New Child Care Concept Introduces First Completely Eco-Friendly Center

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Amid recent focus on children's toys, food and environmental settings, FIO360 to launch first Eco Early Care and Learning Boutique, featuring green construction, all organic food and toys, and children's massage, to name a few.

The reality is most of today's American families (67 percent) require child care services and, as a working mom myself, I realized more could be done to provide a more holistic learning and care setting for children

After more than a year of research and planning, this week FIO360 (pronounced fee-oh) announces plans to open its first totally eco-friendly child care center in Atlanta by February 2008. The announcement comes amid a flurry of dialogue regarding safe toys, food and environmental settings for children.

FIO360's concept will present the first Eco Early Care and Learning Boutique in the United States--meeting the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED standards for environmentally sustainable construction and providing an entirely eco-friendly operation with organic/locally-grown food, natural/organic personal care products and earth-friendly cleaners throughout the facility. According to the Children's Health Environmental Coalition, pound for pound, children breathe more air, drink more water, and eat more food than adults. Their bodies are more rapidly growing and developing, so their interactions within their environments have a maximum impact during this critical time.

"The reality is most of today's American families (67 percent) require child care services and, as a working mom myself, I realized more could be done to provide a more holistic learning and care setting for children," says Crissy Klaus, Founder & CEO of FIO360. "The word 'fio' is a Latin verb that means 'to become' and '360' relates to wholeness or coming full circle, so FIO360 will provide an optimum setting for children to become their individual best--intellectually, physically and emotionally."

FIO360 will also offer a wide array of special amenities for children and families, including an interactive learning museum, on-site massage therapy, heated floors, a no-shoes policy, the first Family Concierge and a 9,600 square-foot rooftop playground, to name a few.

FIO360's Key Features
In line with its eco-friendly values and family-centric philosophies, FIO360 will enter the Atlanta market offering several unique features, including:

  • Green Building & Eco-Friendly Child Care Standards: FIO360 is making significant investments to create a green facility that will provide a setting for optimal children's health, including zero-VOC (volatile organic compounds) painted walls; no PVC (polyvinyl chloride) plastic products; natural and organic toys; all-natural personal care products that exclude harmful chemicals; solar tubes to bring in natural lighting; floors that emit radiant heat; and earth-friendly leaning products that exclude harmful fumes and environmental toxins.
  • Organic Children's Meals: All meals prepared in the on-site FIO360 commercial kitchen or purchased from outside vendors will feature locally-grown, organic, natural or hormone-free food, with an emphasis on whole foods and fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Children's & Parent's Massage Therapy: Studies reveal infants who receive massage sleep through the night sooner, longer and have fewer gastric problems. Research also demonstrates that massage in young children helps develop less aggressive behaviors. At FIO360, parents will have the option to register their children for massage by a licensed and trained specialist at no charge. FIO360 will also feature a "Relaxation Station" where parents and staff can unwind and recharge with massage by a certified specialist. Workshops for parents will also be offered to provide additional education about this emerging practice.
  • Shoeless Environment: To negate the dirt, germs and oils that shoes can track on the floors, FIO360 will provide children and staff with Fio Slippers to wear throughout the facility. Playtime on the floors is a core part of each child's discovery experience and shoeless settings help keep the floors clean and safe for children to crawl, walk, run and play.
  • Classroom Technology: The FIO360 classrooms will feature active board technology that will be used for learning and will also stream family photos and video footage so that children can always feel connected. And, parents will have access to password-protected Web cameras to take a sneak peek at their children throughout the day.
  • Interactive Learning Exhibits: A significant portion of the entrance level--a 900 square-foot space with 18 ft. ceilings--will feature interactive learning exhibits in a children's museum format. The "Imagination Station" will feature permanent "signature" exhibits as well as portable exhibits that will change to keep the space fresh and exciting.
  • Rooftop Playground: Today's best outdoor play spaces for children invite open-ended play and discovery in natural environments. Located on the rooftop, the FIO360 Magical Urban Playscape will present a space for children to play, wonder and create. With a protected rooftop setting (enclosed by an 8-foot fence) that allows children to view the wonder of Atlanta, this playground will feature various age-appropriate play stations and gardens where children can escape to a world of excitement and exploration.
  • New Pyramid Learning Curriculum: Developed by Dr. Jef Van Kuyk of the Netherlands (one of the world's most literate countries), this curriculum meets the highest national standards for early care and learning. The program is used to educate children in the Netherlands, Germany, Japan, and India and is currently being developed for use in the United States. Teachers are trained and empowered to use a four-step process to take children from basic understanding to more complex problem solving.

Countdown To Opening
The 21,000-plus square foot FIO360 facility will serve 238 children ages 6 weeks to 6 years in its full-time care and learning program. The center will also offer drop-in care for parents who want to enjoy quality time in the city and back-up care for parents when their everyday provider is unavailable.

FIO360 will gradually roll out enrollment openings for full-time care, with plans to reach its full capacity of 238 openings by April 2008.

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