Dear Imagine Community,
I am reaching out as I know we are all struggling with sadness and anger over the senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Brionna Taylor and many people of color before, indicative of the deep social injustices that prevail in our society. We support the peaceful protests against these injustices. We are also deeply saddened by the violence and destruction that has occurred in some communities. We are left with the question of what to tell our children.
Imagine takes very seriously the responsibility to teach the children in our care the valuable lessons of empathy, kindness, equality and diversity. It is at the very core of our Kids for Kids curriculum. We are immensely proud that our children, families and staff at Imagine hail from a myriad of countries and cultures, practice a variety of religions and family traditions, speak a host of different languages, and love each other openly and freely in many forms of family structures. We are also appreciative of our essential worker, military and first responder parents and family members of our employees who keep us safe, acting with compassion and respect for the communities they serve. Imagine endeavors to help our children to understand and embrace the world around them. We want to guide them to be caring, interested global citizens, to share easily and support one another. We want them to know they can help build a better tomorrow.
We are actively working to enhance our Kids for Kids platform in response to current events. We know we have a responsibility to address the unrest happening around us with our children as well as our staff and families at Imagine. It is our deep commitment to ensure all of you feel valued, heard and safe in our school environments.
Our open door policy at Imagine has always been an integral part of our relationship with families and staff. We are here to listen, learn and collaborate. We encourage your input and feedback. We are gathering information from resources including our licensing agency, the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, our program partner the Department of Education, and our accrediting body the National Association for the Education of Young Children. Please see a short list of resources below just to start, including a link to a virtual Sesame Street Town Hall: “Coming Together: Standing Up to Racism. A CNN/Sesame Street Town Hall for Kids and Families” scheduled for this Saturday, June 6th at 10 am.
A great example of how to speak to the children about the unrest took place at our Newark site this week. When a child came into school talking about George Floyd, teachers Audrey Clayton and Traci Pittman spoke to him and said “It’s never OK to put your hands on anyone. It’s OK for you to be mad or upset because of what happened to George Floyd. What happened to George Floyd was not nice and we should never treat anyone like that. Not everyone is bad, including police officers. Demonstrations are good and are done by good people. Riots, looting, and stealing are not good choices. Destruction of the neighborhood is not a good way to protest”. Thank you, Audrey and Traci, for embracing this teachable moment, and helping us to set the path forward.
We look forward to working with you to support the children, and each other through these challenging times, with continued hope and optimism. My best wishes for the health, safety and well-being of our entire Imagine community.
Welcome to Imagine Early Learning Centers!
We look forward to your family joining our Imagine family. At Imagine, we value the role we play in working with you as partners in caring for your children. Our dedicated staff of trained and experienced teachers work together with Directors and Imagine Administration as a team to create a safe, nurturing, stimulating environment in which your children will learn and grow together.
Imagine implements a play-based approach to early education where children develop skills and learn through hands-on experiences and peer interactions in an environment that is both stimulating and appropriately facilitated by nurturing, professional teachers. Our goal is to develop the ‘whole child’ as a self-confident and expressive individual in cognitive, physical and social domains. Curriculum in our Infant, Toddler and Pre-K classrooms reflects typical child development goals and the individual needs of each child in the group. Particular attention is paid in the final Pre-K year to Kindergarten preparedness, according to state learning standards.
Imagine is particularly proud of our development of curriculum in two important areas of learning. Our Learning Healthy Early program strives to set the foundation for a healthy lifestyle for our children, as well as our families and staff. Through our Imagine Kids for Kids program, children learn about empathy, diversity and global citizenship, and helping friends at home and abroad. In all our programs, we strive to create an environment that emphasizes kindness and acceptance. All children, parents and staff are valued as individuals as well as members of our diverse school community.
We are also very proud to share that Imagine became an ESOP (Employee Stock Ownership Plan) in January of 2018. An ESOP is a qualified retirement plan governed by ERISA laws similar to a 401K. However, in the ESOP employees do not have to invest any of their own money and the employees actually own a piece of the company. Therefore, we are all very invested in running the company well, which means providing the best possible service to our families and children.
At Imagine we know that effective communication is essential for building school-family partnerships. We have an Open Door policy-families are welcome at any time. We look forward to you stopping by when you have time, just to visit or to participate in an activity with the children. We’d love to have you share a passion, hobby or family tradition with us. We often welcome “Mystery” readers to the classroom, which the children love. We also love a good party at Imagine! Please join us for one of our classroom or center-wide family events.
For general information about our programs, you are invited to visit our website at www.imagineelc.com. Directors communicate with families via calls, emails and the Remind text service. Teachers document the daily experiences of the children, shared with families through the Tadpoles app. Children’s developmental progress, shared with you at an annual Family-Teacher conference, is tracked in the assessment tool Teaching Strategies GOLD.
Your Director has given you enrollment materials to read and review to understand our program and policies. If you have questions or feedback at any time, please let us know. You can speak directly to the teachers about your children’s classroom experiences. If you have an administrative question, the Director or Assistant Director will be glad to help you. Each center is also supported by the Executive Director, the Human Resources Director and me. Feel free to call us at the home office if we can be of help (718) 960-7436.
All of us at Imagine look forward to meeting you and spending time with your children.