FORT LEE, N.J. — Jinah Choi and J.R. Pacheco talked about a lot as the 158 bus wound its way up River Road from Port Authority in New York City to its final destination in Fort Lee.
The friends, who were studying early childhood education together at New York University, discussed homework, family and their shared dream to one day open a preschool of their own.
After four years of bus rides, they realized they had more than a friendship.
"He would always talk to me about the stuff he would do on the weekends with his kid nieces and nephews and I thought that he would probably be a really great father," Choi, now Jinah Pacheco, told Daily Voice.
The couple started dating in 2007 and by 2009 they were reciting their wedding vows.
Now, after two kids and ten years working together as preschool consultants in Manhattan, the couple is realizing their shared dream with Genesis Preschool & Academy on Anderson Avenue in Fort Lee.
"We had been looking for a preschool for a few months for our own kids and when we couldn't find what we were looking for we realized we should just do what we have always been talking about doing," said Pacheco, 35, who bought the preschool from the previous owner with J.R., 37, in March.
The couple wants to model their school after the preschool programs they worked with in Manhattan.
"A lot of the places around here are very similar whereas places in the city are progressive and use more modern teaching methodologies," Pacheco explained.
To be a more progressive, the Pacheco's train their teachers to work with special needs kids and offer therapy for students, workshops for parents and tutoring programs.
"Our approach to instruction is differentiated so students with varying abilities are able to learn and and take away objectives from lessons more effectively," Pacheco said.
When renovations on the 5,000 square-foot facility are completed in July, Pacheco said the preschool will be as good as any program offered in New York.
"We wanted to make a place that we would bring our own kids to," Pacheco said. "I think we have that with Genesis."
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