Infant through Pre-Kindergarten childcare center to open August 2019 in Salmon Creek
VANCOUVER — In August of this year, a second Kiddie Academy location will open in Vancouver, in central Salmon Creek. The 20,000-square-foot facility plans to service families from Felida to Woodland.
“It’s all about just giving parents other choices,” said John Swartz, who is owner and operator of the new Kiddie Academy. “There’s a wide variety of childcare out there. We want to be a resource for parents.”
Kiddie Academy has over 200 locations across the country teaching STEM-based curriculum to children; infants to Pre-Kindergarten and even some school age. The program was founded in 1981, and continues to expand its reach.
The new multi-million-dollar facility in Salmon Creek will be much like its counterpart in Fishers Landing, but with the addition of several new features and capabilities. Age-specific learning areas, secure live streaming video feeds, onsite meals, and an 8,500-square-foot outdoor, artificial turf play area are all part of the design.
“We want to be very competitive, as competitive as we can,” he said. “The whole thing about this school, is really being about community.”
Much of the new location’s mission is to bring new options for childcare to north county. The facility will have the capacity for 150 children from infants to Pre-K, and 30 school age children as well.
Each learning area will be less like a traditional classroom, and more open and inviting Swartz said. Each age level will also have the state required ratio of teachers to students, with some levels going above and beyond, like “pre-toddlers” or “wobblers.”
Due to many of the technological features and desired quality of the teaching staff, tuition for the academy may be higher than some other forms of local childcare. Swartz said that as time progresses and the location develops, scholarship opportunities would be a crucial part of the model.
“That is something that we must do,” he said. “Right now, the resources that the state provides, really ask a provider to take on a substantial burden in terms of discounting the tuition.”
Partnerships with local companies and education providers in the area are expected to bolster the financial assistance effort as well as the quality of service. Swartz said he has even spoken with currently enrolled families who say they would like to sponsor an additional person’s son or daughter in the program.
“One of the things we say at Kiddie Academy is ‘Community Begins Here,’” he said. “And what an awesome example of community in our school.”
Next steps for the facility include hiring a center director and all the teachers, as well as building a relationship with the local schools and school districts. These people will bring unique experiences and skills to the teaching of Kiddie Academy’s curriculum, Schwartz said.
Rooted in the belief that social and emotional learning is equalling important to everything intelectual, the curriculum seeks to aid teachers in explaining age appropriate concepts. Science, technology, engineering, and math, (STEM), is also a critical component to the school’s methods.
Games, assignments and group activities centered around STEM are common place in Kiddie Academy classroom testimonials and videos. The structure aims at jumpstarting children’s education in a relevant way.
For more information on Kiddie Academy Salmon Creek, or to apply for enrollment, visit their website at www.kiddieacademy.com/vsc.
“We just don’t want to just be a business that transacts,” Swartz said. “We really want to be connected within the education community, and really give kiddos just a wonderful head-start as they begin their education journey.”