BIBLE HILL, NS
Amanda Lynds heard such positive things about Bible Hill Village Preschool that she had her children on a waiting list before they were born.
“I moved here 11 years ago and when I asked about preschools this place kept coming up over and over and over,” she recalled. “It seemed to be a treasured asset. My third child is here now and I understand why people were so positive about it.”
Lynds, who has a degree in early childhood education, also ended up working at the preschool, although she is currently on maternity leave with her six-month-old daughter, Violet.
The preschool has been a part of the community for 45 years, operating out of village commission space the first year and then moving to St. David’s Church Hall, where it is still located.
Niki Hoyle, executive director and teacher, now sees many of her former students bringing their own children to classes.
“I think it’s been here so many years because it’s been cherished by families, teachers and the community,” she said. “I taught early elementary in England, and after coming to Canada I was busy painting, but missed teaching. I saw the director’s job advertised for here and I never looked back. It’s been so rewarding.”
The preschool is a registered charity and has run as a cooperative, with parents being required to assist at times, but beginning next fall each class will have two teachers and parental involvement will be optional. Hoyle said she believes this will give more families the opportunity to be part of their program. (Parents who do assist in the classroom always need to have police checks done.)
About 40 families currently have children attending the preschool.
Sarah Smith, of Salmon River, chose it because her brother, who is now in his thirties, attended and her mother recommended it to her.
“I think it’s wonderful,” she said. “My oldest daughter, Blakely, is here and she can recognize numbers and write here name now. It’s very structured, but fun, here.”
Leah Roy’s youngest of four children is currently in his last year at the facility.
“When one graduated and moved to Primary my next one would be starting here, so I’ve had children here for eight years,” said the North River woman. It’s going to be bittersweet in June.
“My older kids are still friends with the kids they met here. Everybody is very welcome and Mrs. Hoyle makes things so easy. The kids love her.”
Roy recommended the preschool to her friend Jami MacKay.
“I’m so glad she did,” said MacKay. “I love that parents are involved here. I love seeing what the children do. It’s encouraged me to go back to school to become an ECE (early childhood educator).”
Niki Hoyle is thrilled by the success of the preschool and the fact that children enjoy being there.
“When I asked people who are adults about going here as children they told me they don’t remember what they liked so much, they just know they loved going,” she said. “I’m glad they loved it because I still love it; I really do.”