After more than 40 years serving the families of Wellington, Little Place and Little Place Too are now under new ownership and have a new name. New owners Frank and Olivia Toral have rebranded the longstanding preschools as Neighborhood Kids.
Previous owner Susan Russell opened the first Little Place location in 1978, followed by the Little Place Too in 1987. She has now passed the torch to the Torals.
“The owner was an incredible lady who has left an incredible legacy, and she waited for the right buyer,” Frank said. “When Olivia and I told her the vision that we had for the schools, that we want to honor the foundation which she has built, and we wanted to take the schools to the next level, she felt that we were the right couple to buy the school.”
The Torals moved to Wellington in January 2017 after spending most of their lives in the Broward County area. They came with the mission of founding a church ministry.
“We started Promise Life Chapel. I’m a bi-vocational pastor — I work, and I’m the lead pastor of the church. I’ve been a lawyer my entire life. I had my own practice for more than 20 years, but I didn’t want to go back to practicing law,” Frank said. “Olivia and I were really thinking and praying about an opportunity where we can love on families. That aligns with what we are doing in our ministry.”
Moving to Wellington proved to be where the Toral family was meant to be.
“I was born and raised in Davie, but I feel like I’m more rooted here in three years,” Olivia said. “My favorite thing about the schools are the family feel when you walk into them. You feel the love; that’s what drew us here. The staff has smiles on their faces, and their arms are open to embrace the children. They know all the kids by name.”
The Torals were happy to keep the school staff intact, opting to support the programs’ already invested team.
“We had our first staff meeting where both schools were brought together, and that was the first time in many years,” Frank said. “We have multiple ladies who have been here 30-plus years, and I would say the average tenure of teachers here is 10 years. That is incredible.”
Existing clients will see upgrades to the facility and curriculum over the coming months. One change is the use of the Abeka curriculum, a leader in phonics instruction.
“We are also implementing an organic food meal plan. No preservatives, no food coloring, organic and all local, fresh fruits and vegetables. We are a nut-free school, too, which is important,” said Olivia, a mother of two who understands the difficulties parents face when dropping their kids off at a childcare facility. “We have a closed-camera system on site and use a fingerprint log-in when kids are checked in and checked out.”
The Torals’ vision for the school includes helping children realize their full potential as preschool students. They not only prepare them for kindergarten, but also partner with parents and grandparents to be involved in their children’s growth.
“Serving families is our ‘why.’ We didn’t come up here to start a preschool. We came up here to minister to families,” Frank said. “And this gives us an incredible opportunity to do just that. To show people God’s unconditional love, that no matter who you are, you are welcome here.”
One way of gathering families together includes the upcoming open house events planned to take place at the Neighborhood Kids’ Greenbriar Blvd. location. On Saturday, Jan. 11 and Saturday, Jan. 25, from 9 to 11 a.m., Neighborhood Kids will welcome families to enjoy bounce houses, music, snow cones and more.
“Ultimately, we want to bring a faith component to the school at some point in the future,” Frank said. “We would like to teach children about the love of God and how he has a plan for families and for kids. We think that one of the best investments we can make in this community, and in the lives of families, is to share the love of God with their little ones.”
Neighborhood Kids has two locations: 2995 Greenbriar Blvd. and 1040 Wellington Trace, both in Wellington. The Greenbriar facility offers care for children starting at four months old, while the Wellington Trace preschool accepts children at two years of age. Both sites are currently accepting enrollment.
For questions, or to schedule a site tour of Neighborhood Kids at 2995 Greenbriar Blvd., call (561) 790-0808. To reach the 1040 Wellington Trace location, call (561) 793-5860. Both facilities are open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. In December, Neighborhood Kids will launch its social media and web site at www.neighborhoodkids.net.