By Connor Beach
Finding the right childcare can be stressful for any parent, so when mother of two Gina Desruisseaux had trouble finding quality daycare she decided to take matters into her own hands.
“It was really hard trying to find a daycare that had the right balance for me,” Desruisseaux said. “I wanted a caring place to care for the children and make sure they were safe, but I also wanted to have that curriculum.”
After researching her options, Desruisseaux, of Plainview, opted to partner with Florida-based early education company The Learning Experience to open a center in East Northport.
“I decided to jump in and see if I could partner with them to open a center,” Desruisseaux said.
The Learning Experience was co-founded over 30 years ago by CEO Richard Weissman, and now operates over 250 childcare centers across the country. Desruisseaux owns the independent franchise location in East Northport, which is the 19th location in New York State.
Desruisseaux, who previously worked in the fashion industry for over 20 years, said she chose East Northport because she felt the Town of Huntington needed a center like The Learning Experience.
She also said the 3084 E. Jericho Turnpike location provided a convenient location for parents.
“It’s right on that commuter path,” Desruisseaux said. “I wanted to make it accessible for parents, and I felt East Northport would be a perfect fit.”
The Learning Experience is open to children from six weeks old to preschool age, and has a “proprietary curriculum” that Desruisseaux said sets it apart from other daycare centers. The curriculum features sign language, a manners program, foreign language and education about philanthropy.
Each age group is separated into their own classroom with the appropriate staff. The East Northport location will employ over 30 teachers and staff.
“We teach the kids early on to be good citizens,” Desruisseaux said. “We teach them that we are all unique and special even though we are different.”
Desruisseaux also said that The Learning Experience has “a very strong kindergarten readiness program” that focuses on reading skills.
“Over 90 percent of the kids that leave The Learning Experience and go to kindergarten are reading at a level that surpasses kindergarten,” she said. “That really sets us apart and means that the kids are ready for school.”
The Learning Experience will also offer an after school program for children up to eight years old.
In the short time that The Learning Experience has been open, the curriculum is already beginning to have a positive impact on both the teachers and the students.
“Seeing their faces when they learn something new is really cool,” Desruisseaux said. “When you teach them something and their eyes just light up it’s really exciting.”
As a parent herself, Desruisseaux also said she wants parents to feel “happy because they know that their children are safe.”
“You want them to go to work and do what they have to do knowing that their children are safe,” she said.
The Learning Experience in East Northport had a soft opening on Aug. 14, and Desruisseaux said that the center would open for the school year on Sept. 4. The center will also host a grand opening celebration on Sept. 22 that will be open to the community.