Shelly Bailey owns On My Way Preschool & Daycare with locations in Clinton and Roy. “The biggest rewards are moments like when I walk into a restaurant and the waiter who is taller than me says, ‘Miss Shelly!’ and gives me a big hug. Being a part of these kids’ lives is the biggest paycheck.”
BY HAILEY MINTON
Shelly started on this journey as a 19-year-old when she started caring for a family member’s daughter along with her own. Shelly knew right away the level of care she wanted to give her children and she wanted to give that same care to each child who came through her door. She grew into running an in-home daycare and did that for about 26 years. They moved to their location in Roy six years ago, and they’ve been operating their Clinton location for six months now.
There were challenges she faced as a business owner, especially as she grew from doing an in-home daycare all on her own to hiring employees and eventually moving into a center. However, she said the bonds, relationships, and teaching moments she has with the kids make it worth it. Some of the children she cared for have gone on to work for her, and others bring children of their own to entrust in her care. “It warms my heart to be part of this huge family.”
Who she is today is a culmination of years of experience. “There is a difference between academic school and the school of hard knocks.” She has seen some people who are almost finished with their academic schooling really struggle once placed in a classroom setting. She sees apprenticeship as a key way to learn what it takes to really care for children and how to overcome the challenges that come along with it. Kassidy, Shelly’s youngest daughter who now runs the Roy location, knew how to change diapers as a three-year-old. “She is a natural, a baby whisperer. When she comes into the room, the kids know she means business, but they absolutely love her, and she loves them.” Having a love of kids is the most important quality she and her employees possess.