MONTVILLE, NJ – Families were treated to an afternoon of face painting, balloons, a puppet show and more as Kiddie Academy educational child care celebrated its grand opening with an open house and ribbon cutting on March 4.

Members of the Township Committee, Montville Township Chamber of Commerce, and Montville Education Foundation were present for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Mayor Jim Sandham welcomed the academy to the community, and praised owners Bernie and Deborah Klein and the staff’s attention to detail.

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“You have created a safe environment to nurture minds,” he said. “We wish you prosperity and success.”

Visitors were then treated to tours of the school, which opened its doors January 9. Children are divided into classrooms by age.

The 6 weeks to one year classroom has colorful rugs and play centers for the babies to crawl around on. Floors are kept pristine by the booties that visitors are required to wear over their shoes when in the room. The sanitary changing facilities are far from the food area.

“The babies are taught sign language to help them communicate their needs.” head teacher Kelly Longobardi said. “The teachers read books and poems, sing songs and much more.”

The 13 to 24 months classroom has craft tables, storytime, and puppets.

“We give toddlers new experiences to build their imagination as we encourage them to name colors, objects and people,” Longobardi said.

The 2 years to 3 years classroom is bigger, because, “they’re not toddlers anymore,” Longobardi said. “They’re more independent and they need more space.” Toilet training is handled with the help of special stalls and kid-friendly toilets.

“The kids are learning through play to help them be ready for pre-school,” Longobardi said.

The pre-school class begins at age 3.

“This is when they start with computers,” Longobardi says. “There’s a little more structure.”

Children will practice counting beads and blocks, and begin solving simple math problems, according to Academy Director Jennifer Bauer. Teachers work with the children to identify similarities and differences within a group of objects. Children in the four-year-old preschool classes will practice writing skills by writing their names and simple words. They’ll learn the importance of keeping the earth clean and how to recycle at school and home, she said.

Starting in the fall, the school will have a full-time kindergarten.

Lunches and snacks are provided, and the children eat family-style.

“We believe that when children and teachers eat together, they share knowledge and stories,” Bauer said. “They talk about whatever is on their minds and learn from each other.”

The Kiddie Academy program is called Life Essentials®, and consists of four components: developmentally appropriate curriculum, technology education, health and fitness, and character education.

Curriculum is based on best practices and integrates fun into the learning process, Bauer said. The Kiddie Acadmy preschool curriculum meets or exceeds the early childhood state standards nationwide, she said.

Technology is used by teachers during instruction, Bauer said. Classrooms may be equipped with tablets, computers and interactive whiteboards at appropriate levels for the children. Further, streaming video can be used by parents to stay connected with their child’s day. The Tadpoles communication portal helps teachers send daily reports summarizing the children’s activities.

Health and fitness are a part of each day in the form of meals, exercise and developing healthy personal habits, Bauer said.

“There’s ample playground time, screen-time guidance, and our meals and developed with licensed nutritionists to meet the nutritional needs of growing children,” she said. “We focus on teaching children how to stay healthy by making good food choices, incorporating physical exercise and maintaining healthy personal habits every day.”

Character education is woven into daily experiences. Teachers provide children with a solid foundation of skills and knowledge that will help them become successful students and citizens, Bauer said, incorporating responsibility, appreciation, humor and compassion into their lives.

Music and S.T.E.M. are also incorporated into lessons.

“S.T.E.M. stands for science, technology, engineering, and math,” Bauer said. “The children use their senses, study plants and animals, and learn about the human body and the weather. They learn about patterns, numbers, time and money. They also learn about building things and taking them apart. S.T.E.M. is infused throughout the Life Essentials® curriculum.”

A typical day at the academy involves play time, outdoor time, calendar time, and a song. Hands are washed before meals and snacks, and time is set aside for resting. Instruction is performed in an age-appropriate way, with manipulatives, circle time and learning centers.

“Early childhood development is critical, which prepares your child for school,” Bauer said. “Our goal is to educate your child for life, which is what separates Kiddie Academy from traditional child care. Care and learning should go hand in hand, but the two should always be balanced with a big dose of fun.”

Kiddie Academy is located at 350 Main Road/Route 202, Montville. For more information about Kiddie Academy, click here or call 973-917-3220. The academy will be sponsoring a CampVentures event on Saturday, April 1 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. The CampVentures summer camp program, for children 2 to 12 years, reinforces what your child has learned in school. To register for the CampVentures free event on April 1, click: Register