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Whole Kid And Kaboodle

The Whole Child Learning Company

The dreams of all parents invariably include seeing their children succeed. Husband-and-wife team Matt and Lindsay Barron have tapped into that desire with The Whole Child Learning Company, a provider of educational enrichment programs for children. Whether it's teaching computer basics or Spanish to preschoolers, the goal is to give them tools for life.

Started in 1996 under the name Gigglebytes, The Whole Child Learning Company arose out of necessity. Feeling that quality computer education programs for kids were lacking, the Barrons decided to open shop in San Marcos, Texas, after a successful pilot program in New York City. Lindsay, a teacher at the time, had the experience to design the curriculum, while Matt, a sales manager for a fiber-optic cable manufacturer, had the sales and marketing expertise to promote the company. They sold Gigglebytes computer education service to preschools, day-care providers and after-school programs. Parents loved it.

The name change happened in 1997, says 33-year-old Matt, when he and Lindsay had requests to offer additional services. While Gigglebytes is still one of their most popular programs, the Barrons recently added martial arts and a dynamic movement course to educate "the whole child."

Courses aren't the only things expanding: The Whole Child Learning Company began franchising last May. "To keep quality high," says Matt, "we wanted [people] to own a piece of the business." The goal is to open 10 to 12 franchises in the next year, with each expected to annually bring in $100,000 gross. Projected sales for 2000 are $1.3 million. For $15,000 to start, entrepreneurs can jump into this ever-growing market, where a teaching background isn't required, but a love for children is.

And there's nothing better than knowing you're making a difference-down to the little things the kids are learning. Says 29-year-old Lindsay, "We teach the kids to use the [antibacterial] hand gel so that everybody's hands are clean before we start working [on the computer]. One parent told us that their little girl went home insisting that they have a bottle of [it] next to the computer." Evidently, the message-and the profits-are sinking in.

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