Nov. 4, 2019 Sponsored Story
A new daycare center that offers state-of-the-art facilities for children ages 3 months to 5 years has recently opened.
Bright Start Child Learning Center, a Queens based early childhood development company, opened the new facility at 47-09 5th St. The company serves residents of the rapidly-growing communities of Astoria and Long Island City.
The opening of this facility marks the third daycare center for Bright Start, which has two sites in Astoria — at 30-11 21st St. and 23-88 31st St. The first two centers opened in 2015 and 2016 respectively.
Nancy Song, who serves as the company’s executive director, said the expansion into Long Island City fulfills a long-sought goal.
“We are so excited to have finally opened our first center in Long Island City,” Song said. “Parents we know in the area have been asking us to open here for years, which we had always dreamed about.”
Song said that dream became a reality thanks in part to years of returning satisfied parents and staff from Bright Start’s first two locations. She said their support–coupled with the company’s focus on quality childhood development at an affordable rate–has kept enrollment high enough for them to expand.
Bright Start’s 5th Street center measures 4,000 square feet and features six classrooms, a gym with padded-flooring, a reception area for parents and all-day “stroller parking.”
The classrooms are divided by age group, with separate sets of rooms dedicated for infants (3-to-12 months old), toddlers (1-to-2 years old), preschool (2-to-3 years old) and pre-K (4-to-5 years old) students.
Although other daycare centers may provide similar classroom arrangements, Song said that the difference at Bright Start can be found in the experienced instructors they hire.
“Many parents know that there are basic qualifications that the city mandates for daycare hiring, but we go above and beyond those requirements to hire both highly-qualified and highly-experienced instructors,” Song said.
For example, Bright Start’s infant class in Long Island City is currently led by a teacher with more than 15 years of experience working with 3-to-12 month old children. In the toddler class, an instructor with more than 7 years of experience teaching 2-to-3 year old kids can be found leading the room.
Both instructors have previously worked under Bright Start at the company’s other locations. They are also responsible for training new hires in many aspects.
“Anyone could have a state of the art facility, but at the end of the day the most important assets we have are our teachers,” Song said. “That is why we provide new employees with this type of peer-guided training on company culture so that they can really enjoy working here.”
One highlight at Bright Start is the company’s ongoing effort to distance itself from being seen as a “drop off” center. Song said the center tries to accomplish this by providing kids with a complete childhood development program that incorporates play into an educationally-rich set of classes all day long.
“When we meet with prospective parents, we make it clear that we are not babysitters or nannies,” Song said. “Our infants and toddlers engage in fun classes on sensory play, art, music, movement and language development so that they can learn while also exercising their imagination and creative thinking abilities.”
For infants and toddlers, Bright Start offers classes such as Baby Yoga, Music Movement, Chinese, Spanish and Art.
Children are taught new languages by listening to music and singing songs with bilingual instructors. They also engage in sensory play during different lessons in Art class, such as finger painting or by stepping into paint and learning how to create patterns using their footprints.
Meanwhile, Baby Yoga helps infants and toddlers develop fine motor skills in a safe, one-on-one environment with nurturing teachers. Whereas during “Circle Time,” teachers read a book aloud or sing to children while observing how they may or may not be interacting with one another. They then use that observation to pivot the activity in order to encourage social learning between kids in a group environment.
“When you observe children, they will show you what they are paying attention to, whether its what you are teaching them or not. They will show their parents what they have learned during the day, and it makes me very happy when I recognize their movements and language from our classes every single day,” Song said.
Bright Start’s Long Island City center is also enrolling children for preschool and pre-K instruction, whose classes are set to begin as early as December.
Song said she looks forward to being able to offer the same type of preschool and pre-K instruction in Long Island City that made its Astoria centers so attractive. Those classes would include–but are not limited to–Intro to Piano, French and Gifted & Talented (G&T) Prep.
“Last year, we had 10 kids who took the G&T test, and they all passed within the 90th percentile. Five of those students landed within the 95th percentile, and three of them reached into the 99th percentile,” Song proudly shared. “One of those students even got into Q300, one of the most prestigious G&T K-8 schools in New York City.”
She said her experience has shown that parents want to see a program that their kids can grow into, which also provides high quality early childhood education at a reasonable price. Song believes that is what Bright Start Child Learning Center brings to Long Island City.