Kiddie Korner is not just for kids anymore.
The new owners of the Egg Harbor Township preschool and day care for ages 15 months to 5 years are adding lots of programs for all ages beyond.
Prajakta Harshe-Patharkar said she and Ruchi Chowdhary are filling Kiddie Korner’s after hours with adult classes, fitness sessions and a variety of family services.
During the day, parents still can use the drop-and-play service, “kind of like babysitting but with enrichment, participating in whatever the preschool class is doing such as arts and crafts,” said Harshe-Patharkar, 38, of Mays Landing.
In the evening, adults and school-age children can take classes in meditation, scrapbooking, calligraphy, sign language, tutoring and photography, she said.
Fitness sessions include fusion cardio, laughter yoga and one called “Bollywood Fitness,” which will be taught by Chowdhary, Harshe-Patharkar said.
“That gets everyone moving to the sounds of Bollywood,” a popular segment of the India film industry, she said.
Kiddie Korner also offers “Date Night” for couples to drop off the kids, and “Girls Night Out,” so mothers can find time to dine out and unwind.
“If moms are stressed out and haven’t had a day or even a few hours to themselves, sometimes we need to buy ourselves time just to feel sane,” Harshe-Patharkar said.
Tutoring for primary schoolchildren is available from college and high school students, in math, Spanish, science and reading, she said.
Kiddie Korner also hosts social events, including birthday parties and baby showers. She said a two-hour party for 16 kids and 16 adults with a music teacher is $300, with upgrades available.
Harshe-Patharkar said she has a licensed family and marriage counseling practice based in Hammonton — ASAPP Healthcare — that sees about 1,000 kids a week. That, too, adds to what Kiddie Korner offers.
“I’m a therapist, so we’re also doing behavior modification,” she said, providing some advice and techniques in areas such as potty training and responding to social situations.
“My child has an eating issue, for example. He’s a terrible 2 and doesn’t eat well,” she said. “That’s typical. He’s a healthy child, so we say don’t worry about it and look for one good meal each day. We share that kind of information with parents.”
Chowdhary is a dance teacher with about 250 pupils elsewhere, Harshe-Patharkar said.
The diversified offering of services should help Kiddie Korner be part of the rebound in child day-care services in the county.
While Atlantic County had 70 such facilities in 2011, the same as five years earlier, the number of employees in the sector was 820, down from 911 at the peak in 2006, the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics said.
Total wages for day-care services in the county, however, have grown steadily, from $20.7 million in 2006 to $23.6 million in 2011.
Besides enabling the additional services at Kiddie Korner, the owners’ work elsewhere takes the pressure off the bottom line and allows them to set some charitable goals for the business.
“The business I already had pays my bills, so I’m using some of the profits from the school for World Vision, which provides healthy well water for children and supplemental food,” she said. “Our goal is to raise $10,000 a year.”
The new Kiddie Korner will hold an Open House Carnival from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today, with games, open gym, free music class and refreshments.
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