The name Kepler is synonymous with discovery. From the Kepler Telescope NASA uses to discover distant planets,to our inspiration and our namesake Johannes Kepler who discovered the laws of planetary motion—Kepler means big things!
An Edmonton start-up, Kepler Academy’s popularity among parents has grown quickly. Its reputation and options for families have allowed its team to open eight academies in Edmonton, Sherwood Park, St. Albert and Spruce Grove.
In our conversation with Kepler Academy CEO Rob Bennett, he shared some valuable perspective about his experience, and what’s at the heart of the Kepler Academy Philosophy.
What inspires you the most about being a leader in Early Learning?
It is important to know that I’ve had a successful career in Finance, Technology and Digital Transformation. While linguistics is important for children, I believe building confidence in math, numeracy and science is one of the most important advantages we can provide to prepare them for school and for the technology-based workplace of the future.
The way we get work done in business, and the way we use math from a science and technology standpoint, isn’t the way it’s normally taught to our children. Coming from industry, I know that we can give children an edge by guiding them towards the skills that enhance collaboration, hone their creative skills and encourage them to find their ability to fully express themselves. The STEM workplace of the future is full of opportunity and abundance. It is our job to set the stage to ensure young people have the confidence and the tools they need to get off to a great start in their learning journey.
What’s the inspiration behind the Kepler Academy philosophy?
At Kepler, we believe that we are all born explorers,that each child is born with that innate desire.We know children are constantly discovering their environments through play and new experiences, and that they learn extraordinarily quickly in a collaborative environment.
Inspired by that explorative drive, we created Exploratory Education –our own holistic approach that combines play with a progressive curriculum. Why did Kepler create their own Exploratory Education approach?
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Many licensed childcare providers acknowledge that play is important for development. The difference at Kepler is that we have not only created a great environment that encourages independent play, but that we also guide play with progressive curriculum that promotes exploration and discovery. Play, guided by curriculum, helps to maximize children’s learning experience. Did your team design your childcare centres?
Yes, as physical design is important to create the learning environment we provide. Inside, each of our centres was designed and built with colour schemes, flooring, lighting and layout intentionally chosen. Outside, our play spaces are nature-inspired.
During a tour, parents will notice that inside our centre is not open concept, but closed concept, creating separate programming spaces, which is an important distinction. Why is closed concept so important?
The open concept experiment in learning institutions and workplaces has not gone well. Research and science tell us that children and adults are not at their best in an open environment. Overall people are less productive, less focused and less happy in open environments. I agree — it is economical for companies not to build proper classrooms, but open concept is not in the best interest of our children.
Kepler Academy has invested significantly to create bright, comfortable classrooms at our childcare centres. Thanks to this investment, Kepler has attracted some of the very best educators to our team,because our classroom environment allows an experienced educator to be at their very bestfor our children, day in and day out.
There is often an assumption that children have more opportunity to play and to interact in an open concept environment,but many children become overwhelmed,and we believe the classroom experience we have created works to optimize the learning experience for our educators and our children.
What else has been key to Kepler Academy’s success?
There are a few things that are important to give children an edge and to support our parents.
First, all of our nutritious meals and snacks are prepared fresh and on-site by a dedicated chef at each Academy. This removes a big burden from parents and helps to provide important nourishment for growing minds and bodies. Second, we know how important the investment in tuition is for families and at Kepler there are no hidden fees. Tuition includes meals, snacks, extra-curricular activities and intra-curricular activities like yoga, music and martial arts. This is important for parents and more importantly it ensures that a child is never excluded from something that other children are experiencing at our Academy.
Kepler Academy is a provider of early learning and care, offering educational childcare and out-of-school care programs. Through their own Exploratory Education approach, they combine a mix of learning through play and a curriculum that promotes exploration and discovery.They ensure parents know they’ve made the best choice for childcare.
Kepler Academy’s head office is in west Edmonton.The organization’s flagship centre was built on the west end, and shortly after, opened centres downtown,near the University of Alberta, and in Glenora. The company also has locations in Sherwood Park and Spruce Grove and is opening two new centres in South Edmonton and St. Albert.
Centres are offering virtual tours during operating hours, and in-person after hours, with health and safety steps in place.