Lake Mary Life: StarChild Academy

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CENTRAL FLORIDA MAY HAVE NO SHORTAGE OF CHILDCARE options, but choosing the hands in which to place your child is not something to take lightly. There are certain qualities every parent must look for in a childcare facility – licensing, safety measures, curriculum, and well-trained staff. But what about those qualities sets one facility apart from the others?

For parent Amy Pennock, she found the answer at StarChild Academy in Lake Mary.

“I probably visited eight or nine other childcare centers,” says the mother of three. “This one just had the right feel, the right balance in security. It was just very welcoming. You get a very loving feeling when you walk into the building.”

Since her kids enrolled at StarChild Academy, Amy says that she has no problem getting them to school every day.

“My kids love to go see their teachers, who are in instrumental part of their lives,” she says. “The teachers are definitely positive role models for my kids; they really respect them.”

When visiting StarChild Academy’s facilities, you will find bright, open classrooms with tempered glass walls in each room. StarChild Academy features separate rooms for infants, and two separate toddler rooms – one for kids 12 to 18 months and another for toddlers 18 to 24 months. Separate playgrounds for each age group are set up with safe, age-appropriate equipment.

Looking closer, you’ll see video cameras installed in all of the classrooms so parents can check in on their children from home or office online.

“We also have telephones in every classroom, allowing you to talk directly with your child’s teachers,” says Elena Friedman-Bello, who owns StarChild Academy along with her husband, Stuart.

StarChild Academy also teachers a proven academic curriculum to help children excel. Foreign languages such as Japanese, Spanish, and American Sign Language are taught to improve communication skills.

When Samantha Desmarais found that her daughter Baylee, who was just shy of two years old, was not developing vocally, she turned to StarChild Academy after hearing other parents’ testimonials and viewing the curriculum.

“Within a couple of months I noticed that she was talking in full sentences,” Samantha says. “Now she is three-and-a-half and knows all the ABCs. She can read some words, and she knows all her numbers in four different languages. She loves going to school and loves her teachers. I can’t imagine taking her anywhere else.”

The curriculum includes phonics-based reading and writing, math, science, social studies, arts and crafts, and music. Computers are taught in regular curriculum starting at age three. The staff even offers additional extracurricular activities such as dance, karate, gymnastics, computers, art, soccer, and keyboard.

For the older kids in elementary school, StarChild Academy’s school-age programs include before-school, extended-day and after-school care, as well as activities during school breaks and holidays. The beautiful 21,850-square-foot academy features a library stocked with books, a fully-equipped kitchen, and a fun game room boasting a Wii, flat-screen television, and lots of board games. Outdoors, the children enjoy playing four-square, hopscotch, tennis, and other sports on the academy’s multipurpose Sport Court that features a shock-absorbing, skid resistant surface.

Activity coordinator Loran Cunningham has developed a fun-filled summer camp program, as well, featuring lots of field trip to places like SeaWorld, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Chuck E. Cheese.

“The kids look forward to camp every year, especially because they get to make new friends,” she says. “Our parents love the flexibility of Summer Camp 2012 because they can bring their children for the weeks they want and not pay any fees for the weeks they are doing something else.”

Toward the end of the program. the summer camp includes an academic portion to help children get prepared to return to school.

“In light fo what’s happening with FCAT scores in our state, our parents really appreciate the fact that we teach one year ahead on reading and two years ahead on math,” Loran says. “Yet, we have fun too!”

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:25+00:00 July 22nd, 2012|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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