The view through a piece of play equipment in the Music and Movement Room is seen at the new Best Beginnings location on Thursday, June 22, in Collegedale, Tenn. A tour was given of the new location to the Times Free Press.

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Best Beginnings opens in Collegedale


Five-day costs:

* Infants: $225

* Toddlers: $220

* Early Learner I (24-30 months): $216

* Early Learner II (30-36 months): $210

* Pre-school: $198

* Pre-kindergarten: $194

Source: Best Beginnings


Citing a need for a new child care center in the fast-growing Collegedale area, Best Beginnings has opened another early learning school.

The new location, Best Beginnings' third in the Chattanooga area, was built on Ooltewah-Ringgold Road after several families said they had to travel relatively long distances to find its level of services, said co-owner David Taslimi.

"The building was designed to serve children," said Taslimi, who owns Best Beginnings with his parents, Maurice and Pat. "It was built top to bottom with that in mind."

Maurice Taslimi said about $2 million was invested in the new site, which sits on about a 1.6-acre parcel.

"We've put a lot of time and energy into it," he said, adding the family has about 28 years of experience in the field.

The elder Taslimi said that education in the first five years weighs heavily in a person's personality.

"We understand the responsibility," he said. "We take it seriously."

Anna Ensley, the new site's program director, said the center is accepting children from six weeks to 5 years old. It's licensed to serve youth up to age 12 and provide an after-school program, though it's studying to determine if that's a need, she said.

Outside, the building has a modern, playful look with building blocks serving as posts for a covered driveway. Inside, murals are painted on hallway walls, while individual rooms have place-name themes at the child-care center designed by Ronnie Rothwell.

"Every little detail was selected to energize their development," Ensley said.

The curriculum is done in a hands-on way, which can't be carried out at franchise-owned schools, she said. Often, the curriculum in a franchise is crafted in another state by people who don't know the children on a developmental level, said Ensley, who has been at Best Beginnings for 11 years.

David Taslimi said that while the Collegedale site is licensed for 200 children, plans are to limit enrollment so it doesn't near that number. Best Beginnings other locations have about 100 children each, he said.

Taslimi said that while he was raised in Chattanooga, his parents are originally from Iran. After the revolution in 1979, they moved to France where they practiced law, he said.

Immigrating to the United States in 1988, his parents came to Chattanooga because an uncle had a medical practice, Taslimi said.

Needing a pre-school, they were disappointed at that experience and decided to open one themselves, which was called Lillyland Learning Center, he said. Today, there are Best Beginnings schools in Hixson and on Hickory Valley Road.

"There's a lot of differences between practicing law and this," Maurice Taslimi said. "We've got no regrets whatsoever."

Contact Mike Pare at or 423-757-6318.