Greatstart International School Manila to Implement Successful Health and Safety Protocols of Greatstart US Facilities When In-Person Learning Re-Opens for the Incoming School Year

Since the pandemic began in March, there are 0 🅾️ originated cases of COVID-19 in our US facilities. Recently, our US schools are the 1st 🥇Preschool and Childcare in the US 🇺🇸 to use health monitoring smart bracelets.

  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • Werabol Health Monitoring Dashboard

When Department of Education gives the greenlight for in-person learning to reopen in the Philippines, the health and safety of students will be on top of the list of schools and parents. We all hope that greenlight will be soon and just in time for the start of the incoming 2021-2022 school year,

Our Manila facility’s health and safety protocol will be a notch above everyone else’s because these new protocols we’ll be implementing are not really new. They have been proven and practiced in our US schools, which have been open since the pandemic started. So rest assured that when they are applied in Manila, they are best in class practices with proven records of success. And you’ll only find them at Greatstart.

Disinfectant fogging machines are continuously used in our facilities. We utilize sanitizing solutions that are safe and food industry-grade that kill bacteria and viruses within 30 seconds of surface contact.

Here’s the List of Distinct Health and Safety Features To Expect

  • Automated body temperature and oxygen level readings and monitoring via Werabol’s Health Monitoring System. Each student and staff wears a smart bracelet and the system provides advanced analytics to display trends of potential illnesses. We are able to mitigate possible infections before it starts.
  • Enhanced drop-off and pickup procedures using technology and methods to minimize interactions and exposures between families and staff
  • Adoption of US-standard daily health and safety questionnaire enables us to monitor possible exposures before families even come to the school
  • Advanced mitigating procedures in the event of possible exposures. These procedures have been signed off by the New Jersey Department of Health as well as the CDC.
  • Superior cleaning and sanitizing of the facility using proven COVID-19 disinfecting machines, equipment and supplies. This includes installing Ultraviolet (UV-C) light chambers in the facility that will sanitize masks, face shields, and other PPE equipment at regular intervals throughout the day.
  • Modified and strict school operating policies and procedures when children are in school to minimize exposures and encourage social distancing as prescribed by US Preschools and Childcare Office of Licensing agencies. These include classroom configurations; seating arrangements; meal preparations; and even positions of cots and or sleeping mats (if your child is staying for after-care).
  • GISM will start using the well-reviewed HiMama preschool app to provide advanced communication, status updates and messaging with families.
  • Smaller class sizes to adhere to US social distancing recommendations and standards as prescribed by US Preschools and Childcare Office of Licensing agencies
  • Direct-line support from our US facilities who have tremendous experience in operating an in-person learning environment during the pandemic.

Specific details about each of these protocols will be provided upon enrollment. And we expect complete adherence and cooperation of the families. As with our experience in the US schools, the No. 1 reason why we’ve been successful in having 0 originated cases is because our families follow them, and they understand how important it is to do so.

Werabol Smart Bracelet
The smart bracelet records vital health signs such as body temperature and oxygen level.

For families that are not yet comfortable returning to a physical center, we continue and will continue to offer distant learning. Check out more details here –> https://greatstartinternational.org/included-home-activity-kits-makes-preschool-virtual-learning-more-manageable-to-working-parents/

Due to reduced capacity, spots will be very limited. Please view and complete the reservation form to get the details on how to reserve a spot.

Greatstart International School Is The First Preschool And Childcare To Use Werabol’s Health Monitoring Bracelets To Keep Children Safer From COVID-19

  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet
  • child wearing health monitoring bracelet

We are very excited to announce that our facilities in New Jersey have started using Werabol‘s Health Monitoring Smart Bracelets . We are proud to be the first preschool and childcare institution in the US to utilize this advanced health and safety system.

Putting your child’s safety is the utmost importance to us, especially during this pandemic. Together with all the safety protocols we’ve put in place in our facilities, we are continuously working on enhancements and improvements.

Werabol’s Health Monitoring System automates how we monitor and record vital health signs, particularly Temperature and Oxygen levels, which studies have shown to be indicators of possible COVID-19 sickness. Through the smart bracelets, your child’s (and our staff) body temperature and oxygen levels are constantly taken and recorded.

Werabol Smart Bracelet
The smart bracelet records vital health signs such as body temperature and oxygen level.

Preventive Actions To Minimize If Not Eliminate Exposure

Advanced monitoring algorithm create health trends that will alert us such as rising body temperature or decreasing oxygen level. These trends help mitigate prolonged exposure in the facility by providing early detection of possible illness. We act quicker, such as requesting the child to be picked up immediately, before an actual fever occurs.

