When Orange Community Nursery School moves back into its newly renovated space at High Plains Community Center for the next school year, a new location will be opening in Woodbridge. Last summer, faced with finding a new space to run the school while renovations were underway at the community center, OCNS landed at The First Church of Christ in Woodbridge. Finding success and a perfect fit in that location, the school’s administration decided to add a second permanent campus next school year to meet the growing needs of families in Woodbridge, Bethany and even Seymour and Naugatuck who had been driving to the Orange location.
“We really felt so welcomed by the Town of Woodbridge and the church itself, which has just been so lovely to us with the whole last-minute transition and relocation. They were so kind and helpful. It’s such a nice space for the school,” said Danielle Hoddinott, OCNS Director.
“We’re very excited. We have a lot of families who are returning with us to the Orange location and we do have openings for new students, as well,” she said. “It’s going to be exciting for us to come back to the new space in Orange.”
OCNS offers programs for three-, four- and five-year-olds. The five-year-old program is a kindergarten readiness program which will continue at the Orange location, but not at the Woodbridge location just yet.
“It’s for those five-year-old kids with the late fall birthdays. Some need an extra year before going to kindergarten. Having been a former elementary school teacher, I saw students who didn’t get the extra year of preschool still struggling in the upper grades,” she says.
The five-year-old program was started when Orange switched from an extended day of kindergarten to a full day. “It became even more important for those children who needed the extra year then,” Hoddinott said.
OCNS can accommodate 16 three-year-olds, 18 four-year-olds and 12 five-year olds. “We like to keep our classes on the smaller size. We can, with state regulations, go a little higher, but we like to keep the teacher to child ratio very low, and the class sizes intimate,” she said. The new Woodbridge location can accommodate 11 students, in both, the four- and five-year-old programs. Each class will have two teachers. A new head teacher and assistant teacher will be hired for the Woodbridge location.
She said the new school will offer the same program, the same philosophy and play-based program, all run by former elementary school teachers, reading specialists or in some way involved with childcare for a great deal of time.
“We’re excited about the new Woodbridge location, but also can’t wait to move back into our space in Orange and get back to business in our home town! We want everyone to know that we’re still here and we are coming back—with an extra added bonus of the Woodbridge location to serve families on the Orange/Woodbridge line,” Hoddinott said. OCNS is in its 62nd year serving Orange and surrounding communities.
By Melissa Nicefaro – Orange Town News Correspondent