Raja Davidarulappan looked at dozens of potential locations before settling on Cary for his new child care facility.
“27519 is, I think, one of the fastest growing ZIP codes in the country,” he said. “The median age is 32 to 34 and there is lots of growth.”
He decided it would be ideal for a Children’s Lighthouse Learning Center.
The program, based in Fort Worth, Texas, emphasizes character values and a well-rounded child. Davidarulappan said that philosophy aligns with his own.
“I was comfortable working with a company with the same mindset,” he said.
Davidarulappan, a native of India, immigrated to the United States in 1989 with his wife and daughter. After a stint in Massachusetts, the family moved to Tennessee, where he and his wife earned master’s degrees in computer science and nursing, respectively. They moved to North Carolina in 1998, where Davidarulappan worked in the computer science field.
He said there is no comparing the Northeast to the Southeast.
“I love it here,” he said.
The corporate world was taxing, he said, with unpredictable hours and lots of travel. He waited, however, until his daughter had completed her graduate studies before feeding his own entrepreneurial spirit. With that obligation fulfilled, he said he and his wife were ready to do something for themselves.
“As soon as she finished school, we started this process,” he said.
Children’s Lighthouse, the first in the Triangle, opened Sept. 3. Construction delays prevented Davidarulappan from being ready by the start of public school in Wake County as he had planned. He knows that has affected early enrollment.
The center serves children from 6 weeks to 12 years old. The sparkling facility is outfitted with two cameras in every classroom from which parents can watch a live feed at any time.
“We paid attention to every little thing,” he said of the building.
Every door has a finger guard to prevent injuries. “We tried very hard so Mom feels safe when she leaves her child here.” The front door has a coded entry. Parents are free to enter at will; visitors must be let in by the receptionist.
The playground is fenced into three spaces with equipment for different age groups. New tricycles line the patio.
Davidarulappan has his sights on achieving a superior rating with the state.
“We are doing everything from Day 1 like this is a five-star facility,” he said.
Farrah Dickerson, the center director, says the curriculum keeps children engaged.
“It’s an interactive curriculum,” she said, noting that sign language, Spanish and reading readiness are all incorporated.
Says Davidarulappan: “It is our hope and prayer that each child will be fully ready for elementary school. That’s what we are here for.”
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