“You can’t argue with education.”
In the course of a 20 minute conversation, Rebecca Reindl repeats this phrase about a half-dozen times. It is, one might suspect, a mantra now for her and her business, Imagine That. Opening in Ventura Aug. 30, it is, in the simplest terms, a day-care center. In actual application, however, it is much more. Sick of having to hire a babysitter every time she wanted a few hours to herself, Reindl conceived of a place where a parent could leave their child and not only feel secure in doing so but know the kid is being enriched rather than simply watched.
And, what’s more, it is infinitely more affordable than the independently contracted teenager down the street.
“It’s a guilt-free spin on child care,” Reindl says.
Reindl is familiar with the twinge of guilt she refers to from her own experiences as a mother of 6- and 1-year-old daughters, the sense of self-reproach that comes when leaving her young ones to go shopping or get a haircut or eat lunch with her husband. Imagine That seeks to eliminate those feelings by providing an environment based on learning, fun and, yes, thriftiness. For rates as low as $6 per hour, local moms and dads can drop their tykes off for up to four hours.
In that time, the children can participate in classes centered around a number of activities, including Kids Yoga, Hip-Hop-Bop Dance, Mixed-Media Art and Ceramics, as well as programs dedicated to Kindergarten preparedness for pre-schoolers, increasing their social lives with arranged playdates and reading, writing and math.
As for the adults doing the dropping-off, Imagine That offers amenities for them, too: an organic children’s clothing boutique; a spa room; an on-site esthetician providing waxes, facials and eyebrow shaping; and a lounge featuring gourmet coffee and wireless Internet.
For Reindl, the whole deal is designed to be a win-win situation (and, if anyone grows suspicious about that fact, a Webcam streaming real-time images from inside the classrooms will be set up so parents can monitor what their children are actually doing).
“You’re paying for the enrichment of the child,” she says, “while at same time benefiting yourself, so you can go to the mall and get your makeup [shopping] done at Macy’s without a child tugging on your arm because they want to get a pretzel.”
Of course, a huge selling point for Reindl is the affordability of the entire Imagine That package. That should not be surprising: She has an MBA in Business Administration, and beyond that, she knows people are watching their wallets more carefully these days.
“The economy is tight; we’re approaching if not already in a recession. [Child care] requires disposable income, but at the same time it’s necessary for every parent. Every parent needs time away to be alone while the kids are taken care of.
“And when people cut into own personal budgets,” she continues, “they still find money to put children in classes, which are hard to find in Ventura, too. Ours are less [costly] than the large majority of classes.”
Reindl has some special things planned for the opening. The Ventura Fire Department is scheduled to be on-site to dedicated a special playhouse sporting a 6-foot-high pole for the children to slide down. And she is running a promotion with local radio station B95.1 offering to treat four couples to dinner while Imagine That watches after their kids.
If all goes well, Reindl has considered a few ideas for possible expansion. For right now, though, it’s all about the learning. Because you can’t argue with education.
“There so many different elements, I’d like to see them run smoothly for the first month,” she says. “For everyone who walks in door, I want the experience to be smooth.”
Imagine That is located at 4255 E. Main St., Ventura. For more information, call 642-KIDS or visit www.imaginethatventura.com.