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Little Wreckers Preschool moves out of Staples due to low enrollment, financial concerns

The+playground%2C+along+with+the+classroom+used+for+Little+Wreckers+will+remain+in+place+for+the+2023-24+school+year+as+the+programs+ability+to+open+is+decided.
Alex Gaines ’25
The playground, along with the classroom used for Little Wreckers will remain in place for the 2023-24 school year as the programs ability to open is decided.

The Little Wreckers preschool program left Staples High School for the 2023-24 school year due to a decline in enrollment. The project had been designed to provide Westport Public School employees with a convenient place to drop off their children during the workday. All preschool students who had registered for the program will now have the option to transition to the main campus, located at Earthplace. 

The enrollment at Little Wreckers has dwindled to just five children, compared to the 10 to 12 enrollees in previous years. The future of the Little Wreckers Preschool program is uncertain and hinges on enrollment in its forthcoming years to determine its fiscal viability. 

 “It is a conversation [the financial officer and I] need to have,” Earthplace preschool director Amanda Ciardi said. “There is a possibility it will come back, but also there’s an equal possibility it will stay at Earthplace.”

Given the program’s tentative status, the Board of Education has not finalized any plans for either the classroom or playground that the group utilized.

“It is a non-traditional classroom, so [they] don’t have [the] features that other classrooms might have, such as a Smartboard,” Staples principal Stafford W. Thomas Jr. said

The closure of the program at Staples has raised concerns among Westport Public School staff.

“The program is designed to work around their hours, so it opens earlier than we offer our Earthplace proper programs,” Ciardi said. “It takes into consideration parent/teacher conferences when they might be working late.”

It is a conversation [the financial officer and I] need to have. There is a possibility it will come back, but also there’s an equal possibility it will stay at Earthplace.

— Earthplace preschool director Amanda Ciardi

Many district teachers, including physical education health teacher Nicole Comerford, took advantage of the program’s convenience. In fact, around five to six other teachers from Staples also sent their children to Little Wreckers preschool. 

“Their hours are a little bit different there,” Comerford said. “So I think that [the program’s closing] was difficult especially because it happened so last minute.”

The closure of the Little Wreckers Preschool impacts more than just the children. It also impacts students in Children’s Literature who previously read to the preschoolers. Students now will travel to the elementary schools to share the children’s books they create during the school year.

“We learned how to read and talk to children through expressing our voices in a manner that children will find entertaining,” former Children’s Literature student Kira Tomoda ’24 said. “We got to see how important it is to talk in a certain tone to keep children engaged.”

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About the Contributors
Caitlin Jacob ’24, Communications Coordinator
Caitlin Jacob ’24 was initially drawn to Advanced Journalism and Inklings because of the class’s uniqueness. “I love writing in general,” Jacob said. “And it’s a great English class to take, especially because it’s unconventional.” In her free time, Jacob utilizes her passion for writing and words for another hobby - crossword puzzles. “I love that it’s a challenge,” Jacob said. “And when I go on my phone, my first instinct is to go on social media, but it’s a good way to be more productive with my time.”
Alex Gaines ’25, Creative Director
Creative Director Alex Gaines ’25 is no stranger to the newsroom. Gaines became intrigued by journalism at Ursus, where she was in awe at the complex layouts Inklings produced. “I used to always compare our papers to the Inklings papers,” Gaines said. “I remember being intrigued by the layouts, which I think drew me to the creative director position.” Though being creative director is a full time job, Gaines still finds time to pursue her other ambitions. “I took a class at UCLA on marketing,” Gaines said. “It was super interesting because I definitely want to pursue something in business.”  

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