This Fall, Greenwich families will have a new choice for childcare when Bright Horizons opens at 75 Holly Hill Lane. Sheila Zielinski is a local Greenwich resident and the Center Director of Bright Horizons at Greenwich, which is pre-enrolling kids from 6 weeks to Pre-K. We spoke to Sheila about her job, the new center (including how families can visit and apply) and her life in Greenwich.
Can you please tell us a bit about your role with Bright Horizons?
With being a Center Director it is important to develop a school community to establish a safe and diverse environment for all students, families, and staff. My goal is to provide a safe and warm environment for children to discover, learn, and grow. My job is also ensure all state and city guidelines as well as COVID-19 protocols are being implemented. This role also requires a strong leader to represent the company with integrity and morals to help all understand the true meaning of being a part of the Bright Horizons family.
Can you please share a bit about why you love Greenwich?
I moved to Greenwich three years ago and absolutely love it. I am super close to everything. I love that I can even walk to work and the neighborhood feels so safe to take walks at any time of day. I also love being close to the beaches. I grew up going to the Hamptons in Long Island and I absolutely love the water. Greenwich is also close to the Metro North and we a short ride to the New York City and we hug all of my favorite places in Westchester like Portchester, and Rye. I can also choose to jump on either the Merritt Parkway or I-95. Plus, I love all of the people who live in my community and how Greenwich works hard to keep it very clean, especially all of our parks and beaches. One of my favorite things to do is ride the ferry to Island Beach or go kayaking in the Long Island Sound. We also have a lot of great events like drive in movie theatres during the holidays and concerts to go enjoy. Plus, I love our beautiful museum and nature centers. I wouldn’t trade it for the world.
How long have you been with Bright Horizons?
Although I have been teaching since 2007, I have been with Bright Horizons for 3 years. The impact they have on my life is untouched compared to anywhere else I have worked prior. The company and its leaders truly understand what it means to treasure children and provide them with the fundamentals to grow. While working here, I have developed beautiful friendships made makes it feel like I have been working here all my life.
Can you tell us a bit about Bright Horizons — is it a franchise?
Bright Horizons is trusted by families around the world to provide care and education for their children. In more than 1,000 child care centers in the United States and beyond, we offer the highest-quality care and learning that delivers both the solution working parents need, and the classroom experiences children deserve to get ready. Bright Horizons is not a franchise. At Bright Horizons®, we know childhood is a treasured time. We believe it is our responsibility to provide environments and experiences that capture the joys of childhood, nurture each child’s individual growth and development, and pave the way for success in school and life.
What makes this new center stand out as a great option for families looking for quality care?
Bright Horizons has been providing exceptional early education and preschool for over 30 years. Early education isn’t what we do, it’s who we are. We offer programs for infants – pre-kindergarten. In our new center, every one of our classrooms offers rich, open-ended experiences that engage children and allow them to confidently explore. We also have an indoor gross motor room and beautiful outdoor playgrounds. Our curriculum is research-based and designed by early education experts to empower children to foster a love of learning. Our hours and schedules are convenient for working families. We have a passionate team of educators who enjoy partnering with families and providing an excellent experience for families and children.
Being new, how are you finding staff and developing a curriculum?
We are looking to transfer some staff from our other Bright Horizons sister centers and welcome in new teachers who are local to the community. Our research-based World at Their Fingertips® curriculum meets children where they are developmentally, with Signature Practices that build confidence and excitement about learning at every age and stage. In every classroom, the goal is to help children do more than learn; it’s to cultivate the joy of learning. And our emergent approach — teaching skills by leveraging a child’s own interests — enables teachers to tailor activities and projects for the specific talents and needs of each child in the class.
Can you tell us about the My Bright Day® app?
My Bright Day is an app that helps families stay connected to their child’s Bright Horizons experiences. It allows families to communicate directly with their child’s teacher. Parents receive notes, photos/videos, and real time updates on naps, meals, milestones, and more!
What COVID precautions are being implemented?
The health, safety, and well-being of children, families, and staff is our top priority. We’ve always adhered to rigorous health, hygiene, and disinfecting practices, and now follow enhanced safety protocols, which continue to evolve as new learning around COVID-19 develops. Current protocols include:
- Health screenings for all adults and children
- Adults are required to wear masks or face coverings at all times
- Distancing and class size reductions
- Updated visitor policy: essential visitors including families are limited to the lobby, nonessential visitors are not permitted in the center.
We developed on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, state and local public authorities, and our health expert, Dr. Kristin Moffitt, a pediatric infectious disease specialist from Boston Children’s Hospital. Our protocols with evolve and change based on the recommendations of the mentioned parties.
What advice do you give to parents who are nervous about separating for the first time from their kids?
Separating from anyone you love for periods of time is hard, so I can empathize with parents in this realm. Remember that it’s okay to check in! It’s okay to be worried, to ask questions and to want to be a part of their moments. I truly value family partnerships and my door is always open! At Bright Horizons, we know families are eager to learn what is happening during their child’s day. Our My Bright Day app provides families with real time updates on their child’s day with everything from diaper changes, feedings, to classroom activity photos and videos. I also like to remind parents that you did your research in finding the best child care provider for your family, so you can trust that you have made the right choice for your child!
Do you have space for Fall?
We are currently accepting pre-enrollment registrations for the fall. Once we have our license, we will begin making offers to families. We encourage families to register now if they would like to try to secure care for when we open. We are offering a special, limited time promotion right now for families that register- you’ll receive $150 off your registration fee, plus risk-free cancellation.
If parents want to learn more and/or visit, what should they do?
Parents looking for more information can visit our website: www.brighthorizons.com/greenwichct. They can also reach out my phone (203-413-1800) or email ([email protected]) to set up a visit.
We always like to support local businesses. In your area can you share your fave places to:
Go to dinner: Little Pub
Get coffee: Starbucks and the Granola Bar
Have a girls night: Bar Taco
Workout: Love my walks to the beach at Byram Shore or along Todd’s Point
Get your hair/nails done: Empy’s Nail Salon in Greenwich and Lisa’s Nails in New Rochelle
Go shopping (for yourself and/or gifts): Anthropology & Sephora
This story is sponsored by Bright Horizons at Greenwich.