The new daycare that was highly anticipated by parents opened in East Boston this fall has brought a whole new philosophy to caring and educating preschoolers in the neighborhood.
Harbor City School (HCS) is the brainchild of a few local moms that began meeting every Friday at a 303 Cafe-sponsored ‘Mommy and Me’ breakfast hour. The cafe’s program was designed to get local moms together and trade parenting tips and advise.
From there the group of moms began a baby-sitting co-op where each mom in the group would take a turn watching the other mom’s children.
“There was about 13 to 14 parents in the baby sitting club and from there we started to talk about expanding into a full fledged preschool for East Boston,” said Liz Nofziger, an Eastie parent and one of HCS founders and board members. “While it’s a big task to become a non-profit I think we have selected a board that has a wide range of experience in non-profits, fundraising and early childhood education.”
Now in its fourth month at 196 Putnam St. location with director Carissa Hanagriff and co-teacher Peter Bowman the board is hosting an upcoming open house to spark more community interest in the school.
The open house will be held on Wednesday, January 25 from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Parents interested in the school can take a look at the school’s preschool philosophy and even enroll their child.
Building on its parent coop success, HCS parents can be involved in spending a day assisting with the classroom such as bringing activities like cooking lessons, model rocket building and special books reading events.
The school runs a daily blog where parents can see what their children did each day.
HCS is also structured to give back to the community with a donation event at Crossroads Family Shelter in East Boston scheduled for this week.
The founders of the school spent last summer doing some permitting work, building inspections and improvement projects. The school was also able to secure a plot in the community garden inside the Bremen Street Park so kids will be able to plant vegetables and eat those vegetables at snack time.
HCS will be run as is a non-profit independent preschool and aims to provide a year-round nurturing and stimulating environment for up to twenty children at a time, aged 2.9 to five years old.
According to the board, while traditional preschools are only half day, HCS also offers a full day option in order to suit the needs of full-time working families in the community. For families who wish to actively participate in their child’s preschool experience HCS offers the coop model school, with responsibilities for families both in and out of the classroom.
Hanagriff said she has been excited by the enthusiasm and commitment of the parents and board involved with launching HCS.
“The parents involved are taking an active role in providing the type of quality education they want for their children,” said Hanagriff, who has a Masters of Elementary Education from UMass Boston and worked at Bright Horizons in the Back Bay before coming to HCS. “One of the most important things is that all children are capable of learning and the philosophy of HCS will be to look at how each child can best learn and not just give them the tools of learning.”