On July 5, 2023

Forest School opens at Barstow 


New director, teacher hired for 3- to 5-year-olds

Fox Hollow Forest School in Chittenden has hired Jennifer Popp, of Pittsford (the current director of the Pittsford Recreation Center) to be the school’s first director. 

Popp previously owned and ran the Children’s Garden Daycare for 19 years, a highly regarded nature-based childcare program. 

Joining her as lead teacher is Cristy Lauzon, a former kindergarten, grade one and grade two teacher at Barstow Memorial School and a yoga instructor for 3- to 5-year-olds at Mindful Monkeys in Rutland. 

The two teachers have been joyfully welcomed through comments on Fox Hollow’s Facebook page by local community members, many of whom had their own children in one or another’s care in years past.

“I’m very excited for this opportunity to implement and execute a nature-based preschool program,” said Popp. “Nature-based learning is an effective way for children to fulfill their learning potential. I’m very excited to have the opportunity to work with our terrific staff and creators of this endeavor!”

Popp and Lauzon will welcome up to 20 children on site at Barstow Memorial School and conduct the school’s outdoor based program on the grounds of the East Creek Trails, five days a week, year-round. 

Otherwise known as a nature-based preschool, the program conducts the majority of the day outside in nature, using the children’s natural curiosity and nature’s cycles as the foundation to meet VELS learning standards for that age group. It is the only full-time preschool option in the Chittenden/Mendon area and the only nature-based preschool within an hour’s drive of Rutland.

An initial enrollment period closed June 30 with rolling admissions continuing as long as spots are available.

“People keep stopping us at the library or the Wooden Barrel to say what a wonderful team they are,” said board member Kristin Lucas. “These two teachers are the heart and soul of the school and we’re so thrilled to have found such experienced educators who embody the values of curiosity, a love of nature and child-led learning.”

It’s a welcome milestone for Clair Purcell and Kristin Lucas, local Chittenden residents who spent the better part of two years securing a location for the school. The Barstow Memorial School Board approved the leasing of a classroom to the private preschool in May, citing a lack of full time preschool options in the district and the connection of local children who would be attending Barstow for primary school as key drivers for the decision. A Make Way for Kids grant is providing the initial funding for set up.

There will be an open evening for all enrolled and curious families on Thursday, July 13, 6-7 p.m. at Barstow Memorial School, room 107. 

For more information visit foxhollowforestschool.com.

Do you want to submit feedback to the editor?

Send Us An Email!

Related Posts

Robert Hecker appointed to Killington Select Board

May 15, 2024
By Curt Peterson Robert Hecker has been appointed to take Steve Finneron’s seat on the Killington Select Board. The announcement came after an executive session Monday night May 13. The position lasts until next Town Meeting Day vote, when voters will choose the person to fulfill the remaining year of Finneron’s term.  Hecker was one…

Town resolves eminent domain 

May 15, 2024
Deal with landowner called ‘win-win’ By Polly Mikula The town of Killington will not pursue an eminent domain hearing scheduled for May 20, having recently resolved the case with the landowner.  Eva Nagymihaly and her sister, Theresa Rust, own land on the east side at the base of Killington Road to the intersection with Route…

Logging company fined for wetland and water quality impacts in Bridgewater, Thetford

May 15, 2024
The Agency of Natural Resources Dept. of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Vermont Forests, Parks, and Recreation (FPR) announced May 8 that Thomson Timber Harvesting and Trucking LLC (Thompson Timber), a company that performs logging activities in Vermont, was fined $32,550 for violating the Vermont Wetland Rules and failing to follow acceptable management practices (AMPs) for…

Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum celebrates expansion

May 15, 2024
By Polly Mikula Saturday, May 11, Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum held a grand opening celebration from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on Merchants Row downtown. While the museum relocated to its current location (66 Merchants Row) last spring, this was the first time the organization has celebrated that expansion. The move allowed Wonderfeet Kids’ Museum to tripled in size with new…