Written by Mary Nosenzo
On Monday morning, Norfield Children’s Center officially welcomed a group of children to their first day of preschool for the 50th time. The school begins a yearlong celebration of this big milestone, and will look to include the community along the way.
Over the years, Norfield Nursery School, as it was named when founded by Stephanie Head and a group of supportive parents in 1963, expanded. Hilltop was established as a program that provided afterschool care for children at Hurlbutt Elementary School.
For many years, teachers would walk the children up and down the hill between the two locations, hence the name. At the time Hilltop began, Hurlbutt Elementary housed grades Kindergarten through fourth grade. Over time, Norfield continued to evolve to meet the community’s needs. In 2004, the Board of Directors merged Norfield Nursery School and Hilltop into Norfield Children’s Center.
Penny Anderson started teaching at the preschool in 1985, as a floater and fours teacher, and entered her current position of director in 1987, taking over for Stephanie Head when she retired. Pat "Mrs. Music" Brown was a constant presence; beginning as a 3s teacher when the doors opened, and evolving into the music teacher for many years. She retired from the program in 2008. Pat Woisard was the director of Hilltop when it began, and for many years after.
Mary (Nosenzo) Karl, current co-director with Mrs. Anderson, joined the organization in 2005. The current staff is enthusiastically embracing the start of a new school year, and is a mixture of familiar faces and new friends.
The school has always operated with a volunteer Board of Directors filled with parents and community members; they are vital to the success of the school. Changes come over the years, keeping the warm, nurturing environment, while adapting to the needs of families if possible.
The last few years have seen changes like extending the hours of the Twos class to 3 hours, establishing a new 5s class, putting into action new pricing plans, and a variety of smaller details. The directors work with the Board to steer the direction of the Center.
This partnership also extends to the fundraising end of any non-profit organization. Special events over the years have included Duck Derbys, Harvest Festivals, Night at the Races, Kids on the Loose, Magic and Martinis, Ladies Nights and Auctions.
This year, look for information on an upcoming Family Scavenger Hunt and something a little more formal just for the adults. Fundraising efforts have allowed the Center to keep current with playground facilities and offer scholarships when possible, among other things.
Maintaining ties with the community of Weston has always been a part of the Center’s basic tenants. Bi-weekly field trips to the Weston Library, co-operation with the bus garage, visits from Firefighters/Police Officers/EMS, a healthy relationship with the school system, renting space from the Congregational Church, a steady flow of youthful volunteers, and a very supportive group of alumni all add up to strong community ties. This is how the Center hopes to build 5o more years of history.
Ask questions or leave comments at norfieldchildrenscenter.org or call 203-227-7047 and ask for Penny or Mary.