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EXTRA EXTRA...READ ALL ABOUT IT...Lil' Geniuses Academy was featured in the Northeast Times!!!

Policing their children

By William Kenny

 According to Lodge 5 president John McNesby, supporting Lil' Geniuses Academy was a no-brainer for the union, since the center provides a much-needed service to union members. The center is mentioned in the union's Peace Officer newsletters, on its Web site ( and in e-mail messages to its 1,400 members. "One thing that impressed us the most was that they were going to cater to police officers and their schedules," McNesby said. Policework is anything but a typical 9-to-5, Monday-to-Friday job. Most patrol cops work four consecutive days, eight hours a day, followed by three days off. Some officers work the steady midnight shift, from 12 to 8 a.m., but most rotate every couple of weeks between the 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift and the 4 to midnight timelot. Cops work a lot of overtime, too, mostly so they can testify in court against accused crooks. And because of the modest pay structure of the department, a typical police household with children needs a second income. So spouses of cops usually have to work, too. "It's not like Leave It to Beaver where the wife's at home and has a roast waiting for you on the table at the end of the day," McNesby said. "A lot of day-cares aren't flexible with their scheduling, so (police) can't enroll their children," LGA said. "Then a lot of times, (day care) falls on their families." Lil' Geniuses is open daily from 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. "Parents can come anytime in the morning (to drop kids off) and can pick them up anytime," LGA said. The center also offers tuition discounts for children of police and firefighters, as well as other city and state employees. Another way that LGA  trying to give back to the police community is through an ongoing fund-raising effort. Members of their staff - which includes eight early-education specialists - and parents of the center are selling coupon books to bolster the union's Police Survivors' Fund, which helps offset expenses incurred by families of slain cops.

Police and non-police alike will appreciate the emphasis that the Lil' Geniuses staff places on operating a clean, bright and modern facility with strong language-based educational programming.
There are seven age-based classrooms offering nursery care, as well as preschool, kindergarten and after-school programs. There is an indoor padded physical-education room, along with computer stations and arts-and-crafts stations. "It's the cleanest center I've been to," said Nicole W, whose 16-month-old son is enrolled. "They took me on a tour before it opened. They wowed me. I grilled them and they answered all of my questions."


 The owner works on-site every day supervising the staff, all of whom hold degrees in early-childhood education or are working toward them. Each instructor submits a weekly lesson plan for the director's approval. The curriculum adheres to the Pennsylvania Early Learning Standards.

LGAspent more than a year planning and making major interior renovations to the avenue storefront. LGA added many personal touches to the decor, including inspirational quotes from Alexander Calder to Confucius painted on its walls. "I really try to get the kids to experience different people instead of (fictional) characters," LGA  said. "I try to get their little dreams started here."









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