Little Starr’s Center opens in LaPlace

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 19, 2021

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LAPLACE — Anastacia Francis has always had a passion for working with children. After three years of operating a daycare out of her home, Francis achieved her dream of opening Little Starr’s Center at 139 W. Fifth Street in LaPlace in May 2021.

A grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held June 17. According to Francis, Little Starr’s Center seeks to meet the needs of parents in the community with extended daycare hours from 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Little Starr’s is also open on Saturdays as needed, and Francis plans to introduce 24-hour daycare services to the community.

“I always wanted to be the first extended hour daycare in my region,” Francis said. “My goal was always to accommodate the parents because, when working out of my home, I had a teenage parent and parents who worked in the plant. They had to drop their kids off early and pick them up late. I wanted to see what was needed in the area and what we didn’t have.”

While there are other daycare centers nearby, Francis said there is no animosity or sense of competition between them. They build each other up and work in tandem to meet the needs of the community. In fact, Francis said she received an outpouring of support and words of wisdom from Little Harvard Learning Academy, Kids of Distinction and other facilities in the region while working to open Little Starr’s Center in LaPlace.

Francis grew up working closely with children, whether it was through church or volunteering with Vacation Bible School. After giving birth to her oldest daughters, Starr and Skylarr, she started to consider a new career path.

“I was working, doing hair and cleaning up. I would bring my girls to a home daycare in Cambridge, and one day it just dawned on me that I should open my own daycare,” Francis said.

The home daycare became a success, combining learning with family fun events including a prom and Mardi Gras ball. Fundraisers through the years led up to the opening of the new Little Starr’s Center in LaPlace.

Some of the first items she received for her home daycare were lovingly donated to her, and they hold a special significance to this day. Francis is grateful for her family and friends who helped renovate the space at 139 W. Fifth Street. Her husband did a wonderful job painting the facility in bright colors to capture a childlike wonder and create an upbeat, welcoming environment.
Little Starr’s Center is now at full capacity, serving 35 children. Children ages 1 to 12 are welcomed, and Francis plans to include an infant room in the future.

Little Starr’s follows the same curriculum as other daycare centers in the region. Francis hopes to develop a new curriculum based on the principles of her educational children’s book, “The Alphabet Bible.” Francis said the book is diverse and can grow with young readers, taking them from letter recognition to gaining a foundation in Christianity.

“I wanted to write a book that could not only teach their ABCs, but also teach kids encouragement, teach them how to be brave, and teach them about love, all while learning the scriptures of the Bible,” she said.

Francis is a graduate of the FastTrac Entrepreneurial Training Program held in St. John Parish. She said program manager Wayne Aucoin was a great mentor as she learned the fundamentals of running a business.

During Thursday’s grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony, Parish President Jaclyn Hotard recognized Francis’ passion for working with children and wished her the best of luck in this new endeavor.

According to Francis, the ribbon cutting also served as an open house, allowing parents to come into the facility and see the progress their children have made over the past month. She plans to continue providing opportunities for parents to interact with Little Starr’s Center since trust is crucial to the success of any daycare.

“I want the parents and children to always feel like we are a family,” she said. For more information, call 985-618-3115