As the mother of infant twins, Anjana Bhakta got excited when she heard that a Primrose School was coming to Wichita. Then she was disappointed when the plans fell through.
Now, four years later, Bhakta and her husband have opened a franchise of the Atlanta-based child care center chain in east Wichita.
Their son, Sai, and daughter, Shreya, are among the first students at Primrose School of Wichita East, which opened in December.
We decided, Lets bring it to Wichita, Bhakta said.
The handsome 12,000-square-foot school looks at home in its upscale east Wichita neighborhood, but Bhakta said what goes on inside the classrooms is more important. The 250 Primrose Schools nationwide use a propriety curriculum called the Balanced Learning system that Bhakta said is more structured than many preschools and day care centers.
The school offers full- and half-day care to children aged 6 weeks to 5 years old, plus after-school care for children up to age 12. Theres also a plan for private kindergarten in the future. Its open from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Bhakta said she first heard about Primrose Schools from friends and traveled to Kansas City to see one for herself.
She said becoming a franchisee took about a year and a half, including a couple of weeks of training in Georgia.
They want to make sure youre opening a school for the right reasons, she said.
In her case, she said, that was the desire to help other parents get the same kind of child care she desired while balancing work and family. Anjana graduated from Newman University and worked as a registered nurse before opening the school. Her husband, Rajesh, is an electrical engineer.
I didnt want just a place to babysit them, Bhakta said. If theyre not in my care, I want the highest quality of care.
While not a professional educator, she said her familys background in the hotel industry made her a natural to run the business side of things at the school. Her nursing experience helps as well, she said.
It is so much about health washing hands and teaching those life skills.
The school employs 18 people, including director Tiffany Denton and assistant director Mackenzie Robles, both of whom have more than a decade of experience in child care, Bhakta said.
The school has 10 classrooms, four age-appropriate playgrounds and a capacity of 185 students. Bhakta declined to release enrollment figures, but said she was satisfied with the schools growth.
A chart in the schools foyer gives some indication of the schools curriculum. Two-year-olds, for example, are supposed to begin to learn about science and technology.
It might be going outside on a hot day and watching ice melt, Bhakta said.
At Primrose, she added, We dont have timeouts. Its all about redirecting our children to positive areas.
Its not for everybody, Bhakta said of the Primrose approach. But for families that want a strategically planned education, everything we do is planned.