Teaching the Earliest Learners 8

When Nancy Moya started as a business major in college, little did she know that she would eventually go on to spend 30 years in the early childhood education field.

She has invested her last two and a half years helping children learn and grow as center director at Tutor Time in Lake Zurich.

“The reason I like early childhood (education)… is I feel that it’s the most important years,” Moya said. “We’re helping them develop; we’re guiding their education.”

Tutor Time in Lake Zurich (behind Beelow’s Steakhouse) is offering an innovative and diverse form of learning for kids in the area. The school functions as both a preschool and a before–and-after school program for kids with working parents.

At Tutor Time, teachers work to not only educate their students, but create a love for learning, Moya said. They do this by creating a sense of family at their school, and incorporating different events that allow the staff to better get to know their pupils.

Each teacher employs a four-step technique when it comes to educating their students: observe, assess, create and implement. The staff is then able to see what works best with each student.

Lynn Fenney, a District Manager of Tutor Time, finds the assessment step the most important because it allows the staff to better understand each individual student, enabling them to create and assign lessons that match each student’s own learning pace.

“We really assess each individual child and what learning skills they’ve mastered before we create the lesson plans,” Fenney said.

Unique from most other Tutor Time schools, the Lake Zurich location offers a Montessori program as an alternative to the Tutor Time curriculum.

Moya mentioned that this dual system was especially beneficial for one Tutor Time family who believed that the Montessori approach would fit one of their kids, but not the other. In many cases, the solution may have required sending their children to separate schools.

“They didn’t have to leave us. The family had the option to stay here, versus leaving us to go find something else,” Moya said.

As a way to stay innovative and current, the school effectively uses technology in their classrooms. A communication app enables teachers to take pictures of the children and their activities and send updates to the parents throughout the school day. They also utilize devices like iPads with the children, with a 20-minute limit per child each day.

Fenney said that she is especially proud of Moya and her team at the Lake Zurich Tutor Time, mentioning that they have retained 97% of their families. “They work to really be conscientious of the demands and the needs of each family, and they run a great school here,” Fenney said.

Tutor Time is located at 759 South Rand Road in Lake Zurich, open Mon-Fri 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.  Contact them to schedule a tour at 844.510.8741, or visit their website at