STIRLING, NJ - On Saturday, Goddard School of Long Hill owners Sumara and Imran Ahmad celebrated the grand opening of their newly constructed school in Stirling. 

Mayor Matthew Dorsi, Deputy Mayor Guy Piserchia, Council Members Brendan Rae and Bruce Meringolo along with business leaders, family, friends, faculty, and enrolled and prospective families participated in the ribbon cutting ceremony for the new school.

The 8,600 square foot facility features learning space for 135 students from six weeks to six years offering the "best childhood preparation for social and academic success."  

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As families toured the new school, they were able to meet the faculty and view the classrooms while their children were entertained by musicians and age appropriate toys. Mickey and Minnie Mouse along with Princess Elsa were on hand to greet the families and take photos with their adoring fans. There was plenty of entertainment in the expansive outdoor playground with music, performers and more characters. 

Enrolled families are ecstatic with the new facility and faculty.  "The caregivers are really attentive -- our baby just started last week," said a Basking Ridge parent. "It's been good, he's really happy, he comes home energized." 

Several families that spoke to TAPinto said their children finished out the school year at their current school and their children will start at Goddard in July, while others will start in September with the start of the new school year.  

One mom said she was going to wait until September to send her 18 month daughter, but when she visited, she had a change of heart. "I started to look for daycare -- we were going to start in September. And, when we came, we said, 'Why not start with day one,'" she said. "We love it -- she started to say new words. The teachers are all so nice. She adjusted so quick."

Miss Katie, who teaches in the infant room said the faculty had a two week orientation before the facility opened. "We went through all of the policies and we had team building which was really great," she said. "We got to know everything about the school and the curriculum before it opened. It was thorough two week training and really prepared us for being here." She said that the faculty will continue to learn through webinars, and they can earn credits towards certifications. 

The Goddard franchise has been around for 30 years. "It is considered to be a leader in early childhood education," said Sumara Ahmad. "What we are bringing to Long Hill Township is a tried and tested educational program that has proven to be very successful. Throughout the Goddard School history we have provided the communities we serve with the best in early childhood education." 

She explained the Goddard School Flex program and the presence of an education director and owner on site at all times sets them apart. "The Goddard school FLEX  Learning Program is based on the latest research in how children learn and was designed with assistant of child development experts. The program encompasses developmental guidelines with formative assessments, child-focused lesson plans, a creative and fun environment and a personalized child-centered approach that meets each child’s needs.

"The FLEX Learning Program sets us apart -- it is designed to instill a lifelong love for learning," she said. "Our program offers a creative and fun learning environment that focuses on each child's development in the learning activities. We do not have a box curriculum and the teachers develop their own lesson plans. We include arts, technology, social development, children are allowed to explore in activities that are set up in each learning center."  

"The Goddard School is not a day care center, we are a school, so our mission is the development of children. Whether gently holding an infant, encouraging toddlers to share, or providing preschoolers with enriching activities, caring teachers support children’s healthy development from six weeks to six years."

The Goddard School is located at 57 Plainfield Rd. in Stirling.  Click here to learn more and call 908.991.7373 to set up a tour.