Chapter 1 – The Cranium Concept
The story of Cranium Academy began in 2002. Allison and Eddie Gray were visiting preschools and private schools, searching for the perfect place for their daughter. They were frustrated with what seemed to be very basic curriculum offered at even the top rated schools.
In addition to ABC’s and 123’s, they wondered why young children weren’t exposed to more advanced concepts, and subjects like astronomy and physics, in a way that was challenging and fun? Entrepreneurs at heart, they wanted their children to learn to think outside of the box and discover their own love of learning.
After visiting countless preschools and private schools, they realized some seemed very good at play, while others seemed good at academics. Some believed in child-led discovery, while others swore by teacher-led activities. They began researching strengths and weaknesses of different educational approaches from traditional to Montessori to play-based learning programs. They wondered why parents had to choose, and why children could not benefit from various approaches.
Eddie and Allison wholeheartedly believed in the critical thinking aspects of Montessori teaching methods. They were excited about the Montessori approach to learning through discovery rather than memorization. But they also felt children could benefit from the routines and teacher-led activities of more traditional approaches.
Then there was technology. Throughout Eddie’s corporate career, he worked for technology companies in Silicon Valley. He knew strategically using the latest technology, in combination with hands-on discovery, would be critical in helping to prepare children for success in the 21st century. He believed technology could be used to customize elements of each child’s curriculum, so every child could reach his or her true learning potential.
So they set out on a mission to create a program that would revolutionize education, molding the best aspects of various philosophies into one innovative private school experience with a completely unique approach to learning. Their vision was to ignite an educational revolution, which prepares each student, like no other program around, to become the best critical thinkers and leaders of their generation.
Chapter 2 – The Community Responds, and Cranium Expands
The original facility opened its doors in the Dr. Phillips area of Orlando, Florida in 2004, (called FasTracKids) offering tutoring and critical thinking focused classes with less than 2,000 sq. ft. and only two classrooms.
Due to the overwhelming response, they quickly expanded. A preschool program was added, and the name changed to Cranium Clubhouse. Before long, with nothing more than word-of-mouth referrals, there was a three-year waiting list. In April of 2009, Cranium Clubhouse moved into a much larger space with over 10,000 sq. ft. The new facility in Winter Garden, just outside of Windermere in southwest Orlando, continued to expand.
In August of 2012, after years of being asked to offer elementary school, a K-2nd grade program was added. Cranium Clubhouse transitioned to Cranium Academy, offering preschool through fifth grade, summer camps, birthday parties, after school programs, and more. Today, over 30 exceptional teachers and staff members stand united in Cranium Academy’s mission to inspire creativity, critical thinking, character and leadership to over 260 students.
To reach even more families, the first Cranium Academy franchise is currently enrolling and set to open in Lake Nona, Florida in August of 2015. Owners Charlotte and John Jebailey were so impressed with the education their child was receiving at the Winter Garden location that they wanted to share the Cranium Academy experience with the families of Lake Nona.
The Next Chapter – Help Us Write It
Cranium Academy’s focus has always been on creating the very best experience for each family, the type of experience parents will want to share with others. In doing so, we continue to grow and reach more families. Eddie and Allison are grateful for each student, parent, and teacher that has played a part in the story of Cranium Academy over the years. And the story continues…
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Cranium Academy offers a completely unique preschool through fifth grade private school experience, plus unforgettable summer camps, birthday parties, after school programs, and more! Now serving more of the Orlando area with our Winter Garden – Windermere location, and another location (opening August 2015) in Lake Nona, Florida.