MADE in Lake County is part of a paid partnership.
Welcome to MADE in Lake County! MADE introduces you to the people and stories behind local Lake County businesses. This month we are introducing you to Cory Cameron, owner of Grayslake’s newest preschool, Little Lake Learning Station.
MADE in Lake County: Cory Cameron, Little Lake Learning Station
Cory was born in Schiller Park and came to Lake County during her grade school years to be raised in Long Grove. Cory attended Carmel High School in Mundelein, where she met and eventually married her high school sweetheart, Dan. Cory and Dan have been together for 15 years, married for 9 of those 15 years, and have two kids together. Cory and her family enjoy vacations in her home away from home in Key West, FL, and are slightly obsessed with Disney!
Cory and her husband share the love of music, sports and are self-claimed “foodies!” Cory and Dan make a point to immerse themselves in the local culture during their travels and dine on various restaurant cuisine. Cory credits having amazing lifelong friends as her support group during the trials, tribulations, and joys of being a mommy and is very grateful to her parents for their support through each life-changing experience. Cory is a girls girl through and through and loves getting to know new mommies and their children.
What was the catalyst that started your business?
I have always been around children. As a graduate of Carmel High School, part of our schooling included service hours in the community. I started volunteering in daycare centers in the area. I fell in love with the idea of caring for and educating children. I pursued a BA in Early Childhood Education from Concordia University, where I worked within daycare centers as an At-Risk Preschool Teacher. Between working and volunteering in and out of daycare centers for over 15 years, I have seen a great need for centers that provide quality care with a quality education. I wanted to open a center that cared for and nurtured children socially and emotionally and helped instill a lifelong love of learning in all children.
Has it been difficult to get your business up and running, while being a mom, managing a household, etc.?
Oh boy, has it been difficult! I am a mother of 2 very smart, adorable, and active children, ages 5 and 3. They have been in toe with me every step of the way in this process. Between daily trips to Home Depot to pick out tile, testing our playground equipment, and even being stuck inside all nasty winter while I worked on paperwork, they have inspired me to keep going. Managing the household has been a difficult one. My husband has become Mr. Mom at home while I take care of the center like it is my second home with cleaning it, doing laundry, cooking for children, doing dishes, and paying bills. But after a year to get the center up and running, the chaos has paid off. My children are as elated to be with me every day as am I. Life still will remain slightly off-balance in my house, but we are all pulling it together.
What is the best thing about your job?
There are too many things to list here. My favorite parts are the moments when families and children walk into the building and instantly feel a connection. When a child will come into a classroom of strange children and start playing like they have been friends for years, that sense of trust the parents and children develop is by far the best thing. It validates why I wanted to start my own center.
What do you do to recharge?
I have a great group of mommy friends that support me, and we often do a Mom’s Night Out. It helps to get out into the world and have an adult conversation. They have listened to me in my joy and my anger over the center. They have given great insight being parents themselves what they would like to see in a center. On the weekends, my family and I like to hike in the area or during summer camp. I also have my guilty pleasure of watching too much Real Housewives, History Channel and rocking out in my care to R5, Teen Beach Movie, and Selena Gomez (I also enjoy “my age” music, LOL)
What is your inspiration?
My Children. As a parent, I know how worrisome it can be to find quality care. My children help me see what quality care and a nurturing environment is through a child’s eyes.
What is the most important thing you want our readers to know?
I have developed this center from the ground up. Between the building’s demo, hours talking with the architect, picking out the perfect calming paint color, finding child-sized toilets, and even making the building ADA accessible; Everything has been planned and centered around quality care and positive growth for children. You can’t cut corners, and the cheapest route cannot be taken when it comes to taking care of children. I am here to provide a safe, nurturing, and educational experience for every child.
What is your favorite part of the job?
I am a preschool teacher to the very core; I love MESS!!! Glitter, finger paint, shaving cream. I also crave that moment a child realizes they learned to tie their shoes or find their name on their cubbies. To see a child grow is truly amazing.
What is the most challenging part of your job?
Work-life balance. Creating this center has been my life for over a year. I was working on it at home, in the car, on the phone, in stores, or at the center. Now that we are open, have children regularly attending, and have staff waiting in the midst to start, I have to learn to leave work at work and enjoy my time at home.
Little Lake Learning Station opened in February 2014 and is now taking summer and fall enrollment for children ages 2-6.
Meet other local businesses that are MADE in Lake County!
Disclosure: Little Lake County is not associated with Little Lake Learning Station. Partnerships and event listings are not an endorsement of a particular school or curriculum but are provided to give the community more in-depth information about options available.
Little Lake Learning Station is our featured Business of the Month. This series is part of a paid promotion partnership with Little Lake County. If you are interested in featuring your locally-owned business in our series, please contact the sales team.