Pennsylvania-based preschool education provider Goddard Systems Inc. (GSI), the franchisor of The Goddard School, will increase its footprint in Northwest Arkansas this fall when a fourth location opens at 3703 S.W. H St. in Bentonville. The company’s third Northwest Arkansas franchise opened in June at 3420 W. Mount Comfort Road in Fayetteville, the city’s second Goddard location.
Leila Burkert and Ellen Hillis own the two newest locations, respectively.
The Goddard School, launched in 1988, has more than 70,000 students enrolled nationwide, ages six weeks to 6 years. GSI has franchised over 560 preschools in 38 states.
Spencer Hill owns a Rogers location that opened in 2020. Brooks Coatney opened the state’s first Goddard School in 2017 in Fayetteville and has an ownership stake in three of the four Northwest Arkansas locations. Besides sharing a bond as Goddard operators, Coatney and Hill were previously Arkansas high school football coaches.
Goddard also has a Little Rock location.
The Goddard School in Bentonville will serve about 140 children and have approximately 20 faculty and staff. The building has an indoor gym, shaded playgrounds and an outdoor garden. The facility also has the latest sanitization technologies, and all preschool and pre-K classrooms are equipped with interactive technology systems.
Burkert said the building’s design, completed by Dave Burris Architecture of Bentonville, is unique compared to other locations. She said it focuses on window sizes and ceiling height details to bring more natural light into nine classrooms, hallways and office spaces.
Adapting Bentonville’s art culture in the lobby was also emphasized. The centerpiece upon entry — illuminated by the natural light pouring in from the large upper windows — is a mural painted by local artist Jason James.
Like other Goddard locations, the school uses a learning program called Fun Learning Experience, or F.L.EX. The play-based curriculum, developed by early childhood education experts, is intended to provide the best childhood preparation for social and academic success.
They also have STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math, specifically targeting fast-growing industries in the United States.