Mi Casita

Melissa Page founded Mi Casita, a bilingual Spanish-English preschool, in Spring 2015. Mi Casita engages children in learning Spanish and English, participating in the community through gardens, and immerses them in Spanish culture and language.

Mi Casita’s first school is located in a lovely space in a new building just of Broad Street, north of City Hall and not too far from a SEPTA stop and Temple University. Melissa envisions a network of pre-schools which support children’s developmental needs, involve them in their communities, immerse them in Spanish and English, and excite them about learning. Melissa herself began learning Spanish in her Texas elementary school and learned to love the language and culture through many family trips to Mexico and during her undergrad years as a Spanish major at Washington University in St. Louis.

Her early career took her to Telemundo and an MBA. She moved to Philly where she had many friends and taught Spanish in the Philadelphia Public schools. Her first entrepreneurial venture was “Sangria Sessions,” a popular wine and Spanish conversation classes for adults held around Philadelphia. Mi Casita came together for Melissa during 2013-14. Melissa knew many young parents who enjoyed Spanish culture and wine and who were seeking really good preschools for their young children. At the same time, the public schools in Philadelphia were having their challenges. In Summer 2014, Melissa (with her MBA background) wrote the business plan for Mi Casita and – at the suggestion of college friends – contacted Wharton Small Business Development Center for assistance while she began the pre-launch of Mi Casita.

She worked with Wharton SBDC consultants during the Fall of 2014 and early 2015. She notes she figures out how to use social media and her PR consultant so that she was able to attract a lot of interest among parents. Her Wharton SBDC consultants helped her to figure out how to get the parents who were expressing interest to commit early to enroll their children in the preschool. This mattered a great deal to the start-up because the early involvement of parents and children has allowed the school to start-up with programs, enthusiasm and with financial viability. Melissa says, “My consultants helped me to figure out how to establish appropriate ways of working with parents, especially in strengthening contacts with parents to commit early to achieve the needed enrollments. This made so much of the school start-up especially effective.” Melissa is now working with the excellent staff she has recruited to Mi Casita to build a management team and to get ready for her next schools.