At 7:15 in the morning, kids begin to arrive at Odyssey Early Learning, with 4- and 5-year-olds dashing to the door, and babies and younger children drowse on a parent's shoulder. Inside, the staff—all trained in early childhood care—greet the kids and direct parents to a sign outside posting the activities of the day. Teachers corral students as young as 6 weeks and as old as 5 years into age-appropriate peer groups.
In class, instructors blend play and academics, engaging little right brains with music and art lessons and creating new left-brain folds with science projects, math problems, and reading. Throughout the activities, the staff aims to develop social, emotional, intellectual, and motor skills to better prepare kids for the classroom, playground, and tree-house conference room. At the end of the day, parents get a daily feedback report, and every month, staffers prepare a progress report. Parents can also monitor classroom behavior via an eye-in-the-sky webcam, accessible through a password-protected website.