The Goddard School specifically serves children six weeks to six years and utilizes experience and fun to educate young children. There are over 560 Goddard schools nationwide, serving 70,000 students. The Goddard School’s F.L.E.X.Ò learning program (Fun Learning Experience) is what sets this school apart. Nicole Dennis has been entrenched in the education system for over 20 years and loves this approach to learning and the difference that it makes. Local residents and husband and wife duo Brant and Nicole Dennis are the owners of the Minnetonka location and can’t wait to open their doors to the community.
A Long Time Coming
Bringing the Goddard School to Minnetonka has been a few years in the making. “Originally our friends who own the Medina and Plymouth locations approached us and asked us if we would be interested in opening up another location,” Nicole tells me. “We slowly started to look into it, and it just seemed like the right thing and right timing.”
Both Nicole and Brant grew up in the Lake Minnetonka area and are familiar with the community and location. “We graduated from Mound High School, and Brant actually grew up about 15 minutes from the site,” Nicole shares. The couple's combined experience with education and working with families ultimately made this the perfect fit. “This allowed me to enjoy what I love about teaching, and that is working with families and educating the children, but now in a much different capacity.”
Being one of the top school districts in Minnesota, The Goddard School will fit right in with Minnetonka’s high standards. “We felt that our offering for pre-school would go well in this district. We saw the need, and we focused in on this area,” adds Brant.
The Goddard Difference
“One of the things Goddard prides themselves on is a dual management system,” says Nicole. This means that Goddard requires an on-site owner and an education director to be present at the school every day in the building. “It's not these executives making decisions every day who aren’t even there, but rather an owner who is invested and knows what is going on and is available.”.
Goddard places emphasis on quality assurance. These rules and regulations help to keep the Goddard brand up to par with on-site visits that look at over 200 regulations to verify health, safety, process, and education standards are happening. This way, parents and families can be assured that their young children are in safe and supportive environments. “Childcare has a lot of licensing and regulations to be followed. But this really goes beyond that,” says Brant. “It creates additional work for us, but it allows us to create that top-notch experience for families and where they can feel comfortable.”
What sets them the Goddard schools apart from daycare and other childcare providers is the structure. “Daily lesson plans are required, even for the infants,” Nicole explains. “The Goddard framework is about hands on, collaboration, creative thinking, and it's about life and career skills that kids will need to work together. The world is a better place when we can work together and build upon each others ideas. It’s about creating confidence and creativity.”
“Kids need structure, and they need routine,” Brant adds. Especially after the COVID pandemic, it's clear kids and families are craving that sense of normalcy and structure. “A lot of these children who will be coming to our school would have been born during COVID and didn’t necessarily have that socialization. Some of these parents are just excited to get their kids socialized and in a structured environment."
Nicole and Brant have experience with the Goddard difference in their own child, Anna. “Anna was in a fine, safe daycare. But we noticed that she just needed a little bit more, socially, academically, and emotionally,” says Nicole. “We sent her to the Goddard School in Plymouth, since she needed more of a push before kindergarten, and she ended up doing amazing.”
Ready to Make a Difference
The Goddard School in Minnetonka is currently enrolling, and already the infant rooms are full until the spring of 2023. The total amount of children that can be enrolled at a time at the Minnetonka location is 140. “The goal is to provide a safe, healthy, and fun environment,” the couple emphasizes. They will also be hiring dedicated and experienced teachers. “It’s not just about the education. We want the teachers we hire to be in it and love what they do,” Nicole says.
It's apparent that Nicole and Brant have something exceptional in the works. Their genuine passion for education and creating a safe and inspiring environment for children to learn in is exactly what we need in this post-COVID era. But what's more is their desire to create a place that's also fun for the kids. Something special to the Minnetonka location is the playgrounds. Brant works for Landscape Structures Incorporated (LSI), which is known for providing the best of the best in playground equipment. “No other Goddard in the state has these playgrounds," Brant tells me. Now that is something special.
The Goddard School of Minnetonka opened on July 25 and is located on Highway 7 in Minnetonka. To learn more about the school, the Goddard difference, locations around the Twin Cities, and how to enroll, visit goddardschool.com.