EAST BRUNSWICK– Becoming the latest institution to join the East Brunswick educational community, Lightbridge Academy has opened one of its newest locations just in time for the fall.
Established in 1997, Lightbridge Academy provides early education and child care to children ages six weeks through Kindergarten, as well as special programming for children up to 10 years old during school holidays, breaks and summer camp, according to information provided by the academy.
The company franchised in 2011 and currently has more than 100 child care centers either open, under construction or in development throughout Florida, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia, according to the academy.
Lightbridge Academy opened Aug. 17 at 168 Milltown Road in East Brunswick.
Lightbridge Academy President and COO Gigi Schweikert said the company chose East Brunswick because there is a lot of revitalization, there are a lot of fun activities in the area, and the township has a very engaged and involved community of people.
“It meets our community core values and that means we want to be in a community where we have something called the ‘circle of care,’ where we want to make sure we’re taking care of the parent, we’re taking care of the child … the staff members, the owners and the community.
“Secondly, although there are other centers there, East Brunswick still has lots of children there in that area. So a very fruitful community and we wanted to be a part of that as well,” she said.
At its newest location, Schweikert said the academy can facilitate about 180 children during summertime and holiday break from school, school-aged children for summer camp and/or when other schools are not open and children can come to the facility.
“In fact, right now because it’s a bit erratic with what’s happening with the public school system, we’re going to be offering support for families to bring their school-aged children to us and help them go through that virtual day to do their work,” Schweikert said,” so that those parents who are working from home have the opportunity to get their work done as their children do their schoolwork.”
Unlike public schools, Schweikert said all Lightbridge Academy facilities stay open year-round.
All staff are trained in CPR and first aid.
With state-mandated school social distancing and health safety standards continuing to change due to the COVID-19 crisis, Schweikert said the academy’s intention is to be in person 100% of the time unless something changes with the government.
“Many of our centers were open for essential workers during that time,” Schweikert said. “In serving those who are most vulnerable, like those who are working in the hospital, on the front lines, who are working in grocery stores and other places, we did not have any issue …”
Being in industry that serves young children, Schweikert said the academy has always been very concerned about contagion, sanitation and cleanliness.
“We’ve been washing hands, checking temperatures, sanitizing toys and doing deep cleaning throughout the day and every night, always before COVID-19. So, that’s just what we do and we do it really well,” Schweikert said. “Now we just have extra eyes on that, we’re limiting their group sizes, and obviously keeping the same teachers with the same children. So those types of things are really helping us to be safe and available.
“We have an air scrubber filtration system that we installed [and] is being installed in the majority of our centers, and will be installed in all of our centers eventually. That actually is cleaning the air, which I think is is really important,” Schweikert said. “Everyone’s getting a temperature check before they come in. No one is allowed in the center unless it’s a staff member or a child.”
Knowing that many parents may find it difficult not being able to enter the center, Schweikert said the academy has created a program called Parent View where parents can observe from any device on cameras and see what’s going on in their child’s classroom at any time.
“I can tell you it is so amazing, it’s amazing that grandparents can tune in … to see their grandchildren if they’re across the country. We had a grandfather one time who called the home office to let us know his grandson’s shoe was untied,” Schweikert said. “We were able to find the center and take care of that. It really helps us see the parents be the eyes and ears of the center as well so that we can always monitor to make sure it’s safe.”
For more information about Lightbridge Academy, visit www.LightbridgeAcademy.com or call 732-980-1900, ext. 199.
Contact Vashti Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org.