"My heart is in Hopedale”, spoken by Mrs. Price of Hopedale Community Nursery Schoolwho recently celebrated her 35th anniversary teaching at the school is truly the heart and soul of this lovely preschool located at 318 Queen Mary Drive in Oakville.
I had the opportunity to tour Hopedale with my own youngest daughter in tow and upon entering the classroom, she was immediately drawn to the brightly coloured tables, the numerous activities and variety of sensory stations set up.
The nursery school is located in the lower level of St. Aiden’s Anglican Church and as far as classrooms go, Hopedale’s is quite large, comfortably accommodating a maximum of 16 children with an 8:1 ratio for the morning session and a maximum of 5 children for the afternoon program with a 5:1 ratio. Each session is 2.5 hours (9:15-11:45am and 1:00-3:30pm) and includes a healthy snack as well as outdoor play in their expansive, fully enclosed, yard out front. Having an outdoor play space is a rarity for many preschools in Oakville and Hopedale’s is chalk full of outdoor equipment to keep the children active.
Operating as a co-operative preschool, Hopedale is administered by its parent members while the curriculum is developed and carried out by the teaching staff including Mrs. Price and Mrs. Rogers, both Registered ECE Teachers. Unlike many co-op schools, Hopedale does not place requirements on parents to participate in-class or carry out set duties; they are however required to assist with a task/role that does benefit the school, for example with fundraising activities or joining the Board of Directors.
With respect to the curriculum, Mrs. Price strives to keep the children engaged through various themes which are rotated every two weeks – when I toured the facility they were in the middle of their Jungle theme complete with a safari Jeep in the middle of the room!
Mrs. Price takes great care in developing a space that fosters creative play – allowing the children to explore, ask questions and socialize. Circle time, a reading nook, sensory tables, dramatic play centre and various craft stations offer an array of activities to help the children develop their gross motor skills, communication and social skills.
I spoke with a parent who’s son attends both the AM program as well as the PM slot on different days, asking why she chose Hopedale, her response,“I love the small community feel of the school, and the smaller class sizes, especially the 5:1 ratio in the afternoon preschool program! I love how creative the themes are, and how everything, down to the books and snacks, are geared towards that particular theme. Finally, as anyone who has attended Hopedale will tell you, we LOVE Mrs. Price”.
Should you be considering a preschool for your child, I’d recommend doing your research, attending open houses, scheduling a tour or asking friends and family for referrals.
I’d encourage you to visit Hopedale’s upcoming Open House taking place on Saturday, May 6th from 9AM-Noon.
You can also learn more about their programs here.
This post is in partnership with Hopedale Community Nursery School.