Goddard School to open at long-vacant Mt. Fuji property

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WEST ORANGE, NJ — Mount Pleasant and Prospect avenues will soon see a new business open on their intersecting corner, as the Goddard School prepares to open in West Orange. The private preschool and kindergarten teaches 65,000 students between the ages if 6 weeks and 6 years in 460 schools across 36 states. With 65 locations in New Jersey, the West Orange school will be only the second in Essex County; the other school is in Millburn.

The Goddard School will open at the site of the closed Mt. Fuji restaurant, after knocking down the current building. The restaurant has been closed for nearly a decade, and the site has been vacant for just as long.

According to West Orange construction official Tom Tracey in an April 16 phone interview with the West Orange Chronicle, the Goddard School construction will include parking as well as the new school building.

“The building permit is expected to be issued in May,” Kristina Nasuti, the media relations specialist for the Goddard School, said in an email to the Chronicle on April 16. “Once the building permit is issued, and the site cleared for demolition, the building will be fully demolished to make way for the newly constructed Goddard School. It’s scheduled to open in 2019.”

According to Nasuti, the school will have occupancy for 136 children. Opening a location in West Orange is the next step in expanding the system of schools.

“The Goddard School located in West Orange will provide area children with a comprehensive, play-centered curriculum that provides the best educational environment for a child’s cognitive, emotional, physical and social development,” she said. “The preschool’s proprietary curricular framework, the F.L.EX. Learning Program — Fun Learning Experience — is grounded in research on how children learn while having fun. By opening a location in West Orange, we’re expanding our footprint to a community The Goddard School wasn’t currently serving.”

Photos by Amanda Valentovic