Minnieland Academy

Welcome to the online press kit for Minnieland Academy

Minnieland Academy: Early Childhood Experts

Building happy lives through quality early childhood education

Early childhood education strengthens children academically so they can start school ready to learn, and develop social skills and curiosity they’ll need to succeed in an ever-changing world. “More and more evidence tells us that investing in the education of America’s young people needs to begin earlier in their lives – stimulating socialization and a desire to learn, and dramatically improving their long-term life prospects,” writes John Lechleiter, CEO of Eli Lilly and Company, recently in Forbes.

Thousands of families in Northern Virginia trust their children’s early education to the 60 schools owned and operated by Minnieland Academy. Minnieland’s schools provide quality early childhood education and care for working families with children from infants to age 6, plus The Youth Zone before and afterschool programs and Camp Edventure summer camp programs. Minnieland also operates seven private schools: The Merit Schools of Stafford, The Merit School of Manassas Park, The Merit School of Prince William, The Merit School of Arlington, Manassas Christian Academy, Manassas Christian School and Apple Tree Preschool and Academy.

Minnieland History and The Minnieland Philosophy

Chuck and Jackie Leopold founded Minnieland Academy Private Day School in 1972 in their home in Woodbridge, Va. Over the decades, Minnieland Academy has continued building and acquiring new facilities in Prince William, Fredericksburg, Stafford, Loudoun, Fairfax, Richmond and Harrisonburg. The Leopolds continue to operate the company today.

Minnieland offers traditional and Montessori-inspired programs attuned for each age group. Its team of education experts assures that each facility provides top quality care and learning opportunities. They share their expertise on topics related to early childhood education, including:

* Literacy and getting children interested in reading for lifelong learning
* Meeting the educational/early childhood needs of working families
* Benefits of various curriculum options for early childhood education
* The growing need for quality early childhood care and education
* Introducing kindergarteners to Science, Technology, Engineering and Math
* Teaching kids health and nutrition through gardening and cooking experiences
* Teaching respect, compassion, character development and social skills

“There’s so much pressure on schools these days for accountability and testing, and the number of days and hours students spend testing limits the amount of time they have for recess and social/emotional development,” says Zach Mural, Ph.D., Minnieland’s Vice President of Education. “So we are really making an intentional focus on activities that support and challenge their social/emotional learning, help them with conflict resolution and help them with independence, self-esteem and self-efficacy.”

It’s about creating an environment where kids can thrive through activities that develop life skills – “that creativity, that flexibility and self-reliance they need to grow and adapt to an ever-changing world,” he says.

Dr. Mural is a professional educator and trainer with over 20 years of youth development experience. He has worked as a camp director and counselor and as a YMCA branch and program director supervising after-school programs, a teen center, and camps. He is also the father of a toddler who has been enrolled in a Minnieland school since she was an infant.

Minnieland’s Vice President of Accreditation and Industry Relations, Rosemary Burton, Ph.D., is celebrating her 20th year with the company. She developed Minnieland’s tiered system for training and evaluating teachers that has served as a model for other programs, and helped create its innovative curriculum, with its emphasis on social as well as academic development.

“We worked very hard creating a developmentally appropriate curriculum recognized by the State of Virginia,” says Dr. Burton, who has served on the Virginia Daycare Council that develops childcare regulations, and contributed to Virginia’s Milestones of Child Development, the state standard for early childhood programs.

Dr. Burton’s extensive knowledge of the way children learn helped her to lead a team of education specialists to develop programs such as Kindergarten Tech at Minnieland. It was the nation’s first program designed to introduce kindergarteners to science, technology, engineering and math concepts.

She has led efforts to achieve accreditation for 14 Minnieland schools through AdvancEd, the world’s largest community of education professionals, and through the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for two more. Seven Minnieland schools have been chosen to participate in Virginia’s Star Quality Improvement System. It ranks early childhood care and education facilities based on education, qualifications and training of staff; interactions between children and their teachers and peers; staff-to-child ratios and group sizes; and program environment and instructional practices.

Dr. Burton is deeply committed to the emotional, social and intellectual development of children. She regularly shares her expertise with educators in China and around the globe, and loves to bring these concepts to wider audiences at home.

“Children start early learning things that will be important to them for the rest of their lives,” she says. “Therefore, a nurturing and inspiring environment where they can improve their skills and abilities is a great start in life.”

Download Dr. Rosemary Burton's One Pager and Radio One Pager
Download Dr. Zach Mural's One Pager and Radio One Pager

For more information, visit www.Minnieland.com.

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