Parents on Guam will soon have another option for enhancing their children’s development and the island will gain another franchise business.

Island Kids Music Co. under the guidance of franchise operator Gretchen Hatcher will be opening its doors in March 2005. The child development center will offer the Kindermusik International curricula a program that integrates music movement and parental interaction to enhance the development of children from newborn to age 7.

Hatcher identified the opportunity to establish a child development center on Guam when she was seeking arrangements for her own children. Finding most local day-care centers at full capacity she said “If they’re all full then there has to be a need somewhere for this age group.”

Island Kids Music Co. will be offering classes three times a day through the week serving five to eight students per class. Hatcher anticipates demand for at least two locations on Guam. “Our goal is [to open] one center with four or five teachers near the naval base at Apra Harbor with another northern location slated to be up and running within a year ” she said. Staff positions will be part time initially with the development of full-time positions as the business matures. Training costs $399 and is conducted on-line.

Hatcher said the Kindermusik philosophy suggests that “through movement music and the way we project our voices and the different instruments that we use it helps the kids learn social skills in all the different aspects of the brain their language their physical movement and their growth.” In addition she said the No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 stated “Studying music encourages self discipline and diligence — traits that carry over into mathematics science foreign languages civics and government economics arts history and geography.”

Over the years Kindermusik International has won acclaim for its original approach and successes. Referred to as the “General Motors” of its field by the Wall Street Journal Kindermusik International was awarded the Parents’ Choice Fall 2001 Approved Winner commendation the Parents’ Choice Spring 2001 Recommended Award and the Directors’ Choice Award from Early Childhood News in the same year.

Dan Pratt founded Kindermusik International more than 28 years ago and is headquartered in Greensboro N.C. The company joined the ESOP Association in March 2002 when its 55 employees bought the company from the original 96 investors and owners. Today Kindermusik is 100% employee owned. In 2003 it won the Young ESOP Total Communications Program award for helping employee-owners understand its stock ownership plan.

According to its Web site Kindermusik International is the world’s leading publisher of music and movement curricula for parents and their children. Worldwide more than 5 000 licensed educators use the Kindermusik curricula in more than 35 countries reaching more than one million families. Hatcher can be reached at 564-1920. MBJ