Ducklings Early Learning Center gets first franchise sale

KENNETT SQUARE >> As you walk through the door at Ducklings the giggles of children can be heard from one end of the school to the other. It’s a place founded on decades of developing unique ways to teach children, “through play.” Owner Jody Thompson says, “We actively engage the whole child in fun learning activities that go beyond traditional academics. Our Ducks grow into incredible little people who not only enjoy learning but also have a strong sense of citizenship and self-worth.”

Since 1994, Ducklings Early Learning Center has been an educational childcare staple in the Kennett Square community, since then expanding into Oxford, Landenberg and soonPocopson. Looking to spread the success of their learning centers and innovative,homegrown curriculum, Jody Thompson and her management team made up of daughters Kim Collier and Sarah Vannello, and Jackie Hicks, longtime Ducklings Executive Director, took the leap into franchising with the help of Andrew Lawrie, Ducklings Dad and Director of Franchising. Within less than a year, they have sold their first franchise.

“Ducklings is special and the best way to make it available to more children, families, and communities is through franchising,” says Kim who has made the move from 18 years as Ducklings Director of Operations to its Director of Franchise Development.

New franchisees Zach and Amanda Pickard were impressed with Ducklings’ partnership approach to franchising, “We chose Ducklings because from the first conversation that we had with Andrew and Kim, we felt like family. It is a great feeling to know that as we go through the process of opening our first Ducklings we will have the help and guidance of the Ducklings ownership, side-by-side.”


Building on the core beliefs of the Ducklings team, Zach and Amanda are excited to begin their franchising journey, and also contribute to their community, “We are most excited to work within the local community and have a positive influence on the next generation. When families come into our center, we hope they feel as welcome and comfortable as they would visiting family.”

The Pickards have identified an area in eastern Chester County and have begun the site selection process. They plan to open their Ducklings Early Learning Center in 2018. For more information on Ducklings Early Learning Center franchises, please visit