Our History

Hi, I'm April. The history of Apple Seeds is also sort of my history. I grew up riding bikes, helping in gardens (I am NOT good at it though), running through my neighborhood with the other kids, playing in the creek, building forts, climbing trees, spending time at my grandparents, summers at camp, and just being allowed to be a kid. I was allowed to dig in the dirt, ask questions, get scrapes, and be creative. There was guidance, limits, and I'm sure a bunch of rough times but what I remember is the freedom to just be a kid. You see, I was a bit of a stinker. 

I have a very specific memory of using a stick to shove a neon yellow sock into the mud of the creek behind our home and thinking it would stay attached to the stick (it didn't) but how cool it was to watch it slowly go under. Just wow! My mom could have been upset but she didn't get mad. She just said I might have to wear mismatched socks. There was basic cause and effect.

Another great memory that comes to mind is when the cousins all got together at my grandparent's house and played an expanded-upon version of hide and seek called The Clue Game. We had to create, think, plan, and solve problems. It was great! I even played this same game with my children as well as my nieces and nephews.

So what do these weird little memories have to do with Apple Seeds? Having the freedom to explore and create impacted me into adulthood. I know how to tackle problems, how to research, how to clean up messes, how to handle challenges, and how to work with others. This matters when working with others and functioning in the real world as an adult.

From all of this, I knew I wanted to work with children. I thought I wanted to be an elementary special education teacher with a focus on behavior disorders but God had a different plan. I married young and our family grew quickly. Mr. Cham and I have three boys and that is really what kicked Apple Seeds off.

Apple Seeds began as an unlicensed in-home childcare (it wasn't required) in Springfield, Missouri. It began with just my children a friend of mine's kiddos when we were suddenly without childcare. Surely, I could put my plan on hold a little bit while I took care of my own kiddos. I opened up to a few more kids and I absolutely loved it. Man, they were some long days but they were good days! 

Time went on, my boys grew, our situation changed, and I closed Apple Seeds in Missouri as we relocated our family to my hometown of Topeka, Ks (technically Berryton). That was rough. We lived out in the country and I was married to a city boy. My kids were used to having kids in the neighborhood to play with and here I was driving a school bus, which was a fine job but it wasn't my passion. 

The director of our church daycare met with me over lunch. I had known her when I was younger and we had a very real and very blunt but loving conversation and it wasn't too long before I began working part-time at the church daycare. I did it in between bus routes and I towed my 4-year-old along with me. Eventually, I went full-time in the 3-year-old classroom, and let me tell you something I LOVE 3-year-olds! They are my people. It was there that I met Ms Katy. She was working in the 2-year-old room.  It took a bit because she is very practical and while I am practical, I'm mostly funky and I think I confused her a little bit (haha). 

In time, there were some shifts and we moved to Lawrence so we could be closer to my husband's job and began working at a center in Lawrence but Apple Seeds was reopened very quickly when that center t suddenly closed. A few of the children from my class joined me in my home to continue on our journey together. Things shifted yet again as I opted to home-school one of my children. Our numbers were often small or part-time. Sometimes I substituted in centers or at other in-home daycares but then there came a big change and we moved to a group in-home daycare and we started running at a higher capacity. During this time Katy was a director and had made a job change or 2. Keep in mind this was over several years.

Eventually, the shift was made to go to full capacity and Ms Katy came on full-time. We were off and running. We knew eventually we would expand into center care but we had no idea when or how, so we kept on trucking. 

We have infants through school-agers and my boys aren't so little anymore and were able to jump in and help with things as needed and they were the big brothers to everyone. Summers were like summer camp and we would go, go, go. It was grand fun and then the pandemic hit.

We stayed open. We geared up and we were in it for the long haul. You see most of our parents were essential workers which meant they needed us. So we were there through the judgemental looks of people as I was trying to grocery shop for that many people or buy enough toilet paper to accommodate the large numbers and the ones we were still potty training. The hours were long and it was hard and somewhere in there my husband and I lost our minds and bought a house. 

So we are packing up, taking care of everyone, prepping the new house, and without skipping a beat we closed Friday at one location and reopened Monday in the new location. "Exhausting," was the word of that time but we made it. The kids were awesome. Our parents were amazing. The world was kind of crazy but so are we but man it was good!

We had a designated daycare space, parks nearby, and various options in the backyard. We made it through COVID, online schooling, and home-schooling, and I think it tightened up the family concept that runs through Apple Seeds. Our big kids are excited about setting good examples for the little kids and helping them learn things. I think it allowed them the chance to learn how to be teachers and givers. 

We've been back to "normal" for a while now and we miss our big kids being around during the day but having the smaller ratios during the day is great for our littles. We want quality time with each child in our care because it matters. 

So, back to the history. Recently, a friend of mine put me in contact with Ms Mary from CRC about wanting to open a childcare facility in Topeka and both Katy and I were sitting there like, we weren't called to Topeka," but as more and more information came about and more and more discussion took place it became very clear that this whole situation was being given to us by God and that we had a responsibility to take it and to run with it and do it right.

While that part is the future, we are looking forward to adding it to our history as we grow and expand. We are trusting God through all of this. He is SO good!