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Day Care Center Expanding into Valhalla Later This Year

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Mark and Vivian Mathias, co-owners of the Lightbridge Academy location in Valhalla that will be moving into a Legion Drive building next winter, participate in a ceremonial groundbreaking last week.

Typically, if a parent is impressed with the care and attention provided at their child’s day care center, they might spread word of their experience on social media or agree to be a reference for other families to contact.

Mark Mathias was so impressed with Lightbridge Academy when his children went there that he became a franchise owner.

Now, the Scarsdale resident, along with his wife Vivian who have operated a Lightbridge Academy in their home community since January 2023, is adding a second location at 26 Legion Drive in Valhalla. It is expected to open before the end of the calendar year.

“It’s a close-knit community and I think you can never have enough quality child care,” said Mathias, who is also a co-owner of The Barley House restaurant in Thornwood. “I know there are several really good locations of child care centers in the area, but I think you can always use more quality child care.”

The 12,000-square-foot building that is in the midst of being remodeled will have capacity for up to 143 children from six weeks to five years old, Mathias said. For families with two working parents, being open for 12 hours Monday through Friday, from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., provides the flexibility needed in today’s busy world.

Mathias said parents or guardians can pick up or drop off anytime during that 12-hour window and can adjust their times from day to day, if needed.

“I hear from a lot of parents right now, being open from 6:30 in the morning to 6:30 in the evening has been a huge differentiation,” Mathias said. “So many places are open 8 to 4 and that doesn’t help anybody with two-income families.”

Craig Murray, Lightbridge Academy’s chief development officer, said with most families today requiring two incomes to make ends meet, especially in Westchester, it becomes imperative that there be more top-notch day care facilities.

He said Lightbridge not only provides excellent care, but uses a STEM-based curriculum for children who are of preschool age. That has been popular among parents, helping to get their children ready for when they enter elementary school, he said.

“It’s a great curriculum that we prepare our children for the next step in education,” Murray said.

Mark and Vivian Mathias, the owners and operators of what will be Lightbridge Academy’s new Valhalla location, present a $500 check to representatives of the nearby American Legion post during last week’s ceremonial groundbreaking for the day care facility.

Parents can choose from two-, three- and five-day plans, according to Mathias. The two-day week is Tuesday and Thursday while the three-day week is Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Families can send along a lunch with their child or they may buy from a vendor that Lightbridge contracts with.

The building will be equipped with the highest standards of safety features, including surveillance cameras and facial recognition, Mathias said.

Lightbridge Academy, which operates more than 150 locations nationwide, including a big push in the Southeast, is required to comply with state staffing regulations, which are based on age, he said.

Since the couple has one location already in Scarsdale, they will be able to train staff at the existing facility before the Valhalla location opens, said Renata Hackert, the director in Scarsdale.

“The core values and the mission and vision remain that same, and the children are the center of care, and parents are participating, and teachers and the whole community supports the education component,” Hackert said.

Lightbridge Academy also has another location in Elmsford that is operated by a different franchisee.

Ready to make their entrance into Valhalla is crucial for families that typically don’t want to have a day care facility more than a few miles away, Mathias said.

“The families have really been excited. We’re filling up quickly,” he said. “We’re thrilled about how it’s gone the first year-and-a-half in Scarsdale.”

For more information about Lightbridge Academy, visit


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