-If you're a parent looking for a top-notch childcare facility, the Goddard School is an option you should consider. I'm Julie O'Claire with Parents TV here at the Goddard School in Norwood, New Jersey. Well, we'll be speaking with Joe Schumacher, the COO of Goddard Systems, and we'll take a tour of the school to find out why it's a great place for early childhood education. Joe? -Hi, Julie. Joe Schumacher. -Nice to meet you. -Nice to meet you. -So we're at the Norwood, New Jersey Goddard School-- -That's correct. -but there are many? -There are 300. Next month, we'll open our 300th school. -Congratulations. -Thank you very much. -That's fantastic. Tell me about the Goddard School. How did it come about? -Well, the Goddard School is an owner-operated chain of-- as I-- as I said 300 preschools. And we were founded in 1988 to fill a need for high quality child care in the United States. -And I know Dr. Pruett is your adviser? -That's correct. -He's been since 1998, right? -That's correct. -What is it like to have him as an adviser? I know he's, you know, a fantastic doctor. -Oh, it's wonderful. Dr. Pruett is an internationally-recognized authority on child development and he works very, very closely with us, helping us with our curriculum and our program to make sure that it's developmentally appropriate, up-to-date, and centered on the child. -Tell me about the curriculum and how it differs from that of a public school. -Well, we're a preschool so we're six weeks to six years and our teachers use developmental guidelines to prepare individualized lesson plans for the students in their classrooms. So, everything is aimed at the particular students in the particular classroom. -What makes the Goddard School special? -Well, it's a loving, nurturing environment. We focus on the whole child so we look at cognitive development, social development, physical and emotional development. -Tell me about your teachers and the process you have to select them. -Well, we look for a combination of education, experience working with young children and professionalism that pervades the entire Goddard organization. We also have at our home office in suburban Philadelphia, Goddard Systems University, and that provides ongoing, regular training for our teachers and the education directors both at our headquarters and throughout the country. -Why should parents send their children to the Goddard School? -Well, at first, it's a very safe and secure environment. We have a very stringent quality assurance program that focuses on the safety, security, and health of the children while they're here. And it's also-- it's a great, fun environment where kids can be happy, make friends, and develop a lifelong love of learning. -All right. Let's see some of those happy kids. -Sure. -Can you take me on a tour? -Sure. Yeah. I'd like to introduce you to the owner of this school, Ada Vassallo. -Let's go. -She's in the Pre-K classroom. Hi, Ada. -Hello. -Julie, this is Ada Vassallo, -Hi. -Nice to finally meet you. -the owner of this school. -Nice to meet you. -And you're gonna take us on a tour? -Yeah. Gonna take the tour. -You're in good hands. -Joe, thank you so much. -Okay. Bye-bye. -Okay. -Thank you. -So tell me about your classroom. -This is one of our nine classrooms. This classroom is our Pre-K classroom and the children in here are four. Next year, they'll be heading out to kindergarten. -What's a typical day like for these kids? -The typical day is they start with their circle time and they move to different centers of the classroom, two to three groups at a time. During the course of the day, the children are exposed to the curriculum that Goddard provides as well as the curriculum in the nearby schools, the Northern Valley or the [unk] Valley area. So children are exposed to the kindergarten curriculum including [unk] words and reading. -And this is lunchtime, I take it? -Yes, this is lunchtime. Our students, from 12:00 to about 12:30. -Notes go home-- -Yes. -and you're taking specific notes here about lunch-- -Right. -and what the kids eat. So the parents really get a sense of what-- -They do. -happened during the day. -They do. They get a sense of what they did as far as the curriculum during the day. There's always a special message regarding their day, as well as Miss Kit and Miss Louise will write down the amount of food that they consumed, whether it be snack, lunch, or PM snack, as well as nap and sunscreen applied. -That's good to know 'cause as a mom, these are things you can never really-- -Yes. -find out from your kids. -Yes. Yes. -And I see no uniforms. -No uniforms. -Isn't that sort of protocol? -No. One of our-- -It's personal-- -philosophies is that our children are pretty independent. -Uh huh. -We have them picking shoes, what they like to do, and it creates a sense of independence for our children. -Okay. All right. Let's move. Show me the rest of the school. -Sure. -All right. -I'd love to. -Take a tour. So tell me how many teachers you have per student. What's the ratio? -The ratio depends on the state ratio, depending on the classroom. In this classroom, the ratio is one to six. -One to six? -Uh huh. -So we've got younger kids in here in this classroom napping? -Yes. Naptime. These children are 24 to 30 months. Naptime just starts about 1:00. These children get a little bit tired a little bit before that so they're starting to rest. -So at any given time, in all these classrooms, something different is going on? -Yes. Yes. Between 1:00 and 3:00, it's universal throughout the whole school that the children do rest. And then after 3:00, they resume on their activities throughout the course of the day. -And what's the length of the day? -We open from 7:00 to 6:00 so the parents have the option to drop off as early as 7:00 and pick up as late as 6:00. -Okay. -I like the philosophy, you learn as you play. And even when you're fourteen months old, you're still learning when you're playing. And now that she's four, it's even more emphasized. -So you have little babies too. -Yes. -Tell me what the philosophy is here about caring to the little ones. We can take a look in as we talk about it. -The children in here, their age group is six weeks to about 12 months. They do-- We have the same philosophy. Of course, their schedule is based on their individual schedule and based on their needs. But they do follow the same philosophy in learning through play-- you'll see our projects on the wall-- as well as activities throughout the course of the day. -Let's check out the gym. How often are the kids here in the gym? -The kids come in once a day, sometimes it could be in the morning, sometimes in the afternoon. -Uh huh. -But they are exposed to the physical fitness room every day, as young as six weeks, all the way up to the Pre-K classroom. -And as a parent, if I wanted to stop in to see my child during the day, is that permitted? -Absolutely. We welcome it anytime. We don't restrict what time you should come in. We actually welcome it. -Why did you choose the Goddard School? -You know, there's a lot of childcare facilities out there and one of the items that my wife and I really had to weigh the decision on is there are childcare facilities where-- the Goddard School is exactly that, it's a school. And we felt that it would provide our child with the proper learning and proper education and foundation that he can build upon. -So is this school similar to the other Goddard Schools around the country? -It is. Each school has their own uniqueness to their facility. Colorful, bright classrooms are universal throughout the other schools as well. -And I see colorful, bright playgrounds. I would imagine the kids are spending a lot of time out here [unk]. -Yes, they do. They spend twice a day. One in the afternoon and that's an extension of their curriculum and their program that they do throughout the course of the day. We do provide our-- include our base program outside so the children do have exposure to that based on the curriculum that's provided to them during the day. -Julie, thanks very much for visiting the Goddard School. It's great to meet you. -Joe, Ada, thank you so much-- -Thank you. -for having me. -Pleasure having you. -What a beautiful facility you have and what a great option for parents who are considering early childhood education. -Wonderful. -It really is.