RANDOLPH, NJ - As she approaches her sixth year as owner of The Academy Preschool and Kindergarten, a TAPinto.net advertiser, Andrea Wesolowski remains sure she did the right thing when she took the plunge and bought the school.
“It is a labor of love,” said Wesolowski. “We make a difference in children’s lives. And at the end of the day that’s what really matters.”
Wesolowski fell in love with The Academy and its mission when she first ventured through its doors. She knew, pretty much right away, she would have a place there. “I wanted to be part of The Academy’s future,” she recalled.
She started as a parent, but soon became The Academy’s enrichment teacher. Then she took over the successful Wiggles *n* Giggles program and ultimately she became the owner.
The school has been a treasured spot for Randolph and local area children since 1985. This September will mark its sixth year under Wesolowski's ownership.
Serving children ages 2½- to 6-years old, The Academy offers a wide variety of unique programming. Positive testimonials from parents are easy to find.
Before choosing The Academy for her children, Randolph resident Carole Schachter heard great things from friends in town about the school, she said. After having two of her children attend The Academy, she is now the one telling others of her great experience.
“We were welcomed with open arms, and immediately felt the warm, friendly environment,” Schachter said. “The teachers were wonderful at assessing each child, challenging them to their capabilities and making them all feel special and unique.”
Many families involved with The Academy come back to visit and, like Schachter, they never seem to forget their experience at the school. Some, such as Wesolowski and the school’s Director Judy Crystal, made it part of their livelihood.
Crystal has been with The Academy through three owners and said she couldn’t be happier about the decision she made to start working there 12 years ago. “Everything else just goes away when I walk through that door in the morning,” she said. “The children put a smile on my face every day.”
Crystal and Wesolowski said the consistency of the staff makes a huge difference for the school. The same teachers continue to come back year after year, which creates stability and fosters strong relationships for the young students.
A big strength of The Academy is the teacher to student ratio of one teacher to every six students. This allows for individualized education and makes the school special. “The low teacher to student ratio, the low turnover rate and the quality of our teachers is what really sets us apart,” said Crystal.
Parents choose from a variety of offerings, including half-day and full-day programs, with morning and afternoon sessions available. Educational goals are achieved through a system that combines language skills and an understanding of math concepts along with art, music, science and gross motor activities. The risk-free structured environment of the classroom fosters independence. In addition to structured, teacher-directed, activity times, there are also times for children to play independently.
The school also gets involved in many community service programs to teach children there is a bigger world out there, one that needs everybody’s help. Schachter feels these programs are a great example for the students. “What a great way to show our kids that anyone can give and help, no matter how small they may be,” she said.
Aside from the preschool, The Academy’s Kindergarten program is exemplary. Many parents decide to “hold back” their younger children in school and to give them a transitional Kindergarten year.
From the Wiggles *n* Giggles program to the Pre-School and Kindergarten programs, The Academy strives to give children a strong foundation not only for school but for life in general, said Wesolowski.
Schachter said she couldn’t be happier with what her children took away from their years at the school. “They gave my kids the foundation of their education,” she said. “They taught them how to be good friends … to help others ... to have compassion for those less fortunate … and to be thankful and blessed for what they have. As parents, we are proud and blessed to have been a part of their community.”
Crystal said the staff members of the Academy put their hearts and souls into their work and they enjoy their profession. “We are all here because we want to be here, not because we have to be here,” she stressed.
Check out The Academy’s website for more information.