Daily Times (Primos, PA) - - NEWS -

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.Light­bridgeA­

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