Learning about a person’s place in the environment is an important part of growing up, especially as a student at First Leaps Together in Ledyard Center. First Leaps is a local preschool owned by resident Krista Bordeleau. The school was opened in September 2014 and a new addition was just added in December, allowing for a whole new group of fresh faces. Not only is the school populated by kids from around the area, the staff also maintains a strong connection to the town.
For many employees at First Leaps, Ledyard High School originally fostered their love for caring for kids. Katherine Stapleton (Class of ‘12) was a student in the child development program at Ledyard as well as a member of the Young Educators Society (Y.E.S.). Currently, she cares for four-year-olds at the local preschool. A former president of the Y.E.S. Club at Ledyard, Ashley Morgan (Class of ‘10), also teaches at First Leaps.
In accordance with Earth Day last Saturday, the school decided this week to put an emphasis on being green. Conservation and environmentalism are hot topics at First Leaps year round. “We’re big on recycling,” says Donna Bagg, a Ledyard alumna and First Leaps teacher. “We like to remind the kids to always pick up after themselves.” Bagg also made mentions of nature walks and teachings about the tree’s role in the environment.
To provide an illustration for these lessons, Monday the classes planted a flowering pear tree. Owner Krista Bordeleau emphasized that the tree not only stood for a devotion to preserving nature but also the “Planting of new roots at the school”. The tree was donated by Benjamin and Heidi Hewes (Class of ‘01 and ‘03 respectively). Mr. Hewes currently serves on the Vo-Ag advisory board at Ledyard High School.
Plants were taken care of but animals were not forgotten in the mix. The festivities ended with the students decorating wooden planks used for birdhouses to be strung around the area. “My favorite part of Earth Day is taking care of the animals,” says Henry James Hutt, a 4-year-old student at First Leaps. Henry cites a love of going to the zoo.
The Earth Day activities are one of a variety of experiences the kids have throughout the year. This includes visits by Ledyard police and firefighters, and a connection with Ledyard Food Pantry in the fall teaching thankfulness and appreciation. “We’re preparing them for kindergarten,” says Bordeleau, “But we’re also making sure they’re well-rounded socially and emotionally with a strong sense of community.”
First Leaps will be accepting new students ages 1-5 this summer and fall.
Collin Sitz, Staff Writer
Senior Collin Sitz is a staff writer for the 2016-17 Colonel. He plays in the Ledyard Marching Band, Jazz band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Orchestra. He also sings in Final Cut. When he’s not in school, he can be found playing intense games of frisbee.