful job articulating the business of Casa.”
Many businesses have been badly affected by the spread of Covid-19. However, led by a visionary leader, going on the back foot against this invisible enemy was just not an option. True to its character, Casa rose to the challenge and ensured the highest standards to create a safe, clean, and comfortable environment for every child. With frequent hand washing, sanitizing classroom tables, sanitizing toys, toy shelves, Casa ensured that every child remained safe, secure, and healthy. Looking towards a brighter future, Casa aspires to reach 20 communities by 2030 and continue impacting the world for children.