New Kid on the Block: Kiddie Academy

Though it is hard to tell from the outside, an expansive day care site has been added to the neighborhood, spanning two floors and 10,000 square feet in the former Mackenzie Door Company at (the beautiful) 72 Reade. The franchise has been opened by Julia Ferrari, a former nanny and day care worker herself who has formed a business partnership with her parents for this outlet. She has smartly brought in as educational director Lenae Madonna, a former teacher from Leman who has 41 years’ experience in childcare and teaching.

This makes Kiddie Academy’s 220th outlet nationwide but only the fourth in New York City (the company is based in Maryland). It comes with the company’s hallmarks: an enriched program of the arts and technology, no restraining equipment for infants (such as swings or seats) plus catered meals and a 12-hour schedule. This site has 11 classrooms and room for 142 kids eventually. (They have started with 12.) There are two indoor play areas, but the kids also use Washington Market Park.

Lenae started in the kid business much the same way – opening her own preschool in Highland, NY, in 1983. She then went on to be a public school principal in the area. But after 9/11, and after she had read all the “worries” in the worry box she had created for her students, she realized she had to get back in the classroom and work directly with kids again. She spent a decade at Leman before she was approached to help run the Kiddie Academy.

Right now the school is hidden by a sidewalk bridge, and may be for some time (we know how that goes). So to introduce themselves to the neighborhood, the school will be hosting an open house and health and wellness fair on Saturday, Nov. 9, from 10a to noon. Check in with the school for details, or just stop by — Lenae and Julia’s offices are right in the storefront window.

Kiddie Academy of Tribeca
72 Reade Street