A former sanctuary and meeting room for Saugatuck Congregational Church is now Saugatuck Nursery School's third classroom. The space, one floor above the other classrooms, was needed to meet a trend in early childhood education, which is to offer programming for 2-year-olds.
"We were the only school (in town) that did not have a 2s program," said Ellen DeHuff, executive director of Saugatuck Nursery School at 245 Post Road East.
While the Planning and Zoning Commission granted special permit and site plan approval for the additional classroom Oct. 13, the room conversion took place over the summer.
"A contractor didn't check off that the school would be increasing capacity," said Planning & Zoning Director Larry Bradley. When the mistake was realized, a special permit and site plan application was requested, as the zoning permit stated the renovated room could not be used as an expansion of the nursery school.
Even with the added classroom, the nursery school is still the smallest in town, "which we love because every teacher knows every student and their family whether or not they're in their class, said Ellen DeHuff, the school's executive director.
"It's a small nurturing kind of atmosphere," she said.
Saugatuck Nursery School, which offers enrichment programs such as yoga, music, Zumba (dance-based exercise) and field trips, added four staff this year to bring the total number to 10.
Teacher Carrie Lozyniak is excited by the addition of 2-year-olds to the school.
"It will be nice to (have children) for three years," she said. "It will make for a stronger school community."
The school will register children in November for the 2s program next year. As for this current year, there are still some open slots for the 4s program.
For more information, call 203-226-9192.