We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Rockwood and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I’ve worked in Early Childhood Education since 2012 and been both a preschool teacher and director. Once I had kids of my own, I was faced with quite a conundrum- do I put my kids in preschool so I can go teach other people’s kids at another preschool?
I started researching and touring different preschools for my kids, and I just wasn’t happy with what I was seeing. My kids are biracial, and I wasn’t finding a preschool that had anti racism measures in place. The student/teacher ratios were way too high for my liking, or the teacher turnover rate was high (which signals to me the teachers aren’t being treated well,) or there wasn’t enough outdoor time for the children.
So finally I was like “Well, if I’m going to be this picky, I guess I’ll open my own preschool!” And Honeysuckle House was born.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Teaching- especially teaching preschool- is not for the faint of heart. It’s a job that is monumentally underpaid and undervalued. I am where I am today solely because I care so deeply about children and providing a nurturing, researched-driven, and playful preschool experience for them.
I think what sets me apart from others is that I have an innate understanding of the complexities present in children and their emotions. I never want a family or a child in my care to feel forced to conform to my classroom. Every interaction I have with a child in my care is respectful and measured. A child’s brain is developing so rapidly at preschool age that every second counts and I take that seriously. I also have a strong sense of what’s wrong and what’s right in the world of preschool and I refuse to compromise on my morals- which is why you’ll never find me forcing developmentally inappropriate teaching practices on my students.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love this question. I would definitely take them to Civil in Highland Park for the Angeleno burrito and a matcha latte. Then we would go see Lupe at G.Nails for the best manicure in Los Angeles. I would hit Sunbeam Vintage to admire the furniture and window shop.
Other Los Angeles must-dos for me would be the Atwater Farmer’s market on Sunday mornings, lap swims at the Rose Bowl Aquatic Center, and the Silverlake Resevoir for leisurely walks with my best friend Jeanette.
We just moved to La Canada-Flintridge and I love it up there. Descanso Gardens is a favorite, as is Lost Books and the Black Cow Cafe (they have a Brie and apple grilled cheese that I love!)
And finally, the absolute love of my life, the Langham Pasadena! It’s my favorite place on this earth. It makes me feel like Emily Gilmore and the pool is the best.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Personally, my grandmother Lee Hadden. She was extraordinarily tough. She taught Physical Education at the Perkins Institute for the Blind and later was actually my preschool teacher. I adored her. She was funny, flawed, and loving.
Professionally, the Moorpark College Child Development Center is where I discovered my passion for Early Childhood Education. I really believe in community college- I was able to find my passion and career path in my early twenties at an affordable cost and each and every professor I encountered in their Child Development was a life-changer. It was there that I trained under Lindsey Cuadra and Margarita Spivack, who’s wisdom and guidance I still use in my classroom every day.