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Focus Stories

Kiddie Academy 2019

by Laura Breen Galante

Featured Photo from Kiddie Academy 2019

A focus on the social and emotional growth of its students is what makes Kiddie Academy in Longwood – and coming soon to Sanford-Heathrow – so different.

“I’ve been involved in early-childhood education for 16 years, and what makes our curriculum super unique is that we have a character education component,” says Esmeralda Garcia, director of Kiddie Academy in Longwood.

In addition to a fantastic, well-rounded educational plan with developmentally appropriate academic activities, Kiddie Academy also emphasizes social and emotional instruction, which is so important at the preschool age.

“Having that built into the curriculum in a very purposeful manner is amazing,” Esmeralda says. “As a teacher, I would have to build that in myself.”

The character education component focuses on teachable moments and gives Kiddie Academy teachers specific things to look for throughout the day. With younger children, the curriculum combines those teachable moments with physical activities. For older preschoolers, teachers can combine the character lesson with a specific academic topic.

“If we’re talking about respect, the class might read a book together about how to respect each other, and they can assimilate those concrete ideas,” explains Esmeralda. “It includes big conduct skills that you don’t always think to discuss with little children – responsibility, respect, compassion, and cooperation.”

Spanish, sign language, technology, health and fitness, and music are also woven into the academics and character education at Kiddie Academy.

“If we’re learning about honesty, we might learn a Spanish word for honesty, or the sign for truth,” says Esmeralda.
A family-friendly culture also separates Kiddie Academy from other schools.

“You’re bringing your children to a place that is love, that is part of your extended family you can trust,” Esmeralda says.
Want more to love? Kiddie Academy is expanding with a new location near I-4 and State Road 46 this summer.

“We love our families very much, and because our families love us so much, we were able to open up a second location to better serve the community in a different area,”says Esmeralda.

Owners Ted and Hilda Cockram have chosen a location that affords them the opportunity to build a new school from the ground up.

“Everything you see in that center is going to be straight from their hearts – all their ideas,” explains Esmeralda. “We’re really excited. It’s an honor to look after the little hearts of our students and hand them back the same, if not better.”

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