M/sunny
60°
M/sunny
Hi 79° | Lo 56°

Temple

A natural evolution into a preschool

SKIPPING STONE: Recently started Temple daycare taking the next step by expanding its site and scope

  • Zoe Mooney, 2, of Wilton,feeds Smokey, a calf kept in the backyard of The Skipping Stone in Temple. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gabriel Hautanen, 3, and Natalie Ellis, 2, hold ducks in the backyard of the Skipping Stone in Temple, while owner Chad Aucoin and employee Trisha Van Horn of Peterborough watch.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Trisha Van Horn of Peterborough, an employee at the Skipping Stone daycare in Temple, uses a toy stethoscope to examine an injury for Gabriel Hautanen, 3, of Greenville.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Chad Aucoin of Temple, the owner and operator of The Skipping Stone daycare center, offers a cup of duck food to Sophia Hautanen, 1, of Greenville. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Gabriel Hautanen, 3, of Greenville, and Zoe Mooney, 2, of Wilton, feed a baby goat that is part of the natural, interactive learning aspect of the The Skipping Stone, a licensed daycare center in Temple. The owner, Chad Aucoin, plans to open a preschool this year, which will also integrate the care of the daycare's animals.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Sophia Hautanen, 1, plays on a slide on a hill at the Skipping Stone Daycare in Temple. <br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)
  • Skipping Stone daycare in Temple partners with Temple Community Preschool to offer in-home preschool and care.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Ashley Saari)

TEMPLE — The Skipping Stone, a licensed in-home daycare center in Temple, is something of a kid’s paradise, with a big backyard complete with slide built into a sloping hill, a sandbox and play structures, a pond down below, and baby farm animals, each with their own corner of the yard. The children enrolled at the Skipping Stone jump from one project to the next, feeding the ducks and goats their daily pellets, and making sure the calf, Smokey, gets his bottle, and then jumping into the sandbox to dig in the sand and woodchips. It’s an experience the owner and operator of the Skipping Stone, Chad Aucoin, would like to extend to a new market: Preschoolers.

Since opening a private home-based daycare facility out of his Temple home last year, Aucoin has always been interested in expanding the scope of the business to include a preschool, he said in an interview at the daycare on Thursday. The daycare portion of his business has steadily been growing since he first began, as satisfied parents spread the word. A year ago, he had only three children, and now, 10 are enrolled. He expanded the on-site learning opportunities by purchasing some animals, including three goats, a flock of ducks and a beef cow that the children help care for. Aucoin was also able to hire an assistant, Trisha Van Horn of Peterborough, to assist with infant care.

With the daycare in a growing period, it was time to go after another aspect of the business Aucoin has always been interested in adding: a preschool.

Originally, Aucoin was set to partner with the Temple Community Preschool, which was looking for a new space. However, last week, the board for the preschool informed him they would not be moving forward with that plan. That was a stumbling block, said Aucoin, as he had anticipated housing the preschool, and their existing licence in his space. Now, his plans may be pushed back, he said, but only because he now has to go through the process of obtaining his own licence. If that process can be expedited, Aucoin still plans to open a preschool at Skipping Stone by October, in the best case scenario, and by the end of upcoming semester, in the worst. The licensing process can take between six and eight weeks, Aucoin said.

The preschool will be housed on-site at Aucoin’s home, where he also runs his certified daycare center, but the two will be in their own, separate spaces, said Aucoin. The plan is to convert his current one-car garage into a one-room schoolroom with its own bathroom and kitchenette. The space needs some renovation, including taking out the garage door, putting in carpeting and drywall, and adding heat, which is expected to take two weeks to construct, said Aucoin. When the space is up and running, a teacher, who will also act as the preschool director, will be hired, and Aucoin will continue as the primary caretaker for the daycare side of the business, he said.

The basis of Aucoin’s daycare is a Waldorf-style environment, with lots of time spent outside and with nature, and that’s a theme that will be extended to the preschool, Aucoin said. “I’d like to have an outdoor classroom, as much as possible,” Aucoin said. “There’s not much you do in a preschool classroom that can’t be done outside as well as it could be done inside. I’d like to see the animals be a part of the preschool, even if it’s just letting the ducks out every morning and checking for eggs. A lot of learning opportunities can be integrated into that, I think, whether it be colors or numbers or whatever they’re learning that day. I don’t want it to be enclosed, and not so much a school as a natural learning experience.”

It will also keep a lot of the philosophies of the Skipping Stone, including treating the children like a family, rather than just a group that spends the day together, said Aucoin.

Currently, there are four children signed up to attend the preschool, said Aucoin, and the space is approved to house nine. Next year, there will be another four children from the daycare who are interested in enrolling in the preschool, said Aucoin.

Kim Mooney of Wilton, whose daughter Zoe Mooney, 2, attends the Skipping Stone daycare, said she’s interested in enrolling her daughter in the preschool next year. She said she was pleased with the family atmosphere that the daycare centers around, and that the groups were small and so much time was spent outside, all of which are characteristics Aucoin is interested in carrying over into the preschool.

To contact Aucoin about enrolling a child in either daycare or preschool, call 562-9512 or email caucoin811@gmail.com.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter at @AshleySaari.

There are no comments yet. Be the first!
Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.