New day-care center features farm setting

| 28 Sep 2011 | 02:50

    LAFAYETTE-"Farm Fun Day Care is the funnest day care ever," said six-year-old Brandi Bozsik as she romped through the daisy meadow that skirts the grounds of the very new day care center in Lafayette. In operation for only a month, plans for the center by Director Linda Grinthal are far reaching with a focus, she said, on a healthy, pre-school alternative to traditional day care. Farm Fun Day Care, a state-registered, fully insured, CPR-certified member of New Jersey Family Child Care Providers Association, is adjacent to a cornfield covering 20 acres. I has outdoor areas for play, snack, and camp-outs, as well as goats to tend and chickens to feed and eggs to collect. Soon there will be a tilled area for each child to plant and maintain his or her own row of organically grown vegetables. At harvest time, canning will be added to the list of activities. Grinthal said her purpose is to provide a balance of indoor and outdoor activities in an educational and safe farm environment. The daily program consists of activities involving music, reading, and socialization. It may also include a dress-up parade, a scavenger hunt, flying a kite, or water balloon toss. Regularly included are Spanish or Italian lessons, computers, sewing, and baking. Breakfast, lunch and snack are provided. As the facility is regulated by state requirements, the children are fed according to mandates that require meals provide the major food groups. The children also participate in preparing the meals, and Grinthal finds they are more inclined to eat properly when they become a part of the meal preparation. Grinthal said, "We read every day, an average of four books." In an effort to promote an interest in reading, the children are prepared in "reading readiness" at 3-1/2 years old, which involves teaching the child to recognize words and sounds. With an emphasis on outdoor activities, Grinthal said, "I feel like this is a bunch of field trips all wrapped into one," and she encourages parents of prospective students to visit the day care center to experience the "country setting." A graduate of Fairleigh Dickinson University with a degree in marketing management, Grintal spent many years working as a Certified Financial Planner, but her love of the outdoors and hiking brought her to Farm Fun Day Care. She has operated a hiking club for six-year-olds with trips to state parks and local trails. She received her training from NORWESCAP in the fundamentals of operating a day care center. The mother of three boys, Grinthal has home-schooled her two oldest, Danny and Michael, who are now honor students in sixth and eighth grades of a private schoo. She is an active member of the Sussex County Christian Home Schoolers. Originally from Hackensack, the Grinthals had been living in Green, until their recent move to Lafayette. Soon, Grintahl said, the day care center will boast an herb garden, a butterfly garden, and a brick over in which she plans to teach the children to back their own bread. Located at 27 Pierce Road in Lafayette, the school is for children aged 2-1/2-6. Hours are from 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday. An extended-care night is available. For information, call 973-579-7382.