Rainbow Academy, an early education and child care center, will open in Manalapan Township this spring within the Towne Pointe Shopping Plaza on Route 9 South.
The Director of the Rainbow Academy in Manalapan, Kristen Frank, of Toms River, has worked in this business for almost eight years and is passionate about working with children. Frank is a certified teacher with a degree in Psychology who was the Assistant Director of the Rainbow Academy in Manasquan. There are 14 Rainbow Academy locations throughout New Jersey, but this is one of the first franchises of the business to open.
Rainbow Academy takes children from six weeks old up through pre-kindergarten. Some Rainbow Academy locations offer kindergarten and Frank said that if she finds that there is a need for a kindergarten at the Manalapan location they will certainly offer it.
“A lot of school districts that have a half day program, working parents have no accommodations for that so they would rather pay for a private kindergarten program and have it being full day care also,” Frank explained.
Another option that the Manalapan location may look into is creating an after-school program where the local bus system can transport the children from the Early Learning Center to Rainbow Academy for after-care, which is something Rainbow Academy offers at several of their other locations.
The school follows a structured curriculum which meets all of the required guidelines of public schools. Sign Language is taught in all of the Rainbow Academy classrooms starting in the infant program and up through the higher grades. Spanish is also taught throughout all of the school years, according to Frank. Other classes such as Reading Readiness, Musical Beginnings, and a Handwriting without Tears Program are also provided.
The children get to blow off steam and work on their motor skills at the schools' indoor and outdoor gymnasiums. The outdoor playground has fake grass in order to reduce allergies and has water fountains that spray in the warmer months for water play.
Frank said that Manalapan is the ideal location for a new Rainbow Academy because it is not within a 30 minute radius of another location and the community is extremely residential.
The adjacent commuter parking lot to Towne Point Plaza also helps make it a perfect location for a child care center because parents can drop off and pick up their children on their way, to and from, work, Frank said. The school also has extended hours from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. to accommodate those parents with a long commute.
“We are the solution for working parents,” Frank said. “We completely understand that both parents are working nowadays, more often than not, and we want to keep them as connected to their children as possible.”
Rainbow Academy has a lot of tech-savvy solutions for busy parents to check on their children. Parents can log on to the school’s Parent Monitoring System and see their child throughout the day while they are at work or at home. Frank said that they even have some parents who are in the military and log on to see their child while they are overseas.
Another technological way for parents to keep informed is through Rainbow Academy’s Tadpoles program. Every teacher has an iPod and they can take pictures and video of the children and email them to the parents or the parents can receive them through a special application on their smartphone. This way when a special moment occurs during the day the teacher can capture it and send it to the parent within a matter of minutes.
Rainbow Academy also utilizes technology for the children as well with whiteboards in all of the classrooms and iPads for the children to use starting in preschool.
The business is green and paperless, so all daily reports are sent to parents via email. Daily report breaks down their child’s schedule from the day, including what activities they participated in and what they ate, along with any pictures or videos the teachers created for those parents throughout the day.
With security for children being a hot-button topic lately, Frank said that all Rainbow Academies have fingerprint scanners at the doorway entrance, all other doors are secure and locked, and video surveillance is available in the lobby. The school also practices lock down drills and in case of an emergency all of the children and staff are protected within the indoor gymnasium which is adjacent to the kitchen. Phones are also located within all of the classrooms.
The maximum number of children for any classroom is 23 and the school follows all mandated ratios of staff per child in all of their programs.
While construction is underway, Frank is working out of a temporary office space in Towne Pointe Plaza. For a virtual tour of the facility, click here.
With a projected early spring opening date, enrollment for the Manalapan Rainbow Academy has begun. For more information, please contact Director Kristen Frank at 732.972.1400 or at Kfrank@RainbowAcademy.com.