How It Works

When your child enters the facility, the bracelet starts transmitting body temperature and oxygen level readings. This is continuous at regular intervals throughout the day. There is a dashboard monitor in the facility where we constantly check these readings.

Werabol Health Monitoring Dashboard
The Health Dashboard provides real-time view of temperature and oxygen level readings as well as trends of potential illness

Color-coded Temperature and Oxygen readings quickly see potential health issues. The system actively monitors trends and provides audible and visual alerts of potential illnesses such as an impending fever.


For families that are not yet comfortable returning to a physical center, we continue to offer distant learning. Check out more details here –> https://greatstartinternational.org/included-home-activity-kits-makes-preschool-virtual-learning-more-manageable-to-working-parents/

Due to reduced capacity, spots will be very limited. Please go to https://greatstartinternational.org/landingpage/reserve-a-spot/ to check out our most-up-to-date spot availability and reserve now.

How Our Centers Are Celebrating An Awesome And Safe Halloween During COVID-19

Halloween celebrations will definitely look different this year. But they can still be awesome!

Welcome to Halloween 2020. It will definitely look different this year due to COVID-19 and the need to keep everyone safe.

When our centers reopened in June, our main focus was addressing COVID-19 concerns in a childcare/preschool setting and keeping our children, families, and teachers safe. We did this through implementation and enforcement of strict new health and safety protocols. And with the cooperation of our families, those protocols have kept everyone safe and families are very happy.

In previous years, our facilities celebrated this well-loved holiday with awesome activities such as Trunk-‘N-Treats, costume parades, and classroom parties. The children always look forward to being in their favorite costumes. This year, we want to keep those traditions but had to think outside the box on how to safely do them.

What We Are Doing To Celebrate Halloween Safely

Trunk-‘N-Treat

We will be doing our parade and candy distribution outside via our Trunk-n-Treat. This year, instead of a U-shaped path where cars are parked on either side of the lot, the cars are lined up in a singular line to lessen crowding. And the cars will also be spaced out more than usual.

Trunk Sanitizing

We will go around and sanitize the car trunks of those participating in the Trunk-n-Treat using our portable sanitizing ULV fogger machines prior to the start of the event. This is the one we use and they’re great.

Candies or Treats

It is important to prepare the treats that will be distributed during Halloween

This is the biggest challenge as the typical candy distribution cannot work anymore. Our solution? — Families participating will bring their store-bought only and unopened treat bags to the school a week before the event. We will put the candy bags in a room where they will first be wiped/sanitized and then left to “air out” and then distributed back to the families only just before the event.

We’ve also asked parents to bring the containers they’ll use to put the candies in and we will sanitize and air those out too.

Masks, Hand Washing, and Hand Sanitizing

During the event, everyone will be wearing masks (except for children below 2 years old). Children will wash their hands before and after the event, and family members will have to hand sanitize before they enter the controlled outdoor event zone.

Maybe you can do some of these in your own Halloween event preparations. Or suggest it to your child’s childcare center. Are there any other awesome ideas you have? Share it with us in the comments below.

When the pandemic ends, we can’t wait to go back to the normal ways of celebration. But hey, maybe some of these things aren’t so bad to carry forward. It’s always great to be healthy and safe.

If you’re interested in enrolling your child to one of our facilities, check out how we’re keeping our children safe with some awesome new health and safety protocols.

Not ready to return to a physical location yet? Learn more about our virtual classes and home activity kits by clicking on your nearest center’s FB page below, or emailing us at mychild@greatstartearlylearning.com

Included Home Activity Kits Makes Preschool Virtual Learning More Manageable to Working Parents

Though our centers are re-opening starting June 15, we are offering alternative learning options to families that are not ready to return yet.
Though our centers are re-opening starting June 15, we are offering alternative learning options to families that are not ready to return yet.

Welcome to our Enhanced Home School Connection Learning Series. It’s designed to encourage your child and assist you in your home preschool environment.

In these changing times, we understand that the transition to home pre-schooling has not been easy for parents, as they juggle between their needs to work remotely, as well as find materials and activities for their children. We understand the need to continue educating kids through new media such as remote learning and home schooling activity kits, and that it should be presented with parents’ limited time in mind.

And that’s how these kits were developed — with you in mind. We’ve included the materials, worksheets and calendar schedule, and step-by-step guide on how to do the activities at home with very minimal supervision. Teachers will supplement the kits with regular virtual classes. These activities will reinforce and strengthen age-appropriate learning foundations necessary to master and move to the next program.

