My name is Claire LeBeau Fromme, and I grew up the younger of two daughters in Southern Illinois. I spent a lot of time outside, as our house was on a secluded plot of land in the middle of a national forest! When I was 8 years old, my mother passed away, and my sister and dad worked together to finish raising me. As I grew older, I was a big reader, and still spent time outside, working with my dad on his farm and in our garden. In high school, I tried my hand at softball, student government, and marching band, and babysat fairly extensively for my friends’ younger siblings. After high school, I moved to Minnesota to attend the College of Saint Catherine.
St. Kate’s was a great place for me. I studied politics and women’s studies, worked as a barista as well as a campus tour guide, and again was a part of student government. I used summers as a time to travel AND to keep up my babysitting skills. My sophomore through senior year, I cared for 3 families (7 kids total) that all lived on the same block, and am still in touch with them today.
After spending my last semester in Lima, Peru and obtaining my degree in International Relations and Spanish, I moved to D.C. and then to Pennsylvania, where I worked as a campus organizer. While I found the work both challenging and important, I couldn’t get my heart behind it, and moved back to the Twin Cities in the fall of 2010. Immediately upon returning, I answered a Craigslist ad for a day care assistant, and started working at an in-home child care run by a wonderful wife-and-husband team. Although I started working as their assistant thinking it was temporary, I quickly realized that I had, in no uncertain terms, found my calling. Spending my days with children helped me realize I want to devote myself to helping children find their way in the world.
While working at Three Little Birds, I cared for children aged 6 months to 6 years. Here I experienced firsthand the joys and challenges of those age groups, from changing cloth diapers to handling biting toddlers. Simultaneously, the birth of my niece revealed the challenges for parents in balancing work and family life. Finding caregivers that are trustworthy, environments that are safe and well-suited for children, and curricula that are age-appropriate and creative is very difficult! In the summer of 2011, I started daydreaming about what it would be like to open my own program. To discern more about what this would take, I enrolled in a distance-learning program through the Lifeways Early Childhood Center located in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Based in Waldorf education, Lifeways child care is uniquely suited to children ages 0-7. The teacher training program I took provides a comprehensive understanding of the developing human being, foundation in creative and practical arts, and a hands-on approach to caring for children. This program helped me further define both who I am and what I want to do in the world. It also allowed me to see the positive impact quality child care can have for families, communities, and kids. Never in years of caring for children had I seen a space so suited toward them, or so peaceful. While undergoing this training, I felt my call toward working with children intensify. Sadly, during my time there a dear member of my family was diagnosed with cancer, and I decided to leave the school in order to be more reliably there for her and my family. Also during this time, Three Little Birds closed, and I accepted a position as an organizer with Minnesotans United for All Families. While working to defeat the anti-marriage amendment of 2012, I began to daydream about providing families with real, loving childcare. Over the next two years, I researched (and continued to daydream about) what it would take to open my own childcare and put steps in motion to get there.
In the spring of 2014, my partner Elizabeth and I found a home in the wonderful St. Anthony Park neighborhood of St. Paul, and began making plans to open The Daffodil Day School in October 2014.