London Day School Aims to Teach Awareness and Responsibility

School to open on the Madison-Florham Park border in June.

It's never too early to learn to be responsible. At least, that's the motto of the London Day School, the address of which is in Florham Park despite the fact that the property extends into Madison. The school will be open on June 1.

"We're really big on social responsibility," said School Director Danielle Lindner. "Here, kids learn about being good citizens."

The London Day School has programs for children ages 2 ½ to 6. Programs are two, three or five days a week, and half day or full. Tuition ranges from $520/month to $1,295/month.

The school aims to educate children on the world around them, from their own backyards to around the globe. Students will share artwork they make with schools in Moscow and Barcelona and will cultivate an organic garden next to the school's playground.

"They'll get to see what it's like to grow something," said Lindner. "Kids always hear the word 'organic,' but our students will know what it means."

Lindner says it is important to have children involved in their own education. To that end, the school will encourage students' interests and allow them to educate their peers on certain topics. There is also a mentor program, in which older students play the role of teacher and the younger ones gain a role model.

"It's not a challenge (to teach kids of different ages), but more like a benefit," said Lindner.

The school is also part of the Eco-Healthy Child Care initiative, started by the Oregon Environmental Commission in 2005 and expanded nationally in 2007.  To be an Eco Health Child Care center, schools must follow 30 different environmentally-conscious guidelines, ranging from using nontoxic and biodegradable pesticides and cleaning agents, to PVC-free toys, to recycling.

But it isn't just students that benefit from the London Day School's unconventional approach; parents get access to the school's Complimentary Concierge Service. The school will drop off and pick up parents' dry cleaning, provide table-ready dinners, and have Parents' Night Out, when parents can drop off their children in the evening a few nights a year.

Lindner, a former teacher, said she started LDS because she "could not find an enrichment-based preschool." She looks for teachers experienced in preschool education.

"They have to be caring, nurturing, creative, have an appreciation for enrichment and lifelong learning, and put the children's needs first," she said. LDS has a 1:10 or less teacher-to-student ratio.

That Lindner believes in her own method cannot be questioned; otherwise, she would not send her own five-year-old to London Day School.


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