Busy Bees pre-school takes flight

By Matthew J. Perry
Busy Bees, a new pre-school opened its doors on Sept. 30 in the Purcell Center of the Sacred Heart Parish on Academy Street. With a current enrollment of 11 children, the school convenes on Tuesdays and Thursdays for morning and afternoon sessions.
The three co-founders of Busy Bees—Monica Wildermuth, Jen Clark and Adrienne McMillan—are all parents of young children who drew together after the closing of Pink Elephant preschool last year. The void created by the closing was a problem they hoped to resolve quickly; Busy Bees’ opening in 2008, coinciding roughly with the fall schedule of Margaretville Central School, has met their expectations.
“Sometimes I think it’s a miracle that it happened so fast, since all of us are so busy with the rest of our lives,” says Wildermuth, who handles public relations and marketing for the school.
The school’s founders first searched for available space, and found one centrally located at the Sacred Heart facility. “Sacred Heart was very open to the idea. Then we placed an ad to gauge the interest in the community.” When the ad received 20 responses, Wildermuth states, the Busy Bees founders felt confident enough to draft a business plan, which was handled primarily by McMillan, who oversees the legal and financial aspects of the organization.
In June, they advertised for a head teacher and secured the services of Ashton Sanford, a 2004 graduate of Margaretville Central School who went on to earn an associate’s degree in early childhood education from SUNY Cobleskill. Sanford is also a state-certified EMT with experience in pre-school and child-care environments. Clark acts as assistant teacher.
Currently, Busy Bees is financed solely by tuition. The school is looking into the grant money network, but in the meantime only fund-raising will help to cover costs. The founders hope to stage at least two events per year; the first will be held on October 19 at Meadows Golf Club. The “Golf and Lunch” event will feature prizes for men and women and asks for a $25 donation per person.
The curriculum at Busy Bees is intended to make children comfortable with a classroom and to view learning as a dynamic experience. “It’s a means for them to socialize, build confidence, be creative and be safe,” says Clark. Through arts, crafts, and visits from musicians, artists and performers, the school hopes to expose its students to a wide cultural background and a variety of artistic media. “Our goal is for them to learn through all five senses,” Clark explains. The children will also have time to focus on movement and exercise.
The school is still accepting new students for both morning and afternoon sessions. If interest in the school grows, the founders are more than willing to expand the curriculum to other days and sessions.
Queries about the school and its curriculum can be sent via e-mail to busybeesschool@gmail.com or to phone number 586-2774. Inquiries about the October 19 fund-raiser should be directed to Jen Clark at 586-2306.