The women of Our House: Holly Howard, Tammy Altschul, Teresa Francis & Valerie Penny.
Needing money for a new home for her burgeoning daycare-preschool back in the 1980s, owner Teresa Francis launched a Hail Mary and addressed it to first Lady Nancy Reagan at the White House.
Francis had been turned down by everyone in the Bluegrass, so she created a fat portfolio outlying everything her in-home preschool had accomplished.
The First Lady must have been impressed. Bingo. Bank One loaned Francis the money.
Francis opened Our House Creative Childcare in Nicholasville in 1990, five years after opening a daycare in her revamped garage, starting with one child.
Fast forward a quarter century and Francis’s little enterprise has blossomed into Our House at the Pinnacle, a 93,000 square foot building off Tates Creek Road that can accommodate 200 students from 6 weeks old to pre-k, plus an after-school program for school-aged kids.
And the hallmark of her business is family.
Francis, 70, visits the school every day, and her daughter, Tammy Altschul, and her granddaughter, Valerie Penny, are co-directors and manage day-to-day operations.
Plus, Holly Howard is not only the assistant director, she was one of the first children Francis watched at her home nearly 30 years ago. She loved the family so much, she married into it.
“It feels like an extension of the family,” Penny said. “Those kids can be here and be in someone’s arms who loves them, and parents feel that too.”
That loving care must make lasting impressions. Many of the Pinnacle’s 35 employees are former students, and some others return just to volunteer.
The preschool program rotates students through five classrooms – music, gym, language, math/science and dramatic play. Each group of children stays with the same caregiver as they cycle through the learning rooms.
Infants and toddlers get a similar level of individual care. Children are divided into four nurseries, four toddler rooms and two rooms for 2-year-olds.
For the after-school program, the Pinnacle provides transportation to and from Veterans Park Elementary.
“The kids are amazing,” Penny said. “They are the best part of the job. The kids are squealing when they see you in the morning and don’t want to leave in the evening.”
Info: Our House at the Pinnacle, 4269 Saron Dr, Lexington
(859) 245-0123 / www.ourhouseatthepinnacle.com.