extracurricular activities, parent workshops and occasional babysitting nights for parents to enjoy a night out.
Every staff position at Lightbridge requires special qualifications. In addition to obtaining their Child Development Association Credential, Lightbridge prefers that all lead teachers hold a minimum of an associate degree in child development or a Bachelor of Arts in education with a focus in early childhood education. Every Lightbridge Academy employee receives a thorough fingerprint and background check prior to employment and must also be CPR and first-aid certified.
In addition to the Minnebos, the center is operated by director Christy McIntire, who has 21 years of experience in child care, and assistant director Melissa Dreding, who has 14 years.
Safety and security are paramount at Lightbridge. Besides the internal video monitoring, the center has a coded entry system, silent alarm systems, indoor sprinkler system and many other security measures in place.
“Our security is unparalleled in the child care industry,” John shared. “Each child’s safety and well-being is our highest priority, and we’ve invested in the latest, stateof-the-art technology to ensure that this place is always safe and secure.”
Although the physical environment is at the top of its game, the learning environment is what truly sets Lightbridge apart from some other centers. According to the owners, Lightbridge Academy encourages children with a “learning is fun” philosophy through play and positive reinforcement and builds upon the skills children acquire at various ages and stages of their development. The center is open to children of all abilities.
Each classroom is designed with learning centers to offer children the ability to engage in teacherled activities, child-led interests and individual play. Lesson plans build on the skills that each child acquires at various ages and stages of development, in accordance with the theories of Piaget. Lightbridge Academy aligns their philosophy with the thinking of Montessori by focusing on the development of the whole child.
Lightbridge Academy has been raising the bar in the child care industry since its founding in 1997. Over 100 owners have applied for franchises, and 32 sites are already open and running successfully. The others are in the process, preparing for their openings. According to their research, an estimated 14.5 million children are in some form of child care arrangement in the U.S. alone. Lightbridge began in New Jersey but has spread out on the East Coast. The opening of the Delaware County center marks the third in Pennsylvania, with the other two in Fort Washington and Bethlehem.
“We are passionate about education,” John explained. “With us both being educators, when we decided to open our own childcare center, we wanted top-of-the-line in education. We looked around, and we found the best there is with Lightbridge. It incorporates both our values and our education philosophy.”
John and Beatrice, residents of Concord, recognized the need for quality day care in their region.
“This is a very localized business,” John explained. “Parents want child care close by to their homes or their jobs.”
The couple has been involved in education throughout their careers. John teaches European business and other courses at Temple’s Fox School of Business. Beatrice, who also holds a degree in science and biology, teaches French language classes at a Garnet Valley School District enrichment program. The couple has three children who went through Garnet Valley schools, one still at Garnet Valley High School. The family is fluent in several languages, including German, French, English, Spanish and Dutch.
Before opening Lightbridge, Beatrice spent over a month training in Iselin, N.J., to learn the ins and outs of owning a Lightbridge childcare center. She will be the one to handle the day-to-day operations of the center. John will oversee the business end. The Minnebos hope to introduce summer camp programs in the future and perhaps programs for the older siblings of children in their childcare program.
Currently, the center has two infant classes, one for young infants and another for mobile infants, as well as two toddler classes, two 3-year-old classes and two 4-year-old classes.
“Education is extremely powerful,” John stated. “It is extremely rewarding to be involved in the education of young children. To see the results as children grow is just phenomenal. We are honored to have the opportunity to partner with families on their journey through these special years of their child’s life.”
Lightbridge Academy at 1363 Naamans Creek Road is a member of Delaware County Chamber of Commerce. The center is open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. For more information or to arrange a tour, contact director McIntire at cmcintire@lightbridgeacademy. com or call 610-364-2000. For more information about Lightbridge Academy, visit www.LightbridgeAcademy.com.