Tamra Brannon has always loved children and wanted to be a child psychologist growing up. After graduating high school, she worked for the CampFire Afterschool Program within Amarillo Independent School District. She was a daycare director in Amarillo before moving to Claude, Texas with her family where she began an in-home daycare. She quickly realized there was a greater need for childcare in her community than what she was able to provide in her home. In February of 2022, Tamra opened Lil' Colts Childcare and has come full circle by providing help to the after-school program in Claude when she leaves the daycare almost every day.
Tamra's advice for anyone thinking about opening their own small business is to contact America's SBDC at WTAMU. Her business consultant, Gina Woodward, sat down with her to develop a successful business plan that she ultimately presented to the bank to secure a loan. The Claude EDC board fully understood the crucial role that childcare availability plays in economic development. They worked closely with Tamra to ensure that employers and employees in the city now have access to the childcare that many were previously having to drive 30 miles or more out of their way to access.
The biggest challenge Tamra has faced has been staffing, and that is especially exacerbated in a small town. Although the facility has the capacity for 39 children, due to ratio compliance, she currently has enough employees to keep half that amount. With all the obstacles she has faced, we wanted to know what motivates her. "The kids. I just get up for these kids."
We also asked her some fun questions.
What is the kids' favorite song to sing?
We sing a lot of Dr. Jean songs. "Hello, Neighbor" is probably their favorite. All the kids love that song - every age. There are a couple of songs that teach colors in Spanish that the kids really get into. We try to teach sign language starting in the baby room, and we introduce Spanish in the two-year-old classroom so by the time they leave here, they know their colors, shapes, and numbers in Spanish.
What is your favorite book to read to the kids?
Rainbow Fish or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? because it teaches colors.