Ivy Schoolhouse Preschool to Open This April in Crozet

Sara Clark
Sara Clark

Nic and Sara Clark of Ivy will open Ivy Schoolhouse Preschool in April in the former location of Dr. Marketa Leisure’s Crozet Children’s Health Center on Three Notch’d Road.

“We started as a summer camp for five- to seven-year-olds,” said Sara Clark, who is also the principal at Charlottesville’s Renaissance School. “And then we expanded to after-school and that took off, and then we decided to expand into preschool. Then we found this wonderful place. I knew we wanted a house, but it had to have commercial zoning. We drove by and found it empty and contacted the owner.

“The preschool has been in our house for a few months. It’s new. We take ages two and a half to five and we’re looking to cap enrollment at about 15. Legally we are eligible for 25 here. Because Dr. Leisure worked with children, it’s ready for us. We don’t have to change anything.” Clark said the school is buying the furnishings of a preschool in Charlottesville whose owner is retiring.

The school will operate from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. on a year-round format. Clark said there will be a program director and two teachers at the school. All will be qualified to teach and meet state licensing requirements. Clark said the building has also been thoroughly looked over by state inspectors. They have a three-year lease.

“One of the biggest things we like to do is Spanish integration. At that age, it’s amazing what they can pick up,” she said.

They will use the house’s two former exam rooms as small-setting enrichment rooms. “They are for working on things that are at their peers’ level. We’ll have lots of art and music activities and we’ll be outside a lot. We may take some field trips next door to the firehouse. The kids who have been here are also excited about the trains going by. ”

Ivy Schoolhouse Preschool on Three Notch'd Road
Ivy Schoolhouse Preschool on Three Notch’d Road

Clark said the preschool will use the Core Knowledge Preschool curriculum. Parents will be expected to bring their child’s lunch and the school will provide healthy morning and afternoon snacks. “We’ll be peanut-free,” said Clark, who has children ages 3 and 5.

“The biggest thing is to have the kids learn a lot through fun and play—and then there’s the daily Spanish. We’ll have inside and outside play. We’ll eat lunch outside some days.” Clark said both the front and back yards are going to be fenced in.

“We’re not opposed to technology, but it doesn’t need to be in a kid’s day while they are here. No screens. There’s too much else to do. Research is showing that children are losing their social connections very young now because of their time on screens. They are losing being connected to each other and they tune each other out. How healthy is it to use a child’s imagination in that way?

“It’s a parent’s right to say what their child should be exposed to. At Renaissance School we want them to learn to listen and to write things down. They have to learn how to filter.”

“We almost moved to Crozet,” said Clark, who lives in Ivy. “We saw a need for a preschool that offered what we thought a preschool should offer without compromise. It’s not about how many we can fit in. We want it to stay small.”

The monthly tuition for a child will be $900, full time, and parents who sign up during March will get $100 deducted from their April fee.

For more information, call 434-466-3346, or visit the school’s website: Ivyschoolhouse.org.