FLORHAM PARK, NJ- Butterflies and solar systems floating down from the ceiling, guitars hanging from the walls and book-filled shelves throughout—these are just a few of the creative furnishings in the vibrant-colored activity rooms of The London Day School in Florham Park.
This private academy, which offers preschool prep, toddler, preschool, pre-K and Kindergarten programs for children 18 months to 6 years of age, was founded in 2010 by Danielle Lindner, a local working mom who simply wanted the best education for her two young children.
“I wanted them to have a preschool experience that was different than what was currently being offered,” said Lindner, who received her master’s degree in elementary education before working a corporate job. “I wanted them to be exposed to science and technology and engineering and math and the arts. I felt like, if I’m going to have them somewhere where they are for most of the day, then it should be worth the time. It should be engaging and exciting, and they should want to go.”
About to embark on its seventh school year since opening, The London Day School has become the embodiment of all of Lindner’s educational ideals—activity rooms for the kids to move between throughout the day, supportive teachers and an engaging academic program. The steady influx of students has sanctioned the addition of a new classroom every other year, and this year, an art studio was added where children can sculpt, paint, draw, color and create.
“We feel like that fosters their creativity and divergent thinking,” explained Lindner, whose 17 years of experience in education gave rise to the school’s unique curriculum.
Having reached the full capacity of its current building on Ridgedale Avenue, The London Day School completed the process of becoming a franchise this past February, and has already attracted the interest of over 300 individuals desiring to start their own schools.
Lindner, who is a contributing writer for The Huffington Post Parents, places great emphasis on character education, and she began writing a children’s book series which reflects that. Miss Danielle’s Preschoolbuds is comprised of 16 books and addresses everything from sharing to facing your fears. The series recently developed into a 7-episode television show available on Amazon.
“We really needed to focus on character education at a preschool level, because we have a lot of bullying that happens once kids get into elementary school and middle school and high school,” said Lindner. “We teach them how to have a voice for themselves [and] how to stand up for themselves and feel confident, but also to be kind, caring kids [who] know that they can feel good about building someone else up, rather than tearing someone down.”
Each student who graduates from The London Day School not only leaves knowing how to read, but also has completed a confidence project. Every child creates a personal poster and presents it to their peers. The completed projects, which foster both confidence and public speaking skills, line the walls of the school stairway.
“I want every child to have an enriching and exciting experience,” Lindner said of her vision for the students who attend The London Day School. “I want them to have a love of learning and leave here feeling good about learning and feeling confident with themselves, feeling they have a voice, [and] that they’re caring kids who love school.”