Meet the Mompreneur Behind Wilkins Learning Center


  • Name: Wilkins Learning Center
  • Age: We teach and love babies 6 weeks old through kindergarten
  • Location: 730 South Cooper Road, Gilbert 85233 NW Corner of Warner & Cooper
  • Phone Number: 480-813-2796
  • Children: Kyden 9 years old, Kole 6 years old, Maverick 4 years

You founded a business! Tell us about your company. 

After teaching thousands of children in the Gilbert community, we felt called to start Wilkins Learning Center. We wanted to design the same caring learning environment that had given us maximized results in education. Parents gave us our brand name: Wilkins Way ApproachLove! Respect! Fun Learning! Love and respect are powerful! It is the Way children are valuedtaught, and spoken to that propelled our learning center to receive the highest compliment; voted BEST Preschool and BEST Childcare in the East Valley! 

Why did you want to start your own business? 

My two daughters, Jennifer and Melissa, and I taught 10 years at the same school in Gilbert. That is when parents started saying, “I want the Wilkins Way!” Having a school was never on our radar. In fact, Sharon was going to retire in 2007 after 40+ years of educating children. However, extraordinary events happened in March of that year. The seed to have a Wilkins school was planted. With total support from my husband, Skip, parents, and friends, we rented a small 750 sq. ft. farming house in Gilbert. The first week we were open, a little boy we tutored went out our front door saying, “Mom, it was like a House of Love.” After five years, our supportive parents wanted more of the Way, so we moved into an empty 8,500 sq. ft. grocery store, drew up the plans to love and teach 6-week-old infants through Kindergarten! Our caring staff of 45 reflect the Way to approximately 150 children.

What was your motivation to pivot your career to being a mompreneur?

Our phenomenal results from Wilkins Way Approach! We believe the success of our Approach should be shared with others . . . even the world!  We experienced how the Way brought about exceptional results and wanted to design a school using the principles of what we know works best! Our Approach is doing little things in a caring, authentic way such as:

  • Kneel heart to heart when in conversation with a child
  • Talk with children, not at them
  • Value and identify with their feelings and have meaningful conversations
  • Empower them to believe in themselves
  • Awareness of their own powerful tool called choice
  • How to “wake-up” their courage
  • Help children grow friendships respectfully

In our House of Love, Anne, a parent, said, “Children learn the importance of kindness, patience, courage, self-worth, integrity, respect/honoring, and feel the love of Wilkins team of educators.” 

How do you make-time for self-care in between all that you have going on?

Getting up early is the best time for us! In the early morning, we read devotionals and self-help books. We also enjoy walking when cooler weather arrives. Occasionally, on weekends, we especially like to spend time in Strawberry, AZ, taking pics of our children exploring the beauty of the seasons, hiking, and taking pics of wildlife. Also, February is special. The three of us celebrate Mom’s birthday in Sedona. Beauty and solitude. Together is a beautiful word. That said, there are many times when our business needs us. 

What lessons have you learned in your career that you apply to parenting?

Children are our best teachers! Here are a few important techniques we learned: 

  • Lead by example. Children watch us. Listen to us. Copy what we say and do. What we reflect matters!
  • We parent with wisdom from a famous humanitarian, Albert Schweitzer: One of the greatest freedoms is the freedom to choose our attitude in ANY given situation.
  • We try to respond; not react when solving problems.
  • PLAY is a child’s textbook! You are their favorite toy. Play is a big part of our parenting because PLAY creates joy, fun, conversation, and love.
  • As parents, it is important to give ourselves grace and to our children, too!

Greatest challenge in your career thus far?

Maneuvering through COVID! We often repeated the wisdom of this quote by Jane Marczewski: Do not wait for the tough times to end before you are happy. Life is a journey with occasional potholes and detours. If we did not have difficulties, we would not discover how much courage we have or how strong we can be. Replacing the word problems with the word “opportunities” helps. This lifts us to higher ground. 

For some fun chit-chat, now!

Favorite East Valley date activity? Comedy Club in Gilbert. A good movie. 

Favorite restaurant in east valley? Dragon Wok. Culinary Dropout. Sushi

Best mom advice you have been given? Mom said: Be tenderhearted. Remember, you have not worn the shoes of others! Dad taught us: your reputation precedes you

Last Netflix show you binged?  Sweet Magnolias, Virgin River, Working Moms

What do you do to unwind after a long day or week? Try to take deep breaths of peace before entering the home. Sometimes go on a walk or work out. Play Tag or Hide and Go Seek as a family. Dance Party is always a winner! With children asleep, it is time to unwind, read, or watch a movie. 

This blog post is a sponsored post written by East Valley Moms contributors on behalf of some of the brands featured in the post, but all opinions are 100% ours. Thank you for allowing us to partner with brands we believe in to continue to bring you free content!


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