Goddard School Opens Darien Location
The school, which will serve students from 6-weeks-old to preschool age, opened Jan. 2.
A grand opening party will be held at the school Saturday, Feb. 9, starting at 9 a.m. A ribbon-cutting will be featured at 9:30, and there will also be music, balloons and children's acitivities.
The Goddard School is also celebrating 25 years of its schools, so bring your children to help make birthday cards for the school—for every card made, Goddard will donate $1 to the Ronald McDonald House.
The school will serve about 140 students from infancy through preschool with a curriculum that owners Michael and Margaret Petrucelli said emphasizes individuality and nurtures all aspects of child development.
“Parents can have the comfort and warmth and security and knowledge that their children are going to be in a happy, fun, safe environment,” Margaret Petrucelli said.
The couple began exploring options for their own business when they moved back to Margaret’s hometown of Oak Brook about two years ago. After looking into yogurt shops and other school franchises, they decided on Goddard because of its track record as a proven business model. (There are about 400 Goddard School locations across the U.S.)
Play—as well as flexibility—is central to Goddard’s curriculum, Michael Petrucelli said. Teachers develop their own lesson plans that prepare students for local elementary schools while responding to the kids’ interests. Subjects taught will include everything from yoga to Mandarin Chinese.
“If the class likes dinosaurs, the teacher can say, ‘This week we’re doing more on dinosaurs,'” Michael said.
The classes will also focus on helping build social skills with structured play that’s designed to teach. Students will spend at least two periods a day outdoors, weather permitting, and all age groups will have a naptime.
Parents will receive an activity report every single day. For infants, that report will cover when the child ate, slept and had diaper changes. Older kids’ reports will review what happened in the classroom.
“Now parents can have engaging conversations with their children about what they learned that day,” Michael said.
Two to three teachers will instruct preschool classes that max out at 20 students each. The infant programs will each have one staff member for every four babies.
The Petrucellis, whose backgrounds are in banking and finance, will be on site every day overseeing business operations, while a director of education will manage teachers and curriculum. After a year, the school will have the option of adding full-day kindergarten to their roster of offerings.
“This is going to be our life,” Michael said. “This is what we’re going to do.”
Editor's note: This article originally appeared June 13, 2012, when the school was planning its opening.