We trust that you and the child will have fun while enjoying learning.

Not ready to return to a physical location yet? Learn more about our virtual classes and home activity kits by clicking on your nearest center’s FB page below, or emailing us at mychild@greatstartearlylearning.com

If you’re interested in enrolling your child to one of our facilities, check out how we’re keeping our children safe with some awesome new health and safety protocols

How We’re Keeping Children Safe In Our Childcare Facilities in this COVID-19 Pandemic

Childcare Reserve A Spot
Spaces will be limited due to reduced capacity following social distancing guidelines. Reserve your spot now.

We are very excited to announce that our facilities in New Jersey will re-open beginning June 15.

We will be following new guidelines set forth by the NJ Department of Office and Families and the CDC. But aside from that, we are implementing additional enhanced safety protocols to ensure our children and staff are safe and healthy.

Kids temperature check using infrared thermometer
Temperature checks upon arrival and throughout the day

New Safety Protocols
Here are some of our health and safety policies and procedures. The complete list is in our parent handbook. We require parents’ strict adherence to these protocols to ensure everyone’s safety. Note that some methods and procedures may vary by location.

  1. Parents are Visitors are not allowed inside the facility. Children are to be dropped-off and picked-up in designated zones.
  2. Parents must wear masks when dropping-off or picking-up.
  3. Temperature checks upon arrival and throughout the day. Though the general guideline requires only an arrival check, we feel constant monitoring is very important so we can take quite actions, if necessary.
  4. Shoe soles are sanitized upon entry.
  5. Children must wash their hands upon arrival.
  6. Daily screening questions to parents to track potential outbreaks. We are in the process of adding an online capability to complete the questionnaire to make it easier to complete and save time.
  7. Families are required to install the COVID-19 app (available on iOS and Android devices) on their phones to allow contact tracing if such situation arises and there’s a need for it.
  8. Controlled Drop-Off Procedures. Families park in designated numbered spots upon drop-off. One at a time, families may enter the facility’s reception area. A spotlight will turn on to notify the other waiting families that someone is at the drop-off zone. Once the parent leaves the reception area, the spotlight will turn-off to signal the next family that they can proceed to drop-off.
  9. Controlled Pick-Up Procedures. Similar to the Drop-off Procedures, but families can call ahead to notify the school they’re parked. This way the staff can prepare their child’s bags and bring the child to the pick-up area.
  10. Masks are required to be worn by the staff at all times. If the parent wishes, child face shields are available as an option.
  11. Lower group sizes. Group sizes will be limited to 10 children, and groups are separated at least 10 feet apart at all times.
  12. Child-safe fogging sanitizing machines will be used frequently.
  13. Each child will have their own activity materials (e.g. crayons, scissors, glue stick, paper, etc.) bin to minimize sharing of commonly used items
  14. Stricter return from sickness policy.
  15. Hand sanitizing stations installed throughout the facility (for adults).
  16. Installation of UV-C chambers in the facility to sanitize face masks and face shields frequently
  17. Installation of UV-C lights in HVAC intakes to constantly disinfect and sanitize circulating air inside the facility.
  18. No shaking hands policy. We bow. Children will be taught to do it also.
  19. All surfaces indoors and outdoors will be disinfected more frequently.
  20. New floor markings throughout the facility to promote social distancing.
  21. No administering of over-the-counter fever-related medications in the school.

Though these new safety protocols are necessary, the one thing that doesn’t change is how our children are treated. We will continue to give them the same love, care, affection, and education that we’ve been known for. Now more than ever, the children need to feel that everything is alright… comfort them about why things have to be; reassure them that we are the same loving teachers behind the masks; and nurture them through these most important stages of their life development.

For families that are not yet comfortable returning to a physical center, we continue to offer distant learning. Check out more details here –> https://greatstartinternational.org/included-home-activity-kits-makes-preschool-virtual-learning-more-manageable-to-working-parents/

Due to reduced capacity, spots will be very limited. Please go to https://greatstartinternational.org/landingpage/reserve-a-spot/ to check out our most-up-to-date spot availability and reserve now.

Get a FREE Car Pass to the Magic of Lights Holiday Drive-Thru Show

Magic of Lights Giveaway
Check out Magic of Lights at PNC Bank Arts Center this Holiday season

It’s time for a holiday giveaway! The amazing Magic of Lights Drive-Through Holiday Light Experience show is back at PNC Bank Arts Center starting on November 22 and goes thru January 4.

