Here at Pine Village, all of our community schools are unique and special. Today we are shining a spotlight on our Pine Village Newton Highlands Preschool location, which opened just a few years ago in 2018. Located at 54 Lincoln St, we are located in the historic Newton Highland Congregational Church, in the center of the Village. Our space is large, bright and sunny and safety nestled in the lower level of the church, with two onsite playgrounds (one for toddlers and one for preschool children).
Read on to hear more about what makes this school so special from the Director, Sylvia:
Meet the Newton Highlands Director, Sylvia:
Hi I am Sylvia, the Director at the Newton Highlands Pine Village Preschool location. Originally from NYC, I first came to Boston for college. I realized I really liked working with kids when I did a volunteer tutor program at the Salem Boys and Girls Club. I found my passion and decided to go back to school and get a Masters in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University. I have been working with kids from ages 15 months to 9 year olds ever since. I became a Team Teacher at the Pine Village Kendall Square location before becoming the Director at Newton Highlands. I have been the Director in Newton Highlands since Summer of 2018, when we first opened the location. It was very exciting to open a new location and be part of creating a space for kids that is their second home!
It is fun working with kids because they are always say what they are thinking and trying to understand their world and teach them about ours is very interesting. Every day is different and you never know what to expect but they always surprise you with how much they are learning.
What makes the Newton Highlands school location special?
Newton Highlands is special for many reasons. It is a bright and happy place to be. We are very lucky that there are lots of windows and the sun shines bright through them. We also have a wonderful neighborhood, where the kids are able to go to Crystal Lake, or the Urban forest, and sometimes we even spot chickens at some of our neighbors’ yards. We can go watch the Green Line trains pass by and sometimes the conductor will give us a hello beep, which the kids love. The school has two playgrounds onsite and when we feel like staying closer to “home” we can just go right outside our door to play. Newton Highlands is a cozy location and teachers can personalize our attention on the needs of the kids. The teachers have created a family environment and they enjoy being here and being with the kids.
How has the school thrived during the pandemic?
It is really something special to see how families have come together for common purpose “ the well-being and happiness of the kids”. During the Pandemic we have become an even closer community. We learned to be flexible as things changed often and we were clear with communicating as soon as things came up. We were lucky that we had very few Covid Cases, but more than luck it was hard work where each community member contributed to help each other. We were there for each other and that is what has made us thrive during the pandemic possible.
Tell us a little bit about “a day at Pine Village Newton Highlands”
A typical day at Newton Highlands is always very busy and lots of fun. We usually start our day with Friendship fruit where we sing a song to our fruits and we talk about all the characteristics we notice about our fruits and it is also our time to share about special things happening in our lives with our friends. Painting, dancing, and learning about our favorite themes. Bubbles are big at our school, so we try to have bubble parties often and any day be a bubble party day. Then we go off to explore our neighborhood or play in the park.
What are the kids’ favorite activities in class?
Science experiments are our kids’ favorite activities. We love making volcanos and mixing materials to make different kinds of dough. We have a science fair at the beginning of the school year but all year we love playing with science. Sometimes the kids like to pretend they are scientist looking for dinosaur bones, other times we are learning about the life cycle of butterflies and this year’s absolute favorite was painting planets.
What are some of recent projects that the kids have been working on?
We had the Art Gallery in May and that was fun for the kids and the teachers. It is always amazing how much they understand and love to learn about art. We talk about the artists and their styles and practice using the styles. The kids remember and talk about the artist like they are best friends with the artist. They work hard and are so proud to show their parents their artwork. This year it was fun that we were able to do the art show outside in our playground and it was cool to see, a little windy but the expressions of art were spectacular. We also worked on having a Pirate themed day, in 24 hours we transformed the school in a boat, with a captain and some tough Pirates.
What are you most looking forward to in the coming months at Pine Village?
I am looking forward to the start of the new school year. I am looking excited for a new start, hopefully the pandemic will be mostly over. I think every get event where we can come together will be so much more special just because we can be together again.
What does summer camp look like at your school? How is it unique from the school year?
The summertime is a relaxing time of year where the kids can play and enjoy the sun. We are outside every day, and we have water play in the sprinklers. We are going on daily exploration walks and learning about our neighborhood. It is unique in that almost all the time we get to do things outside, and the groups are small, so the kids begin to develop very special bonds with their friends. We have the Hyde Community Center right next door, and they have concerts during the summer and some of them are for kids so on those days we hop over and watch the concerts.
Favorite neighborhood spot nearby?
I have to say I have two favorite spots. The first is the Walnut Grill, they make the best vegetarian meals in town, if you are in the area you have to try the vegetable lasagna they make, it is scrumptious. My other favorite place to go to is the Grape Leaf for a Falafel Gyro. The kids have told me that their favorite place is the candy store Indulge on their way home from school.