Seeing Stars | Kids VT | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Seeing Stars 

The grade on children's programs in Washington County

Published July 1, 2012 at 4:00 a.m.

Vermont's Step Ahead Recognition System (STARS) helps parents evaluate programs that care for their kids. Sponsored by the Child Development Division of the Vermont Department for Children and Families, STARS assigns star rankings to participating childcare, preschool and after-school programs.

Programs must apply to receive a ranking.

The STARS coordinators consider applicants' qualifications and operating policies, then assign them one to five stars. A single star means a program is new or examining its practices and working to improve them; a five-star ranking signifies that an applicant is established and outstanding in all areas.

Parents who meet the state's income eligibility guidelines may pay less for childcare if they enroll their children in programs with three, four or five stars.

Each month, Kids VT publishes an excerpt of the list of STARS participants. Last month's issue contained the list of STARS programs in Barre, Montpelier and Waterbury. This month, we're publishing the listings from the rest of Washington County. Find more information about STARS, a complete list of rankings and other childcare resources at

Shining Star: Spring Hill School

click to enlarge Kira Harris

Each month, Kids VT spotlights one five-star program from the featured geographical area.

63 Spring Hill Road, Waitsfield, 496-2139
5 stars

Type of program: Morning preschool and an extended-day afternoon program of early care and education. Spring Hill is a part-year program that offers a collaborative learning environment; it's inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach to early education. It also offers a month of summer camp after school gets out.

Year opened: 1984. The program has grown from serving nine families to serving 38 families.

Age range of children: 3 to 5 years old

Last field trip: Knoll Farm in Fayston. The kids caught frogs in the pond, held hands around the second-oldest tree in Vermont, visited with farm animals, enjoyed a picnic and hiked into a meadow.

Favorite rainy-day activity: Put on rain gear and go puddle jumping.

Favorite song to sing with kids: "Robin Red Breast." Results from a recent class poll show that the school's favorite bird is the chickadee.

Most recent staff-development activity: The staff completed a ropes course at ELITEAM. Says director Kira Harris, "It was such a fantastic experience! We discovered amazing things we could do together as a team."


Early Education Program
Berlin Elementary School, 372 Paine Turnpike North, 223-2796
5 stars

Montpelier Montessori School
89 Karl Circle, #3, 223-3320
3 stars


Cabot School Preschool
25 Common Road, 563-2289
5 stars

Washington Northeast District After School Program Cabot
25 Common Road, 426-3213, ext. 208
1 star

East Montpelier

East Montpelier Elementary Preschool
665 Vincent Flats Road, 223-7936
5 stars

Happy Hearts Child Care
1205 Towne Hill Road, 229-9489
3 stars

Orchard Valley Waldorf School Child's Garden
2290 Route 14N, 456-7400
3 stars

Orchard Valley Waldorf After School Program
2290 Route 14N, 456-7400
3 stars


Fayston Elementary School Preschool
782 German Flats Road, 496-3636
3 stars


Moretown Elementary School Preschool Program
940 Route 100B, 496-3722
4 stars

Precious Moments Nursery School
20 Route 100 South, 496-4516
2 stars


Boys and Girls Club of the White River Valley After School Program @ Northfield
10 Cross Street, 728-3332
2 stars

Northfield Early Education Program
10 Cross Street, 485-3143
4 stars


Twinfield Union School — After School Program
106 Naismith Brook Road, 426-3213, ext. 208
2 stars

Twinfield Union Preschool
106 Nasmith Brook Road, 426-3213, ext. 270
5 stars

Washington Central Supervisory Union Early Education
321 Lightning Ridge Road, 454-7777
5 stars


The Learning Tree
177 York Drive, 496-3812
3 stars

Spring Hill School
63 Spring Hill Road, 496-2139
5 stars

The Waitsfield Children's Center
Founder's Hall, 6307 Main Street, 496-3372
5 stars


Warren KPAS
293 School Road, 496-2487
4 stars

Warren School Pre-K Class
293 School Road, 496-2487
4 stars


Rumney Memorial Preschool Kindergarten @ Doty Elementary
Doty Elementary School, 24 Calais Road, 223-5429
5 stars

Washington Central Early Education Program
Doty Elementary School, 24 Calais Road, 223-5656
5 stars

This article was originally published in Seven Days' monthly parenting magazine, Kids VT.

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About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen was a photographer for Seven Days 1995-2018. Read all about his life and work here.


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