Craftsbury Saplings: A Community Children’s Center
Mission Statement: We provide childcare to families in the greater Craftsbury area, emphasizing community collaboration and exploration of the natural world. We value and nourish each child’s innate wisdom, guiding them toward life-long learning. We offer child-centered programming that is inspired by Montessori teaching traditions and rooted in social justice principles.
We enroll children ages 18 months to 5 years for full and part time care, 5 days a week! To enroll your child please fill out the following paperwork
and return it to:
PO Box 87
Craftsbury, VT 05826
For any questions contact CraftsburyChildcare@gmail.com or (802) 586-2875.
Alexa Gabriel is our Executive Director and Head Teacher of the preschool group at Craftsbury Saplings. She has more than 7 years experience working with children and young adults in educational settings in preschools, elementary schools, farm-based education, special education, therapeutic and behavioral support and more. Alexa is excited to expand on her academic studies and community organizing experience to include families and children in work towards liberation. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana and a Master’s Degree in Education focused in Early Childhood Education and Anti-Oppression Education from Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont.
Emily Gletsos is our Toddler Teacher at Craftsbury Saplings. She has 10 years experience working in a Montessori school and 2 years experience running a daycare in Craftsbury. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Music from Bennington College and she recently finished a Montessori 0-3 Diploma course. She hopes to bring the best of the Montessori Method to the Craftsbury Saplings. She grew up in Craftsbury and recently moved back from Portland, Oregon with her family. She sings in a trio called Farm Song and enjoys gardening.
Riva Reynolds is our Food Coordinator. Riva was born in Seattle and first moved to Vermont to get a Master’s degree in Community Development and Applied Economics at the University of Vermont. After moving around a bit she is thrilled to be in the town of Craftsbury, raising her kids near her husband's family's farm in Stannard. Although Riva's work positions have varied from restaurants to free clinics to food co-ops to non-profits, she has always remained committed to work that builds community, supports lifelong learning, and develops strong local economies. Her work as food coordinator at Saplings is the perfect opportunity to dig deep into the farm economy around Craftsbury while playing with food and feeding the community.
Board members of the organization are:
- Melissa Jacobs, mother of 3 young children and employee of Pete’s Greens
- Eloise Girard, mother of 1 young child and employee at Pete’s Greens
- Katie Lavin, mother of 1 young child and Assistant to the President at Sterling College
- Steve Ames, Lamoille Valley Regional Coordinator for Building Brights Futures
- Pablo Coddou, father of 1 young child, Psychotherapist for Adolescents, Adults, Couples, and Families
- Deb McKinley, pastor at the East Craftsbury Presbyterian Church
- Katherine Sims, founder and ex-director of Green Mountain Farm to School
History of this group:
This Childcare Initiative Task Force was formed out of the Vermont Council on Rural Development’s Community Visit process in the fall of 2015. Residents from Craftsbury came together to talk about their vision for the future, their challenges and needs. Among Craftsbury’s top priorities, and one that came up often in community discussions, was the lack of local childcare. Vermont Council on Rural Development “heard time and again about the stress this puts on families in added travel time and cost. Additionally, for a town with a growing population of young families and a thriving community life, lack of local options sends children out of town rather than connecting to the strong sense of community we see in Craftsbury”.
From this visioning process, The Childcare Initiative was formed to tackle this issue and attempt to facilitate a long term solution. The taskforce is not only working on resolving the lack of childcare in the area, but is dedicated to creating a children's center that will reflect the strengths of the community. With the support and the collaboration of the local businesses and organizations, this future center will be offering unique and inspirational programming to children and families.
Craftsbury Saplings opened the Children’s Center on September 5, 2017 in the lower level of the East Craftsbury Presbyterian Church as a temporary space for the next 2-3 years.