Care

Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS -

care cen­ter pro­vides a pro­fes­sional and nur­tur­ing home-away-from-home en­vi­ron­ment for chil­dren where they are not only safe and com­fort­able but where they de­vel­op­men­tally grow and flour­ish,” ex­plained Beatrice.

Ed­u­ca­tors at Light­bridge en­cour­age chil­dren with a “learn­ing is fun” phi­los­o­phy through play and pos­i­tive re­in­force­ment and build upon the skills they ac­quire at var­i­ous ages and stages of their devel­op­ment. Each class­room is de­signed with learn­ing cen­ters to of­fer chil­dren the abil­ity to en­gage in teacher-led ac­tiv­i­ties, child-led in­ter­ests and in­di­vid­ual play. The cen­ter’s cur­ricu­lum fo­cuses on every de­vel­op­men­tal area, in­clud­ing cre­ative arts and mu­sic, math­e­mat­ics, tech­nol­ogy, phys­i­cal well-be­ing, science, so­cial and emo­tional, lit­er­acy and sen­sory and cog­ni­tive learn­ing. Chil­dren can also learn var­i­ous lan­guages like Span­ish and even Amer­i­can Sign Lan­guage. The Min­ne­bos hope to add French and Man­darin Chi­nese in the fu­ture.

The Gar­net Val­ley fa­cil­ity it­self is mod­ern and state-of-the-art, fea­tur­ing de­vel­op­men­tally ap­pro­pri­ate class­rooms, each with its own bath­room, as well as fresh air cir­cu­la­tors, bring­ing fil­tered out­door air into the cen­ter for a health­ier en­vi­ron­ment. The rooms are bright and cheery, freshly painted in pri­mary col­ors and taste­fully dec­o­rated. The out­door play area is safe and se­cure, with mod­ern play equip­ment and clean, padded safety sur­faces. There are two play­grounds, di­vided by age, which are both shaded, fenced and se­cure with no out­side en­try.

In­side, there’s a large mul­ti­pur­pose room with high ceil­ings and lit­tle fur­ni­ture so chil­dren can ride trikes, play ball or en­joy hula hoops, dance, soc­cer and other ac­tiv­i­ties if the weather is not con­ducive to out­door play.

The own­ers pride them­selves on the fa­cil­ity’s clean­li­ness. A pro­fes­sional clean­ing crew san­i­tizes Light­bridge Academy every morn­ing.

Another of the ma­jor high­lighted fea­tures of Light­bridge Academy that sets it apart from other area child­care cen­ters is its ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy. Par­ents have the abil­ity to watch, and even in­ter­act, with their chil­dren all day long. Al­though they may be at their desk or on a business trip thou­sands of miles away, par­ents can watch what their child’s do­ing through­out his or her day on their mo­bile phone, iPad or com­puter. In to­day’s econ­omy, dual-in­come fam­i­lies seem more the norm than the ex­cep­tion. Par­ents are of­ten stressed and strug­gling to find good care for their chil­dren. Hav­ing this un­prece­dented ac­cess to their child’s daily ac­tiv­i­ties through tech­nol­ogy helps par­ents not only have a se­cure feel­ing know­ing their chil­dren are well cared for, learn­ing and en­joy­ing their day, but it also al­lows par­ents a win­dow into their child’s daily ac­tiv­i­ties, which fa­cil­i­tates com­mu­ni­ca­tion when they are re­united later in the day.

“When the par­ents are back with their chil­dren, they can say things like, ‘You were amaz­ing in how you built that house out of blocks to­day,’ or ‘You re­ally en­joyed those sto­ries about au­tumn this morn­ing,’” ex­plained Beatrice.

The Academy’s Par­en­tView In­ter­net Mon­i­tor­ing Sys­tem not only gives par­ents a live stream of their child in the class­room but also pro­vides a par­ent eCom­mu­ni­ca­tion app that al­lows teach­ers to com­mu­ni­cate with par­ents through­out the day by shar­ing pic­tures and videos and log­ging chil­dren’s mile­stones into an on­line port­fo­lio. Those are just a few of the tools they use to form a stronger home/school con­nec­tion and build trust with the en­rolled fam­i­lies in their cen­ters.

“We are com­pletely trans­par­ent,” Beatrice ex­plained. “I’m a par­ent, and I know how im­por­tant it is to be able to see and be in­volved in what your child is do­ing dur­ing the time they are not phys­i­cally with you. We want par­ents to feel con­nected and a big part of their chil­dren’s lives at all times.”

Tech­nol­ogy is ev­i­dent in every class­room, equipped with in­ter­ac­tive white boards and child-sized tech desks that are es­pe­cially de­signed for iPad place­ment.

The Light­bridge Academy own­ers value the cen­ter’s trans­parency and the on­go­ing com­fort and con­nec­tion their tech­nol­ogy brings to par­ents, but they also like the op­por­tu­nity it gives staff to grow. The cen­ter uti­lizes the lat­est in tech­nol­ogy for the ad­min­is­tra­tion to watch the ac­tion in all parts of the cen­ter. By view­ing how staff is in­ter­act­ing with each child through­out the day in every class­room, the own­ers and di­rec­tors are able to men­tor and sup­port each staff per­son to pro­vide the best pos­si­ble teach­ing strategies and help them grow pro­fes­sion­ally. This con­tin­ual video view of class­rooms also en­sures poli­cies and pro­ce­dures are be­ing prop­erly im­ple­mented.

Light­bridge of­fers many op­tions to make life eas­ier and a bet­ter ex­pe­ri­ence for par­ents, such as the op­tion of back-up care, nu­tri­tious snacks and op­tional meal plans for their child, ex­tended hours, in-house

CARE» PAGE 13

PEG DE­GRASSA — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Light­bridge Academy own­ers John and Beatrice Min­nebo stand be­side their van, which sports a “KIDS” li­cense plate, in the park­ing lot of the new ed­u­ca­tional child­care cen­ter that they opened at 1363 Naa­mans Creek Road in Bethel.

PEG DE­GRASSA — DIG­I­TAL FIRST ME­DIA

Own­ers Beatrice Min­nebo and John Min­nebo stand with as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Melissa Dred­ing, se­cond from left, and di­rec­tor Christy McIn­tire, se­cond from right, in front of the “Cir­cle of Care” logo on the wall at Light­bridge Academy in Gar­net Val­ley. The ed­u­ca­tional child­care cen­ter is fo­cused around the in­ter­con­nected re­la­tion­ships in the Cir­cle of Care: par­ents, staff, com­mu­nity and own­ers, all of whom help the chil­dren to grow in a truly car­ing en­vi­ron­ment.

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