VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
HERE'S A NEW ADDITIONto the stores and restaurants located in Boardman.
Jungle gyms peak out from over a wooden fence at the Goddard School nestled behind Perkins Family Restaurant on Boardman Poland Road.
The Goddard School, 7203 Bristlewood Drive, will offer preschool for children between the ages of 6 weeks and 6 years starting Monday. The school offers flexible schedules, including full and half days Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.
The 8,000-square-foot building can accommodate about 130 children.
The number of pupils in each classroom will depend on the number enrolled but will not exceed state guidelines, said owner Kimberly Lipari.
Children will be divided into classrooms depending on their ages. The school offers rooms for infants and toddlers, preschool classes for 3- and 4-year-olds and a pre-kindergarten classroom.
There are two playgrounds at the school, which are also set up for children in different age groups.
Lipari said the floor of the playground uses a material that is soft like sand so there is not the choking hazard of other playgrounds that use mulch.
Lipari said the school follows the philosophy of Jean Piaget, a French developmental psychologist, who believed that children develop in stages and learn through play.
Play is incorporated into the classroom through monthly themes to which the children can relate, such as family and community.
Lipari said the school has a "child first" policy that makes sure a child is not forced to participate in any activity..
She added that positive direction and positive reinforcement are used as disciplinary means.
Teachers also involve parents as much as they can. One way this is done is through reports teachers fill out every day for parents. The teacher will write something about each area of study and a personal note about something special the child did that day.
"Parents can use this to discuss the child's day," Lipari said, adding that talking to children about their days increases their language skills and makes parents a part of their child's day.
Parents can also visit children during their lunch breaks if they want.
Goddard schools emphasize the continued development of teachers through additional training at Goddard University, which is fully accredited by the International Association for Continuing Education and operated by Goddard Systems Inc.
Lipari said most teachers have a degree in early childhood education. Other teachers that work for Goddard schools might have two years of early childhood education classes.
Lipari added that the school has child development associates who can take half of their early childhood education classes at the Goddard University for free. The other half can be taken at a local university.
The Goddard School has several practices that ensure the safety of the children enrolled.
For example, if someone besides a parent is to pick up the child, the person must show a photo ID and give a password at the door.
Although the school has an open-door policy, Lipari said visitors are "buzzed in for safety and security."
The Goddard School also sends representatives to the school on unannounced dates for quality assurance, which assesses health and safety policies and procedures.
The Goddard School charges tuition based on the program parents choose. Parents can choose from programs that are two to five full or half days.
The Goddard School is a nationwide franchise of Goddard Systems Inc. based in King of Prussia, Pa. There are more than 180 schools nationwide with more than 24,000 children enrolled.
Parents can call Lipari at (330) 965-0599 if they would like a tour of the building; however, an appointment is not necessary.