About the people behind Ash and Elm Play Studio
Ashley Baker – Founder and CEO Ashley has over 14 years of experience in early childhood education. Her career started in Germany, where she and her husband (Mark) were stationed in the US Army. There, in Germany, she worked for the DOD School system; she then ran her own in-home daycare program and started providing training to other in-home daycare providers. They were then stationed in SoCal where she worked for the Department of Navy Child Development program. Once out of the military, she worked for several years at a large nationwide childcare company.
Finally, deciding that she enjoyed building the curriculums, teaching children, and running a business, she opened an in-home daycare again. She expanded it to a group home (which meant double the capacity of children). As her children grew out of the daycare age, she pivoted her daycare business to exclusively building curriculums for other daycares and providers to use at their facilities. Finally, moving to Maple Valley, WA, she found an opportunity to use her knowledge and skills to build Ash and Elm Play Studio.
Ashley has curated the space specifically for children under six to have a safe and fun environment to learn, laugh and play. This provides opportunities for parents to play, work, or relax while the child is in their site. Further, she has continued to build curriculums but pivoted to learning kits. These are designed for kiddos at home.
Mark Baker- CFO (Chief Fun Officer), Mark has over 14 years of experience as a father (four kids total) and a lifetime of being funny (looking at least). Professionally Mark is a Public Health Scientist that focuses specifically on food systems. But at Ash and Elm, Mark focuses on supporting Ashley in whatever she needs doing. Usually, this involves heavy lifting of stuff, taking out the trash, and cleaning things. On a serious note, Mark is passionate about children learning about STEM. Mark and Ashley founded the Robert Neihardt Award program, which he hopes Ash and Elm Play Studios can help take to the next level.
Fun fact, Ashley and Mark started and grew a hot sauce company that is found on many grocery store shelves nationwide. They sold the hot sauce company in 2019.