BETHLEHEM — While the local Tri-Village Nursery School’s 75th anniversary is still in 2021, Alison Fisk, its education director, said it has begun preliminary plans for the occasion.
Located on 428 Kenwood Ave. in Delmar in the First United Methodist Church, TVN offers classes for three- and four-year old children, with an average of 60 to 75 students annually since 2016. Despite being located in a church and sharing spaces with it, it remains the only local non-religious, non-discriminatory and cooperative nursery school in the area, Fisk said.
Fisk added that since its creation in 1946, generations of local residents have gone through the school and it has been looking into reaching out to alumni and even former teachers to prepare for the 75th anniversary celebration.
“We’ve been here for so long and we’re approaching such a milestone year and we’ve been talking about how to contact alumni and teachers who were here,” Fisk said. “We want to reach out to them so we can try to show and celebrate what the school has meant to the people who have walked through the school and the local community.”
Since plans for the anniversary are still in its infancy, Fisk said that the occasion would at least include a celebration somehow within the school for such former staff, alumni, and their parents, who all have been through the school.
But she said that it has been quite a challenge to do that so far.
“We have some records of how to get in touch with people but we don’t have all their contact information or even the names for all of the people that were involved in the founding of this wonderful school,” she said. “I wouldn’t be able to find the names and contact information for some of the teachers who were here in its first 20, or even 30, years. So, we want to get the word out and how amazing it is that Tri-Village is still here, still thriving.”
Not all hope is lost though regarding reaching out to alumni since Fisk said that some of the school’s current students’ parents had been students themselves there in the past. She added that seven of the school’s current teachers once had their children attend Tri-Village too.
“So it’s a place where people return to as their home, a sort-of first home for learning, which has just been so wonderful,” she said. “As students’ parents used to go here, we’ve also realized that their grandparents were also in these hallways, picking up their children then. It’s just phenomenal.”
Fisk brought up that when the grandparents picked up their children — who are now the current students’ parents — back then, the grandparents would have first gathered together and gotten ready inside the building to pick up their children, who were lined up in the hallways.
“This was an example of how it was a nice time for the grandparents to get to know each other and build that first community, and that support system is so important when you have young children,” Fisk said. “It’s really important to be connected to other families going through the same stages and ages at the same time. So the grandparents got that experience through the school which just makes the school a better place.”
She also said that it is smart to have parents generally come into the building to pick up their children, instead of waiting in their cars or picking them outside in the parking lot because “they otherwise would not have talked to each other.”
Since it is a cooperative nursery school, students’ parents have to help out in the classroom as volunteers in some capacity for at least once a month. Such ways to get involved include giving snacks to the children or helping the teacher out or serving on a committee. Parents who are not able to come in once a month can still enroll their students in the school, which could result in a higher tuition rate.
This reflects on families’ changing needs in recent decades, where it is more common for a student to have two full-time working parents who cannot carve out time to volunteer at the school, according to Fisk.
Regardless, Fisk believes that having parents feel included in the school further helps form a stronger and supportive community for the students, one that could last for years to come.
“For our current kids, we want to make that transition into kindergarten as smooth as possible so we try to really savor these magical years of being three, four and five. And having that support and community do help a lot,” Fisk concluded. “We have developed a wonderful community and amazing connections ever since the school first opened. That’s why we’d love to certainly welcome everybody back home, to celebrate what it’s meant to all of us.”
For more information or to reach out to the Tri-Village Nursery School, call 518-439-1455, send an email to [email protected] or visit its website at www.trivillagenurseryschool.com.