The Goddard School, which opened May 11 in north Stapleton, is part of a preschool chain with a difference. “Owners are on-site full time to get things done,” said Lance Shimomura, co-owner of the new school with his wife, Michele. “You are leaving your child here, so you want to know that the main point person is available at all times. Nobody needs to call a corporate office somewhere else in order to get something fixed.”
The school serves children from 6 weeks to 5 years old with programs to nurture growth and encourage learning. “We have room for up to 130 children,” said Shimomura. “We started enrolling last fall and right now our infant and toddler classes are full with wait lists. We have room for preschoolers and pre-kindergarten with no wait lists.”
The school will have up to 24 teachers when it’s at full capacity, Shimomura said. “The faculty is growing as enrollment grows. We’re ramping up to two teachers in each classroom and five more support teachers to fill in. Our two directors also work in the classrooms.”
The new 8,000-square-foot Goddard School, across Northfield Blvd. northeast of Macy’s, is one of 420 individually owned franchises in the U.S. The facility has eight classrooms, offices and a large playroom, as well as a playground. “We searched for a site for over a year,” Shimomura said. “It had to be right. It’s not easy to find an acre of open land in Denver right now. It turns out that Forest City’s master plan slated this site for a preschool. So we’re pleased to be in Stapleton.”
A grand opening celebration, June 13 from 11am to 1pm, is open to the community. Tours and lunch will be provided, as well as activities for kids.
The Shimomuras have three children who attend Goddard School: a 4-year-old boy and 20-month-old twin girls. Finding childcare for their son led to their involvement in the Goddard School.
“The trigger was we were looking for a high-quality preschool,” Shimomura said. “They are hard to find. We were introduced to a few but there were wait lists. We realized there’s a high demand for high-quality preschools.”
Goddard schools met their requirements. “It’s not daycare, where they just change diapers. It’s a school with a structure and a curriculum that hires professional educators.”
The founding principle of The Goddard School’s curriculum, according to their website, is that children experience the deepest, most genuine learning when they are having fun. “I see my son having fun and his attention is involved,” Shimomura said. “Parents can’t always see it, but the teachers are applying a lesson plan. Having fun builds the kids’ interest and self-esteem, and keeps them excited about coming to school. Looking at his daily activity reports makes it clear that he’s learning and putting the pieces together.”
Goddard’s educational framework focuses on seven learning areas: personal and social; math; science and technology; language; physical development; creativity; and social studies. Children are guided through age-appropriate activities by highly trained teachers. Shimomura said tuition costs are competitive with other preschools in the area.
“Hiring passionate, professional educators is key,” Shimomura said. “Parents will seek us out because of how good our teachers are.”
Goddard’s two-week summer camps begin June 8. “Sessions concentrate on different subjects and are a la carte, to fit family vacation schedules,” Shimomura said.
The Goddard School’s hours are 7am to 6pm. Find them at 4901 N. Wabash St., 720.943.0672 or goddardschool.com.