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Fort Lee Daycare Bridges Needs Between Parent, Child

A Lightbridge Academy teacher and child share a high five.
A Lightbridge Academy teacher and child share a high five. Photo Credit: Lightbridge Academy

FORT LEE, N.J. — Lightbridge Academy opening in Fort Lee is quick to point out how they differ from what most people imagine an early education center to be.

"The term daycare is used interchangeably with a babysitting service," Center Director Erika Cuellar said. "That's not us."

The Academy is already established in Mahwah, Fair Lawn, Westwood, Rutherford and Paramus. It is finalizing construction at Fort Lee, but has begun tours for parents interested in alleviating the life-consuming responsibilities of child care.

"The needs of working parents are just as important as the child," Cuellar said.

Keeping working mothers in mind, Lightbridge accepts children as young as six-weeks old. The academy has an infant education program that introduces children to ABCs and 123s, but also other skills like sign language.

According to Cuellar, some parents are unable to pop in to daycare centers during work but they still worry about their child's well-being.

And so, Lightbridge has several cameras inside the academy that parents (or grand parents) can stream from their phone or computer to check in.

The academy is open to all children, there's no exam required, and the curriculum is tooled to work with different types of learners.

"For that child that likes to get elbow deep in mud, we have that for them. Then we have the child that doesn't want to do that but loves to build," Cuellar said. "We're able to touch on every child's skill level and what they naturally gravitate to."

Lightbridge Academy's new center is based in Fort Lee, but Cuellar said the center wants to work with the surrounding towns by bringing kids to community events.

"Englewood, Edgewater, Leonia and Teaneck are our surrounding towns. It's not just because we're in Fort Lee that it's only Fort Lee we want to give back to," Cuellar said.

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