Newly opened, Sowing Seed School was founded on the notion that within the first three to five years of a child’s life, the brain grows the fastest. Their goal is to support the child as much as possible from birth, while focusing on all aspects of development including physical, intellectual, social and emotional.
Director, owner and mother of three Marilyn Duran has spent 30 years in the child education field and has held positions including Director of Educational Programs in Central Office, Principal of Harry L. Bain Elementary School, Principal of the Early Childhood Abbot Program, as well as a Bilingual/ESL classroom teacher. After retiring just a few years ago, Duran’s passion for early childhood education led her to follow her dream of starting her own daycare.
“Ever since I was young, I always wanted to have my own business and open a child care center,” Duran explained. “After I retired, my kids were all grown and I had a bit of an empty nest but I got an opportunity to open a facility in an area that was in great demand for something like this.”
Located on the waterfront of Weehawken’s Port Imperial, it took Duran nearly two years to complete her vision for Sowing Seed, from architectural planning to construction, the daycare officially opened in April and has nine rooms with over 10,000 square feet of ceiling space, an outdoor play area and curbside drop-off.
At Sowing Seed, kids are welcomed into a “yes” environment, something Duran devised during the design phase. Each classroom has floor-to-ceiling windows with skyline views and an abundance of empty space for what she considers “purposeful play.” Classrooms are also equipped with a kitchenette, refrigerator, a minimum of two sinks—one for food prep and one for handwashing-child-sized toilets, private changing rooms and soft, padded floors.
All the furniture at Sowing Seed is sourced from School Speciality, which makes everything out of non-toxic, natural wood. In addition, the entire facility is coated in Paint Shield, an antibacterial paint by Sherwin Williams which kills infection-causing bacteria. “It’s something that’s used in hospitals and is recommended for children’s nurseries. A lot of times children get sick at daycare because they’re so young and they’re exposed to germs. We wanted to cover all the bases.”
Sowing Seed is currently enrolling children from infancy (6 weeks) up to preschool age (5 years old) and enforces a Creative Curriculum, a research-based program built around the five domains of NJ learning standards: emotional/social development, approaches to learning, language development and communication, cognitive development, and motor development. The instructor-to-child ratio for each classroom is 3:1 and their is a maximum of 8-9 babies per infant room and 12-15 kids in the pre-K or toddler rooms.
When children reach pre-K age, Sowing Seed begins to incorporate Promethean boards and computers into their classrooms, and for younger children, Duran implements a screen-free approach and focuses on reading, literacy and language through physical engagement. Kids are also taken on daily walks to the park and are constantly moving around throughout the day, ensuring that they never feel like they’re stuck in one place too long.
Sowing Seed offers an open-door policy for parents, allowing them to come all the way inside at drop off or pick up, or for mom’s to stop by during lunch and use their breastfeeding room. Sowing Seed encourages parents to keep in touch via Tadpole app, which allows teachers to communicate and update parents throughout the day with detailed reports and pictures and the parents can respond back to the school directly through the app.
“A big piece of our program is the communication we have with the parents,” Duran said. “When they enroll their child, the whole family becomes a part of Sowing Seed. We’ll discuss everything from what’s working in school to what’s not working at home, to eating habits and potty training. We’re all on the same team.”
Enrollment is currently being offered for children both full-time and part-time, and ranges anywhere from three, four or five days a week and up to 12 hours per day. For registration information, please visit their website www.sowingseedschool.com or call 201-766-1053.