And all of us here at Greatstart would like to wish you an awesome start to the festive season by giving you a chance to win a free car pass. You can also get early bird pricing on tickets by using the code MRSCLAUS at checkout for $3 off tickets online.

Magic of Lights Giveaway

Enter to Win a Car Pass
It’s FREE to enter our holiday giveaway. Just do the following (you must subscribe to the newsletter to win):

  1. Subscribe to our Newsletter. Check the right side of this article or on any articles on our blog. You’ll see a “Subscribe to Newsletter” section. Fill that one out and click Subscribe. That’s it! (Already a subscriber? Nothing else to do here!)
  2. Complete this form so we have the right contact info to use if you win. (We won’t share this info)

Deadline to enter is November 30th. We will announce the winners on December 2. Greatstart will contact the winners via email and confirm they can pickup the car pass at either our South Plainfield or Franklin Park facilities.

Halloween Safety Tips Every Parent Should Know

Halloween is an exciting time of year for our young ones. It’s the day children dress up in costumes and prep their bags as they go around from house to house collecting as many treats as they can! However, trick-or-treating can be dangerous without taking proper safety precautions.

Here are some Halloween Safety Tips to ensure that your child has a fun and safe trick-or-treating experience this year!

Photo credit: CDC Public Health Matters

1. Never let your child go trick-or-treating alone. Have your child walk with a trusted parent or guardian.

2. Map out the route. Only trick-or-treat in areas that you are familiar with. Plan your walking route out in advance.

3. Use a flashlight and bring extra batteries to help you see others. Have your child wear a glow necklace or add reflective tape to their costume so others can see them.

4. Walk, do not run, in well-lit areas. Stay on the sidewalks and avoid walking through people’s lawns or dark alleyways. 

5. Look both ways when crossing the street. Use crosswalks as much as possible. Do not assume cars will stop for you.

6. Check the candy or “treats” your child receives. Examine the goodies to make sure that the packaging is not tampered with and that they are not a choking hazard to your child.

Photo credit: Photo Getty

The safety of our children is of the utmost importance. By following these tips, your children will surely have a safe and spooktacular Halloween!

For more information, check us out on Instagram (@greatstartearlylearning).

Best Places To Go Pumpkin Picking in New Jersey

Fall is officially here – The leaves are falling, the air is brisk, and Halloween is right around the corner.  Looking for plans this weekend? Spend it with your family and friends at your local New Jersey farm! From picking your own pumpkins to sipping on some fresh apple cider, your options for fun fall activities are endless. We’ve rounded up a list of where to go pumpkin picking throughout the Garden State!

NORTH JERSEY FARMS

Abma’s Farm
Location: Wycoff, NJ
Website: https://abmasfarm.com/

Take a hayride through a 30-acre farm to the pumpkin patch! Be sure to leave room in your stomach for fresh apple cider and doughnuts from their market.

Photo Courtesy of Abma’s Farm

Alstede Farms
Location: Chester, NJ
Website: https://www.alstedefarms.com/

Offering a variety of fall activities, this farm will surely keep the kids entertained. On top of the many pick-your-own options, there is also a Harvest Moon Hay Ride and Night Time Corn Maze!

Photo courtesy of Alstede Farms

Conklin Farm-U-Pick
Location: Montville, NJ
Website: https://conklinupick.com/

Stop at Conklin Farm for pumpkin picking and hayrides! Grab a freshly baked pumpkin or apple pie on your way out.

Photo courtesy of Conklin Farm U-Pick

Demarest Farms
Location: Hillsdale, NJ
Website: https://demarestfarms.com/

General admission includes free parking, entrance to the pumpkin patch, hay wagon ride, two petting zoos, an adventure playground, corn box, photo display area, wooden playsets, and more!

Photo courtesy of Demarest Farms

Farms View Farm
Location: Wayne, NJ
Website: https://farmsview.com/pumpkin-picking-nj/

Enjoy a short hayride to the pumpkin patch and pick your own pumpkin! Your admission also includes refreshments such as cider and donuts.

Photo courtesy of Farms View Farm

Heaven Hill Farm
Location: Vernon, NJ
Website: https://heavenhillfarm.com/farm-garden/great-pumpkin-festival/

Known for The Great Pumpkin Festival, this 110-acre farm offers more than 40 fun-filled, family-friendly activities including pumpkin picking, a corn maze, pig races, and plenty more!

