By Mary Frost
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Operators of a national child care company owned by Bain Capital, the enterprise formerly led by Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney, are about to shake up the high-priced child care market in Downtown Brooklyn and Brooklyn Heights.
Bright Horizons Family Solutions announced on Monday that it plans to open a 15,000 square foot facility at 345 Adams St., at the busy corner of Willoughby Street near the Brooklyn Heights end of the Fulton Street Mall, capitalizing on the growing number of affluent parents who either live or work in the area.
The chain, the nation’s second-largest for-profit day care provider, with 700 centers across the United States, Europe, Canada and India, specializes in employer-sponsored child care — both regularly-scheduled care and “back-up care” that kicks in when parents need temporary support — in addition to care that is directly contracted by individual parents.
Bright Horizons' location on Adams Street and a second Brooklyn center, at 175 Kent Ave. in Williamsburg, expect to open next year.
The Adams Street location "will be a brand new, beautiful center with a dedicated art studio and a Movement Matters zone for indoor play and gross motor development,” a Bright Horizons spokesperson told the Brooklyn Eagle. She said the Bright Horizons curriculum “places a strong emphasis on the development of language, math, science, and social skills and incorporates the key elements that contribute to a child’s readiness for school and academic success.”
The company promises "a high quality child care and early education option, particularly for infant and toddler care where there has been limited availability.”
The spokesperson said that Bright Horizons has not yet established tuition rates for its Brooklyn locations. Tuition varies by location and are not pubished on the company's website. Parents in Fairfield County, Connecticut, report charges ranging from $1,800 to $2,100 a month.
While there are many private day care options in the Downtown and Brooklyn Heights areas, there does not appear to be a great deal of price competition.
Saint Ann’s School and Packer Collegiate Institute both offer highly sought-after pre-school options. Competition is often fierce, and some sections are fully booked early. Tuition ranges from around $22,000 to $33,000, depending on age.
Kiddie Korner Preschool, with locations on Remsen Street and at the corner of Clilnton and Montague streets, is affiliated with the Chabad Lubavitch movement, although a large number of its children are not Jewish. Tuition ranges from $9,975 to $29,800, depending on schedule and age.
At the Family Center at Brooklyn Friends, toddlers "benefit from being part of the larger intellectual school community,” a Friends spokesperson said. “All the teachers have Masters degrees, the high schoolers come in for practicums, it’s a very rich environment. Lots of families have one child in the Family Center and another in the preschool. There’s also that whole Friends [Quaker] philosophy, seeing the inner light in each child.” Tuition ranges from $9,200 for part-time to $28,600 for an extended day.
Plymouth Church School, a preschool affiliated with historic Plymouth Church in Brooklyn Heights, offers a highly enriched curriculum and a weekly chapel program for ages 2 to 5. Tuition runs from $6,800 to $16,000, and competition for slots is stiff.
Similarly, Grace Church School, the oldest preschool in Brooklyn, founded in 1928, is a highly sought-after program in Brooklyn Heights. The school involves parents in events from potluck suppers to monthly coffee hours. Tuition ranges from $8,100 to $20,800 depending on age.
Imagine Early Learning Centers offers the most similarities to Bright Horizons. Imagine, a 10-center chain with locations in both Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO, provides full and some part-time care for kids from ages 2 to 5, along with employer-sponsored care. Full-time monthly rates range from $1,690 to $2,020 depending on age and number of hours per day. Hourly rates range from $12.30 to $13.35 per hour.
Joshua L. Muss, president of the site's developer, Muss Development, said, “With Bright Horizons at 345 Adams St. we will see an incredible impact on so many of the area’s parents and their families."
“We have nearly completed the fully realized vision we first had for 345 Adams Street more than five years ago, creating an environment that further encourages families to live, work and eat in Downtown Brooklyn,” Muss said.
Click here for more developments at 345 Adams St., including plans to open a Potbelly Sandwich Shop.