Staples, Earthplace preschool opening date pushed back
WESTPORT — Despite plans to open at the beginning of the new year, the newly formed Little Wreckers preschool will not start classes until the fall.
“Our projected start date was Jan. 2. It didn’t work out because most families are already locked into contracts until August, so we were only able to get one enrollee,” said Earthplace preschool director Amee Borys, who is helping manage the partnership between the Westport-based nature discovery center and Staples High School.
The preschool was announced in August after two child development classes and Staples’ in-house preschool program, Play School, were cut after the 2016-17 school year. Superintendent of Schools Colleen Palmer had been notified by the state that Linda McClary, the instructor of Child Development I and II and director of the Play School, did not possess the necessary certification to teach the classes. No other teacher in the district had the certification. McClury was kept on as a full-time teacher, but the classes and program were cut.
Little Wreckers is intended primarily for the children of Westport schools’ faculty and staff, though it is open to all town residents. The hours, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., mirror those of a regular school day. Unlike many preschool programs, Little Wreckers will be open 10 months a year.
“The emphasis is to address the needs of our employees,” said Elio Longo, director of school business operations, who is overseeing the preschool.
Little Wreckers pricing
Full day (7 a.m. to 4 p.m.) tuition:
5 days per week, $12,800 for 10 months
5 full days per week, $1,280 a month
3 full days per week, $768 a month
2 full days per week, $512 a month
Part day (9 a.m. to 1 p.m.) tuition:
5 days per week, $672 a month
3 days per week, $410 per month
2 days per week, $270 per month
As of early January, 11 of the schools’ 16 slots had been filled, all by Staples faculty members.
Little Wreckers will give Staples students interested in early childhood education and teaching an opportunity to work closely with young children while also earning college credit from Norwalk Community College. Earthplace will staff the preschool and oversee its educational curriculum.
“The district is technically the operator, and we are the service provider,” Borys said. “We will be acting as in-class mentors for the Staples students, giving guidance and implementing whatever the goals are for their particular program.
“To me, it’s a groundbreaking program, and I’m happy to be a part of it,” the Earthplace preschool director said.