Berkshire Learning is an educational service that provides a variety of support for preschool children through grade three. Founder Valerie Chisom says, “My goal is to provide students with a firm foundation in academics, but present it all through play and nature-based learning.” In addition to teaching, Valerie also sells her own educational materials online for teachers and parents.

Valerie initially engaged with EforAll when she tabled at the first ever EforAll Berkshire County Pitch Contest. At the time, Berkshire Learning was just an idea. This experience inspired her to apply for the free one year EforAll Berkshire County Accelerator program.  According to Valerie, “My goal was to open a learning center. But once I was in EforAll, I surveyed at least 30 people and what kept coming up was the need for childcare/preschool. I pivoted to preschool, which wasn’t too far off from my original plan.”

Once in the program, Valerie said she started to feel a “cohesion” within the Accelerator cohort, because” it’s a smaller group, you get lots more attention, EforAll brings in extra ideas and speakers specifically for us. I realized that it’s great to see people at different stages of their business, it motivates me to work harder.” 

Upon completing the first twelve weeks of the Accelerator, Valerie was awarded a cash prize of $1,500. She said she plans to use the funds to purchase supplies and create teaching materials. 

Since the COVID-10 pandemic, Valerie says, “I’ve been working on improving marketing, based on what I learned from EforAll. I’ve learned more about the concept of using social media. It’s not advertising, it’s about communicating and telling a story. 

But perhaps most important to Valerie is how much she has grown both personally and professionally after EforAll.  “My confidence has grown in seeing how my peers are being successful. How I’ve seen them grow. It has inspired me.”