Patricia Roberts, left, who runs Mount Pleasant Nursery, does some gardening with a recent graduate of the preschool, Summer Ellis, Summer’s mother Denise – who also attended the facility as a child – and Denise’s mother Isabelle Bonn.
©Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News
TRURO, N.S. - When Patricia Roberts decided to care for a few children in her home decades ago, she had no idea she’d be running a facility licensed for 70 youngsters 40 years later.
Mount Pleasant Nursery is celebrating an incredible milestone, after everything started on a modest scale.
“After I had my son I didn’t want to go back into the classroom,” Roberts said. “Family got together and finished the basement and I opened the nursery with 12 children.”
Roberts is originally from Manitoba and studied early childhood education at the University of Manitoba, but came east after marrying Vince.
Space for infants was added after a few years, and the Roberts family eventually moved out so the centre could expand to the upper level of the house.
Some of the people who attended the nursery years ago now bring their own children. One, is Denise Ellis, a former pupil whose daughter Summer now attends.
“I had a good experience and I wanted her to have that, too,” said Denise. “
She’s been coming here since she was 18 months old and she loves it.”
Denise’s mother, Isabelle Bonn, found the nursery when she was working at the hospital and trying to find someone to care for her oldest daughter.
“I had no family nearby to help so I was really happy to find Pat,” she said. “When Denise needed a spot for Summer I thought about this place right away.”
Summer says what she liked most about the nursery was “crafts and playing with friends.”
Two of the children on the list to attend in the fall also have a parent who once attended the centre.
Some of the youngsters come from as far as Halifax, travelling with parents who work at the hospital.
Mount Pleasant has a staff of 14, including Roberts, and each caregiver has a degree or diploma in early childhood education. The nursery is located in a residential area where staff can walk school-age children to the elementary school. When the weather isn’t suitable for outdoor play, they can walk down the street for gym time at a local church.
In 2014 a weekend fire damaged the building. It took about six months to rebuild, but space was temporarily provided by John Calvin Christian and Immanuel Baptist Churches.
“The community certainly came together for us,” said Roberts. “Kids didn’t have to miss a day. It’s a great area.
“Meeting people and seeing children is my favourite part of this. I love talking to parents and helping them.”
More information on the nursery can be found online at http://mount-pleasant-daycare.com
Patricia Roberts, standing, is seen with Denise Ellis, who attended her nursery as a child, Denise’s daughter Summer, who graduated from the nursery this year, and Denise’s mother Isabelle Bonn. Patricia Roberts started Mount Pleasant Nursery 40 years ago.
©Lynn Curwin/Truro Daily News