Colchester Cooperative Nursery School (CCNS) is a fully licensed, non-profit, non-denominational preschool for children starting at 3 years of age. We offer morning and afternoon classes Monday through Friday, and can often be flexible to meet parents’ scheduling needs.
Colchester Cooperative Nursery School strictly adheres to all COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions established by local, state and federal health agencies, and the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood.
Michelle Donahue is the head teacher. In September 2023, Michelle will be starting her 33rd year at the CCNS. This was Michelle’s first teaching job out of college and she immediately fell in love with the CCNS. She found it the perfect fit for her love of teaching and being able to strike to right balance between social development and educational development. Her passion for teaching our children is apparent in everything she does. She has a knack for making each child feel special and nurturing their individual talents. She is a fair and compassionate teacher, and loves getting to know each family.
Michelle also continues with her education by attending workshops put on by C3 (Collaborative for Colchester’s Children), and attends various workshops online presented by CREC. She was asked by CREC in January 2021 to present a workshop on Building Child and Family Resilience. During her tenure with CCNS, Michelle has established a great working relationship with the Colchester school system, including the kindergarten team. She makes sure that the students off to kindergarten have the social, emotional and readiness skills to be successful. Michelle resides in Portland Ct. with her husband and 4 grown children, who all attended CCNS. She is actively involved in her community. This includes the chairman of Youth Services in Portland, Pre-K soccer coach for her local soccer club, and a member of the Economic Development committee.
Linda Eselunas is the assistant teacher, who is celebrating her 31st year at CCNS. She is essential to the day-to-day operations of the classroom, and her love of children shines through with her creativity and handiwork in the classroom. She is a caring and loving teacher and has a great rapport with the parents. Linda took courses at Three River Community College and got her teaching certificate. She continues with her education on a regular basis by attending workshops put on by C3 (Collaborative for Colchester’s Children). Linda is CPR and First Aid certified.
She resides in Lebanon with her husband and has two grown children and two grandchildren. Linda is a master quilter. She brings her talents into the classroom everyday with amazing creativity and love of art.
Mrs. Donahue & Mrs. "E"
Brittany Spalla has joined CCNS as our second assistant teacher. After 15+ years in various childcare settings, she is excited to be joining our school! She is very passionate about the importance of letting children enjoy their childhood through creative expression, outdoor play and free play.
Brittany has received her associates degree in science at Manchester Community College while completing 12 additional early childhood education (ECE) credits. She looks forward to continuing her education towards a bachelor's in ECE, her Head Teacher Certification, as well as general education through CREC & OEC.
She has been a Colchester resident since 1999, attended Colchester schools and looks forward to helping the next generation of children prepare themselves for kindergarten!
Colchester Cooperative Nursery School was founded in 1960 by the late Dorothy Johnston of Colchester. "Dot" began a playgroup for preschoolers who would meet in the basement of a church. The group of mothers realized that there were no educational facilities in town for preschool children. Dot decided to start a cooperative nursery school with other parents from the playgroup. She established the curriculum, became the teacher, hired an aide and opened the school. Dot was the head teacher for nearly two decades.
Day Hall was originally the old Bacon Academy's auditorium and home economics room. When the new Bacon Academy was completed in 1962, there was no more need for Day Hall to be used for the high school. The venue was perfect for a nursery school, with the auditorium and stage. Word got around and the school grew. Parents loved the idea of a Cooperative Nursery School; a place where they could take part in their child's education.
CCNS has been providing quality preschool education for Colchester-area children for over 60 years!
The building that houses Colchester Cooperative Nursery School has a rich history all its own!
Day Hall was built in 1857-1858. It was originally part of the chapel for the Congregational Church and was used as a church hall.
It was named after Edward M. Day, a Hartford attorney who had donated money for remodeling in 1929.
After renovations were completed, the building was donated by Mr. Day to the old Bacon Academy next door. It was used for various purposes by the high school until the new Bacon Academy was built in 1962.
Its long use for education purposes and the community continues to this day as the Coop!
John Warner Barber’s Views of Connecticut Towns, 1834-36 by John Warner Barber, Wesleyan University Press, 1990
We are committed to each child achieving his/her highest potential academically, socially, and emotionally. In pursuing the mission we believe:
Our warm and nurturing atmosphere enables the child to express themselves through play and interaction. Opportunities for learning are provided according to the child's individual needs and interests.
Each day the children are welcomed into the classroom with a smile by their teachers and enjoy free play time. We recognize that each child adjusts to school in their own way. Parents and our teachers work together to make this transition as comfortable as possible.
This structured time encourages the children to raise their hands, take turns and share personal space.
Discussions include the calendar, job assignments, weather, snack and the book of the day.
Three groups of children rotate through three activities:
1. Art project
2. Fine motor skill project; such as cutting, gluing, drawing or measuring
3. Playtime; including dress-up, puzzles, playdough, blocks, pretend kitchen, and an indoor sand box.
Social skills such as problem solving, negotiation, cooperation, taking turns, listening and teamwork are practiced during this time.
Parents / Guardians are welcome to attend all special events.
Our teacher's certifications include:
The staff maintains their certifications and extends their learning by attending workshops, training sessions and credited classes. Our head teacher also participates in the Colchester School Readiness Council's Kindergarten Transition Committee.
Any family that wants to be actively involved in their child's education is welcome in the cooperative. This enables us to create a continuity link for children between their homes and school. It also enables us to keep operating costs to a minimum.
Parents are expected to work in the classroom at least four times a year, serve on a school committee, pay tuition on time, clean the school once a year and participate in fund-raising. Have an idea of how you would like to help? Talk to us! There are many ways a parent or guardian can help the cooperative, utilize their talents and help build a strong CCNS community!
The purpose of Nursery School is to ensure practical learning that promotes individual growth in a world of security and acceptance for one's self and others.
Opportunities for learning are provided according to the child's individual needs and include:
• Building self-awareness
• The ability to cope with failure as well as success
• Use of materials correctly
• Large and small motor coordination and other physical activities
• Awareness of and interaction with their environment
• Spatial relationships
• Quantitative understanding (classifying, sorting, measuring)
• Problem solving
• Language development (speaking clearly, understanding clearly and following directions)
• Sensory awareness (smelling, tasting, feeling and hearing)
• Building creativity - encouragement of self-expression through art, music, dramatization and movement exploration.
The Colchester Cooperative Nursery School has a curriculum guide which parents can see if they would like to know specific areas of learning and how they are taught. Our teachers are also there to answer any questions you may have regarding the curriculum.
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