Our Origin Story

Explorations Early Learning started out back in 2003 as the name of the family child care program. Over the years, the business has evolved, but the name has stayed the same.

After 16+ years, in a moment of frustration and exhaustion, Jeff quit a job he loved with a large non-profit agency. He walked in the door as a volunteer and end up directing a child care program and community center that served hundreds of children a day.

Twenty minutes after quitting, he realized he was burnt out and unemployed. His wife, Tasha, assistant director of the child care center, quit the next day–she had been burnt out for years.

They quickly resolved to start a family child care program that focused on child-led play and learning.

They ran that program for 10+ years. During that time, Jeff had the opportunity to write some books for Redleaf Press that focused on play, relationships, and caregiver self-care. He also began to spend a lot of time traveling as an early learning speaker.

In 2013 they closed their program to focus full-time on providing early learning trainings as well as creating and curating digital content promoting play, child-led learning, and caregiver self-care.

Training

Jeff did his first presentation in the fall of 2000. Gigs as an unpaid speaker led to paid speaking gigs.

Since then he’s presented across the United States, Canada, and Australia. He’s also done periodic online trainings for about 15 years. Attendees have described his sessions as heartfelt, inspirational, high-energy, and humorous.

Exhausted and homesick from spending up to six months a year on the road, in late 2017 He decided to cut back on live and in person events and focus on online trainings.

Now he offers regular live and on-demand sessions via this website, collaborates with other agencies to offer open-to-the-public sessions, and is available for hire as an online trainer.

Here are a bunch of photos taken while running the roads in the last few years of the 20-teens:

Podcasting

Jeff began podcasting in 2013. In additional to his original show, The Child Care Bar And Grill, he now hosts and produces several early learning focused shows featuring popular early learning authors like Lisa Murphy, Heather Shumaker, Angela Hanscom, Mike Huber, and Dan Hodgins. There are currently over 1600 episodes–totaling over 700 hours of content—available.

Books

While he currently prefers the ease and immediacy of sharing content in the form of podcasts and blog posts, Jeff was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write some books back when he favored that format.

2006
Do-It-Yourself Early Learning | Redleaf Press

2007
Finding Your Smile Again | Redleaf Press
The Child Care Alphabet Book of Early Learning | Self-Published

2008
Everyday Early Learning | Redleaf Press
The Child Care Alphabet Book of Manipulatives | Self-Published

2009
Babies In The Rain | Redleaf Press

2010
Keeping Your Smile | Redleaf Press

2012
Let Them Play | Redleaf Press

2013
Let’s Play | Redleaf Press

2015
Let’s All Play | Redleaf Press

Playvolution HQ

In 2016, Jeff founded Playvolution HQ as a home for original and curated early learning content. The site now houses all those podcast episodes as well as thousands of early learning quotes, do-it-yourself projects, article, and more.

Toys

Jeff spent over a decade making low-tech high-think wooden toys. While it was enjoyable and rewarding, it also took up lots of time and space and the toy making ended in 2020 to make room for other projects.