Photo courtesy of Heaven Hill Farm

Ort Farms
Location: Long Valley, NJ
Website: https://www.ortfarms.com/

On top of pumpkin picking, kids can spend their day in the corn maze, meeting farm animals, and going on train and monster truck rides!

Photo courtesy of Ort Farms

Stony Hill Farms
Location: Chester, NJ
Website: https://stonyhillfarms.com/market/funpark/

Who knew a farm could offer so many maze options? Corn mazes, fence mazes, rope mazes, tile mazes, and more. Stony Hill’s Fun Park has lots of activities for kids and families!

Photo courtesy of Stony Hill Farms

Sussex County Strawberry Farm
Location: Andover, NJ
Website: http://www.sussexcountystrawberryfarm.com/pumpkins.asp

This farm is guaranteed to be enjoyable for the entire family! Get your cameras ready because you’ll capture great shots of your little ones sitting in the pumpkin patch. 

Photo courtesy of Sussex County Strawberry Farm

Wightman’s Farm
Location: Morristown, NJ
Website: https://wightmanfarms.com/farm-activities.html

Located in Morristown, NJ, this farm offers hayrides, a pumpkin slingshot, pick your own apples, a hay maze and more! 

Photo courtesy of Wightman’s Farm

CENTRAL JERSEY FARMS

Happy Day Farm
Location: Manalapan, NJ
Website: http://www.happydayfarmnj.com/

Get the best of both worlds by picking pumpkins AND sunflowers! You can also navigate your way through their 10-acre corn maze playing Maize-O-Poly.

Photo courtesy of Happy Day Farm

Johnson’s Corner Farm
Location: Medford, NJ
Website: https://www.johnsonsfarm.com/

This farm’s fall festival includes live music, a family-friendly corn maze, gem mining, apple and pumpkin picking hayrides, and a food tent serving up tasty selections from the grill!

Photo courtesy of Johnson’s Corner Farm

Melick’s Town Farm
Location: Califon, NJ
Website: https://www.melickstownfarm.com/

No entry fee, just pay for what you pick! U-Pick options include pumpkins, apples, and sweet corn. Enjoy the horse-drawn wagon rides, corn maze, cute farm goats, and play tractor on this 200-acre farm!

Photo courtesy of Melick’s Town Farm

Norz Hill Farm
Location: Hillsborough, NJ
Website: http://www.norzhillfarm.com/

Take a hay wagon ride to the farm where you can meet the farm animals including cows, miniature donkeys, horses, alpaca, sheep, chickens, goats, pigs, bunnies, a zonkey and even emu! Afterward, you’ll be taken right to the pumpkin patch where you can pick your own pumpkins!

Photo courtesy of Norz Hill Farm

Oasis Family Farm
Location: Robbinsville Township, NJ
Website: https://www.oasisfamilyfarm.com/

Aside from pumpkin picking, Oasis Family Farm offers a “Little Monster Kids Trail”, a kid-friendly, family-oriented, interactive activity that will help you discover the little monster that exists within you. Don’t miss out on the spooktacular photo opportunities available along this trail!

Photo courtesy of Oasis Family Farm

Terhune Orchards
Location: Lawrence Township, NJ
Website: https://terhuneorchards.com/festivals/

Pony rides, tractor-drawn wagon rides, pumpkin painting, barnyard of animals, duck races, the Corn Stalk Maze, Hay Bale Maze, and Farm Trail are just some of the other fun activities Terhune Orchards offers to visitors!

Photo courtesy of Terhune Orchards

SOUTH JERSEY FARMS

Duffield’s Farm
Location: Sewell, NJ
Website: https://www.duffieldsfarm.com/

The fun doesn’t stop with pumpkin picking hayrides. If you’re looking for more, stop by the corn maze, Barn Bounce, and Barnyard Express!

Photo courtesy of Duffield’s Farm

Johnson’s Locust Hall Harm
Location: Jobstown, NJ
Website: https://www.johnsonslocusthallfarm.com/pick-your-own-family-fun/

After picking your own pumpkins and apples, stop by the farm to meet the animals and the market to grab a snack! This farm also has a corn maze and sunflower patch that is perfect for pictures.

Photo courtesy of Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm

Springdale Farms
Location: Cherry Hill, NJ
Website: http://www.springdalefarms.com/

Located in Cherry Hill, Springdale Farms offers pumpkin picking hayrides and The Amazing Bee Corn Maze where visitors find clues, fun facts, and other games to play along the way.

Photo courtesy of Springdale Farms

For more information, check us out on Instagram (@greatstartearlylearning).