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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

The decision to leave their child, either with a nanny or in a daycare setting, is often a difficult one for parents. Is the person trustworthy? Will the child be loved? Fed? Well cared for? Is the facility licensed? Clean? Are the caregivers experienced? Will the child be stimulated during the day? Will the child be safe?

These and a host of other questions are foremost in parents’ minds as they go through the decision process. What will be best for their child?

Angelo Nevado, director of Helping Hands Childcare Center, a state-licensed childcare facility located at B’nai Shalom in West Orange for children ages 6 weeks to 5 years, believes his facility is the answer.

“Our goal is to make it feel like home here,” Nevado said. “We want to do everything possible to be a top-notch facility in West Orange and we are always looking to exceed state standards.”

To that end, Nevado, who began construction in May 2017 in the space formerly occupied by the synagogue’s preschool, has been involved in every step of the renovation process.

“We gutted everything so that it’s brand new,” he said.

The facility, which officially opened on January 2, also has an outdoor, fully enclosed play area that Nevado plans to use for more than playtime.

“It is my mission to teach children how to respect nature,” he commented.

The curriculum is Montessori-style in that children are placed with their peers developmentally rather than by age. Nevado includes STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) to keep current with academic trends.

The teacher-to-student ratio is 1:6 in the toddler room and 1:4 in the infant room. Currently, Nevado has nine families with toddlers and four with infants. He is hoping to grow to between 50 and 70 children, once he gets the proper state permissions.

There is one head teacher and the assistants all have experience in a daycare setting. Nevado feels one of his skills is “picking the right people for the job,” and believes it is important to respect his employees to enable them to give the best-quality care to the children.

“Work-life balance is so important,” he said. “I know it is important to acknowledge that.”

The children bring their own lunch every day, which eliminates any kashrut issues, and the facility is nut free, following state standards. They do provide snacks, and are accommodating to special food needs.

Nevado emphasizes cleanliness to maintain the health of children and staff. No one wears shoes in the classrooms, everything is fully disinfected every Friday, and every few months there will be a deep cleaning of all surfaces, curtains, rugs and more.

Nevado’s professional journey has been an interesting one. He began in corporate America in the field of finance/accounting, never imagining his life would take this turn. However, when his 4-year-old son with autism was unable to be properly serviced in a mainstream classroom, Nevado started a state-licensed, in-home childcare facility, which he ran for two years prior to beginning this new venture.

For more information, email [email protected] or call Nevado at 201-736-1011. Helping Hands Childcare Center is located at 300 Pleasant Valley Way in West Orange.

By Jill Kirsch