Innovative teaching at Bright Beginnings Learning Center and Daycare

Enhancements, summer program set at Newfoundland center

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  • Music is taught to kids at Bright Beginnings.

  • Children participate in art and athletic fun.

“Bright Beginnings offers a safe and caring environment for all children. We have certified teachers, well trained staff, age appropriate and developmentally appropriate curriculum and materials.”
Amy Kistler, director of Bright Beginnings Learning Center


Bright Beginnings Learning Center, located at 65 LaRue Road at the United Methodist Church of Newfoundland, follows the "Creative Curriculum," a hands-on, center-based curriculum focused on the children learning by doing and fostering independence appropriate for each age level, according to Director Amy Kistler. It also incorporates the Spark Christian Curriculum into their preschool lesson plans through the use of simple Bible stories - treating them the same as any other book, with lessons embedded into the daily routine. Although there is a Christian base to this learning center, it serves children of all faiths, and the lessons taught are geared to reflect that.

“Since we cater to children of all faiths, we are very sensitive to not make this the focus, but to make sure we teach children the value of being a good person,” said Kistler.

Bright Beginnings offers a variety of programs on weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., for children ages six weeks to five years old. Classes are categorized by age:

Infants - six weeks to 18 months

Toddlers - 18 months to three years

Preschool - 3 and 4 years old
Pre-K - 4 to 5 years old.

Parents are able to select from half-day and full-day programs for any number of days per week that suit their needs, as well as before and after care. The Center also offers busing, provided through the West Milford School District, to and from Paradise Knoll Elementary School for before and after care for children ages five and up.

Programs such as music, art, and karate are currently available to students as an option for an additional fee. Kistler said the Center anticipates being able to offer physical fitness, art and music to all students included in their regular tuition in the fall.

“There are many more exciting plans in the works for Bright Beginnings- hiring Amy (Kistler) is just the start,” said Sharon Gray, president of the Board of Directors of the United Methodist Church of Newfoundland in a statement on the church’s Web site.

Kistler has a bachelor’s degree in special education, a certification in teaching reading, and a master's degree in Early Childhood Administration and Family Studies, as well as “a wealth of knowledge and experience in early childhood education and child development” and a “love of working with all ages of children,” according to the Center's statement.

New programs coming

Kistler said she hopes to add programs in the future to enhance the skills of their special needs students, as well as a social skills group for children struggling in social situations. These groups will be run by Kistler, a certified special education teacher, a certified occupational therapist and a certified PROMPT speech and language pathologist. Kistler said these groups will also be open to the public. Details for these programs will be available soon on the Center’s Facebook page: “Bright Beginnings Learning Center and Daycare” and their Web site.

For little ones, Kistler said she looks forward to adding a “Mommy and Me” and a “Wiggles and Giggles” class in the fall.

“We continue to look for new programs to offer our students, both the preschool age and after care students," said Kistler. "We hope to offer more quality programs that get their bodies moving and their minds working in a fun and creative way.”

Summer fun for kids

Bright Beginnings holds a summer camp for children ages 3 to 11 called, "Investigate Your Imagination!" The camp runs for eight weeks, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Families can choose half-day or full-day camp for two, three or five days per week.

“Our camp is a hands on, investigation-based program where kids become the investigators on the world around them," said Kistler. "They will be a part of investigating and exploring the great outdoors, wood, rocks, boxes, ants, just to name a few. They will learn how all of these things work together in their world, what we can make with them, how they are important to the children, and the children will be able to use their own creativity and imagination to work with the materials provided and collected.”

For registration forms and information on pricing for the summer camp and for the fall, go to the Bright Beginnings Web site, or their Facebook page. Or call Kistler at 973-874-0493.

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West Milford, NJ