CHATHAM, NJ – Little Angels School House was a home when it began and it remains so today, 13 years later in its new location on Main Street in the borough.
Rima Numan stayed home to take care of her own daughters and it blossomed into a thriving early child development center for her expanded family.
“I started from my home,” Numan said. “I decided to stay home with my children as a single mom and left my travel and tour business in New York. It grew from there. A home environment like this helps them feel safe and builds self-esteem.”
Numan knows how tough it can be for mothers when they return to work and that’s why she makes it comfortable for infants. No potty training is required and working parents can drop off as early as 7 a.m. and pick up as late as 7 p.m.
“Some companies only give six weeks of maternity leave,” Numan said. “Then a new mother has to choose where her child is going to be and that makes it hard.
“For babies, we sing and give them massages during diaper changes. I sing all day long, even though my voice might not be that good. We do finger play, use puppets and read books. We help them learn and develop new skills.’’
Little Angels School House will be holding a Pre-School Night/Open House from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 2.
Parents have been so pleased with Numan’s “home environment’ that once they start coming to Little Angels School House, they stay for years.
“We build a schedule and routine with them,” Numan said. “They start with us when they are six weeks or three months old and they wind up staying with us for four or five years. We get them ready for kindergarten. They never leave us until they’re ready to leave.”
Numan, who has logged more than 300 hours studying early child development, uses play for her learning curriculum.
“When we’re playing with the sand, we’re learning how to take turns with the shovel, we’re not just playing,” Numan said. “When we’re stacking blocks and building a tower, children are not just stacking, they’re following a mental plan in their head to put it together. There is a lot of learning through play and that’s how we look to build their brain power. It starts at 6-months-old when they sit up.”
Little Angels School House is one of only two pre-school centers in Chatham to offer a full-day program. In addition to the learning curriculum, Little Angels School House offers extra-curricular activities in the afternoon. On Tuesday, July 23, a performer came and sang to the children.
Little Angels School House also offers organic gardening, science, music and language such as Spanish and Italian, in the afternoons.
“It’s a long day, but they’re happy,” Numan said. “It’s more like a home.”
Numan recently moved Little Angels from her home to the picket-fence-lined house at 110 Main St., Chatham.
“I moved to the borough to expand and it’s a better location because it’s near the train station,” Numan said. “All of the children I care for moved with me. I’m here now and I love it. There is more space inside and out.”
Numan’s first satisfied customers were her children, Sarah and Salma. Now 20 and 19, respectively, the two work alongside their mother.