b'SMALL BUSINESSDedicated to EducationTickle Me Pink Daycare & Learning CenterP am Carter strives every day to help children succeedThe nutritional training program provides tools for and grow academically and socially. As owner andclassroom teachers and families to increase healthy director of Tickle Me Pink Daycare and Learning Center andeating habits for young children. Throughout the Tickle Me Pink Academy, Carter is focused on providing aacademic year, Tickle Me Pink teachers led classroom healthy learning environment. activities that expanded the childrens vocabularies using fruits, vegetables, colors, textures, and movements.Even with our infants, we are teaching, says Carter. By the time most of our students get to pre-school, they can tellCarter explains that the Tickle Me Pink Academy, which you their entire name and home address. We are giving themopened in January 2019, offers small-sized classes for a solid foundation to be successful in school. kindergarten and first-grade, with plans to introduce new grade levels.Recognized as the 2019 Small Business of the Year by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce, CarterThe jump from a daycare learning center to an academy says childcare and education is not a job, but a passion. happened organically. It was our parents that pushed for us to start an academy, says Carter. When we got A Georgia Quality Rated learning facility, Tickle Me Pinkto the end of the school year, parents were asking us to Daycare and Learning Center was awarded the 2017 Shapeexpand.Award from the Georgia Department of Early Care and Learning. The award recognizes the centers exceptionalCarters entrepreneurial spirit comes naturally. Her nutrition and physical activity practices, which included themother, Elizabeth Jenkins, started Tickle Me Pink Eat.Move.Talk training program. Daycare and Learning Center in 1999, and successfully grew the center for seven years. I have a love for children and firmly believe in the importance of early education, says Carter, who worked in public education as a teacher and administrator. I understand that children need a strong foundation when they enter school.As a former middle school administrator, Carter says she would see students who were missing many of the basic foundational skills that they should have learned before starting school.Being a small business owner, Carter says she enjoys encouraging other women to become entrepreneurs. Many times, women think they cant own a small business, and then they miss out on a wonderful opportunity. In 2019, Carter was a sponsor for She Creates Business, a conference hosted by the Valdosta-Lowndes County Chamber of Commerce. Being part of this School Success: Pam Carter, owner of Tickle Me Pink Daycare andconference gave me a chance to speak to other Learning Center and Tickle Me Pink Academy located in Valdosta women entrepreneurs, she says. It can be scary, many unknowns, and a fear of failure. I am now in my comfort zone. I think if you step out and fail, thats okay because you are learning on the way.28 SG MAGAZINE| FALL 2019 BUSINESS + CULTURE29'