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TEMPLE

Male caregiver finds welcome community

Skipping Stone day care plans expansion to include state-certified preschool program

  • Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care

    Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care

  • Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care

    Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care

  • Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care

    Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care

  • Zoe Kaplanger, 1, of Wilton, and Ollie Aucoin, 2, of Temple enjoy healthy, organic snacks while attending the Skipping Stone liscenced in-home day care center in Temple.

    Zoe Kaplanger, 1, of Wilton, and Ollie Aucoin, 2, of Temple enjoy healthy, organic snacks while attending the Skipping Stone liscenced in-home day care center in Temple.

  • Ollie Aucoin, 2, and Zoe Kaplanger, 1, of Wilton, play outside in the snow as part of Chad Aucoin's Temple at-home liscenced daycare facility, the Skipping Stone.

    Ollie Aucoin, 2, and Zoe Kaplanger, 1, of Wilton, play outside in the snow as part of Chad Aucoin's Temple at-home liscenced daycare facility, the Skipping Stone.

  • Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care
  • Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care
  • Temple, Chad Aucoin, The Skipping Stone, child care
  • Zoe Kaplanger, 1, of Wilton, and Ollie Aucoin, 2, of Temple enjoy healthy, organic snacks while attending the Skipping Stone liscenced in-home day care center in Temple.
  • Ollie Aucoin, 2, and Zoe Kaplanger, 1, of Wilton, play outside in the snow as part of Chad Aucoin's Temple at-home liscenced daycare facility, the Skipping Stone.

TEMPLE — Chad Aucoin of Temple recently led the four little charges in his licensed in-home day care into the woods to gather little Christmas trees to decorate. The weather might have been a bit brisk, but Aucoin’s philosophy towards childcare has them out and about every day the weather allows.

Aucoin began his in-home day care earlier this year, when he was laid off from his job as a pilot. He could have sought another job in his field, but instead he chose to switch tracks entirely. His new career path allows him to stay home and care for his son, Oliver.

At first, some parents were leery of a day care in which the main caregiver is a man, Aucoin said, but others were attracted to the way he runs his program, which includes lots of outdoor playtime, healthy snacks and plenty of creative pursuits based on the Waldorf school model.

Now, thanks to word-of-mouth, he has some more interested parents who want to enroll their children in his day care, The Skipping Stone, in the new year. And he’s gaining interest in his newest venture: the world of education.

Aucoin is currently going through a process that will allow him to run a state-certified preschool in his home, in addition to his state-certified day care. Should everything go smoothly, he said, it might be possible to complete the preschool certification process by April. Even though he’ll be expanding his repertoire, Aucoin is looking to maintain the atmosphere he started out with: small and intimate with lots of one-on-one attention. The day care is only certified for 12 children, and his home can only accommodate 15, so even with the addition of a preschool program, that isn’t going to change, said Aucoin.

“What’s important to me, is that it’s not commercialized and it’s not franchised. It’s personal and unique, and the parents are part of what’s going on. The parents are satisfied and happy and spreading the word.”

Aucoin has a vision for what he would like his care system to become, and that’s a place that begins to teach children a variety of life lessons. A few times a week now, the children are involved with making their own healthy snacks. And it’s not just putting some peanut butter on apples. Aucoin gets them involved in the process of making dough for wheat bread or cupcakes. And the children love it, he said.

“It seems to bring them together,” Aucoin said. “It helps calm the group down, especially on Monday when they’re out of routine. It keeps them focused and working together. It facilitates calmness, cooperation and sharing.”

In the future, Aucoin would also like to branch out and bring some animals into the program, such as laying ducks or even a pig.

“I have a small vision for the preschool and childcare. I’d like to get some animals, so the children can be exposed to a little bit of responsibility and care. We can go out and collect the eggs, and make something with them. I’d like to bring kids back to the farm and show them where their food comes from.”

To learn more about the Skipping Stone, visit the day care’s Facebook page or website at www.skippingstonechildcare.com. Chad Aucoin can be reached at caucoin811@gmail.com or 562-9512.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 235 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

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