Perfect fit: Calvary Kindergarten to reopen with a new partner – NESS Foundation | Daily News Alerts
STONINGTON – After a year of closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the venerable Calvary Kindergarten, a Stonington institution, will reopen next fall with a new community partner.
The school – nestled in the heart of Stonington Borough – will reopen in collaboration with a neighbor, the New England Science & Sailing Foundation. It’s a partnership that has generated a lot of enthusiasm in both organizations, according to preschool president Dana Dupont.
“This is where the fun happened,” said a smiling Dupont one morning last week as she stood in the school’s main classroom with Eric Isselhardt, executive director of education at the Foundation for Science and Sailing; and Reverend Gillan Barr, Rector Calvary Episcopal Church, recalling the pre-pandemic era when the space was full of activity.
This is where the fun will start again next fall, she said. Here, inside Church Street headquarters, and a few blocks from the foundation’s headquarters on Water Street, the three agreed by discussing plans for the collaboration and how it all came together. square.
Because Spike Lobdell, Founder and CEO of the Science and Sailing Foundation, is also a member of the church’s sacristy, Dupont explained, a conversation about the two organizations working together started almost organically. Once Dupont started chatting with Megan Strand, the foundation’s program director, the idea of a possible collaboration took a giant leap forward.
“It will be an adaptation of the existing program,” said Ms. Dupont, who has served on the school board for seven years and is currently in her third chair. “We will always be based on play and nature.”
“It’s a natural fit,” said Isselhardt, who has over 25 years of leadership experience in nonprofit and for-profit educational organizations. “It was such a low elevator.”
Both the preschool and the foundation are focused on experiential learning, said Isselhardt, who served as CEO of Calvert Education and academic director of the Green Street Academy Foundation, where he designed a learning program. based on projects linked to common core standards. “and a” student first “approach.
“One child at a time,” he said with a broad smile. “The child right in front of you.”
“The partnership is a natural interweaving of Calvary’s focus on creating awareness and appreciation of the natural world and our role within it with NESS’s four core values of inclusion, l ‘learning through experience, personal growth and stewardship,’ said Lauren Lyons, the foundation’s director of administrative services and advancement, in a statement released last week.
The preschool, founded in 1994 with the mission of fostering the development of every child in a safe and inspiring learning environment, will offer the foundation’s ocean adventure education programs to their students this coming school year. .
Foundation educators and Calvary teachers will work closely together to develop lessons that will include the Foundation’s Accredited Curriculum, a program that is linked to both Connecticut’s Early Childhood Learning and Development Standards and to CASEL’s social-emotional learning standards, Lyons said.
“Calvaire Kindergarten students will participate in two NESS programs per week throughout the school year, while participating in the beloved traditions of Calvaire Kindergarten,” she added.
Dupont said the decision to close the preschool last year due to the pandemic had been a difficult task for the school board, hence the ability to welcome families again while expanding learning opportunities outside campus with NESS is a delight. The board is in the process of hiring a new head teacher, staff, enrolling the kids and “planning an exciting year”.
An open house is scheduled at Calvary Nursery School on Sunday, June 6, and applications are being accepted for the two, three and five and a half day programs.
“It will be so exciting to have kids back on campus,” said Barr, who became Calvary Church’s first female rector in 2019. “And it’s exciting to officially partner with NESS.
After all, Barr pointed out, the Episcopal Church is pro-science and pro-nature.
The New England Science & Sailing Foundation is a nationally recognized, award-winning, nonprofit ocean adventure education organization with a mission to empower students to learn through Ocean-based experiential programs that serve schools, teachers and families. The foundation is known for providing a unique educational model that equips students with leadership, teamwork, confidence and problem-solving skills to ensure academic success through programs in marine science, sailing, power boating and adventure sports.
The Calvary Nursery School was founded in 1994 by a group of parents from the Calvary Episcopal Church who wanted to create a “dream nursery school”. They believed that complementary teaching philosophies – including the Waldorf and Reggio Emilia approaches – would provide a well-rounded curriculum and give each child the opportunity to learn in an environment better suited to their strengths. Instilling values of faith, hope, love, service and forgiveness was also important in providing children with a base from which to interact and move forward in the world, they said.
From the start, the school has evolved, but it has remained true to honoring the traditions and philosophies that continue to influence the culture of the school.
Because the school’s philosophy is that young children imitate and absorb their environment, Calvary takes special care to create an environment that is beautiful, harmonious and secure. A natural aesthetic is always maintained – from the use of simple, handcrafted toys in the classroom, to the emphasis on the outdoor environment and traditional seasonal holiday celebrations.