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At Moorpark Firm, Kids Learn While Parents Work : Workplace: G.T. Water Products has operated a school for employees' children since 1987. About a dozen youngsters are enrolled now.

January 10, 1995|SCOTT HADLY | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

He does some scheduling of studies so that no academic areas are ignored, but generally the children decide what to learn and when. The afternoons are often reserved for special field trips to such places as the Getty Museum or nearby parks.

Although the students seem to excel in the self-paced, intimate learning environment, they know that they miss out on what students at larger schools take for granted. There is no homecoming, no junior and senior prom, and very few youths to socialize with.

Feeling he was missing out on a cornerstone of teen culture, Adam considered enrolling in a larger public or private school. "I almost left for a social life," he said.

But since that period of doubt, the school has started group activities with another private school that has students Adam's age.

To attend the school, children must be at least 4 1/2 years old and have parents who work at G.T. To accept children under 4, the school would have to go through a much more rigid licensing, and would likely have to hire additional teachers or a day-care provider.

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As it now stands, the company spends about $50,000 a year to cover school supplies and teacher Brian Kearsey's salary. Resa Brown, the school's director, gives her time in exchange for free education for her three children.

It is money well spent by the company, say employees, even those who don't have children.

Rhonda Dinivus, who works in the shipping department, said she likes to stop by the school on her breaks. The children all know her. On her birthday they brought her candy. She said the school improves the work atmosphere.

"And on my break I can come by if I need a hug," she said. "It's the best place I've ever worked."

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