Farm Hands Preschool Program
Morning care for children under 5 years old
1 Ventures Field Road
Monday through Friday, 8:00 am - 12:30 pm
10 children + 2 Lead Teacher
At Farm Hands Morning Care for Children, we offer the time, space, and gentle guidance young ones need to do meaningful work and play on a small farm in downtown Northampton. Participants are invited to join a community of children, grown-ups and animals as we look for ways to explain who we are and celebrate our findings together.
Our work on the farm - to care for the plants and animals that sustain us and to make good use of the harvest - lends itself naturally to the most pressing work of the preschool set. As young ones begin to broaden their social awareness, a morning visit with the hens will inform a later conversation in the sand box about gentle touches for our human friends. At a time when fine motor skills are longing to catch up with innovative ideas, Farm Hands offers the inherent pleasure and personal agency that comes with making things by hand. We collect eggs and grind wheat berries before baking a quiche. We harvest dill to press carefully into goat cheese rounds after milking a goat. Others, of course, prefer jumping, dancing, and pounding atop pillow cases to thresh the wheat before grinding!
Our mornings at Town Farm are play based with daily opportunities for work on the farm and in the kitchen as well. We follow a gentle routine and seasonal curriculum which is loosely focused on meeting human and animal needs on the farm. How do we take care of ourselves? How do we take care of our friends? How do we take care of the chickens and goats? Food, shelter, and clothing and where it all comes from is the overarching theme, however the true curriculum will come from the children, as they grow, discover, and explore where a natural love of learning takes them.
Lead Teacher/ Director
Alya Stoffer Koloszyc M.S.
Alya has been working with farm hands of all sizes in classrooms, at camps, in city gardens, at farmers’ markets, and on farms since 1996. She has a Master’s Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College of Education and has taught and learned locally at Sunnyside and Gan Keshet Preschools as well as several kindergartens in New York City and Vermont. Presently, she co-directs The Farm Education Collaborative and makes her home and garden in Easthampton with her husband and two young sons.
Farm Hands children will:
Children arrive between 8 and 9:00 am.
Work and Play
Open-ended materials such as blocks, textiles, paints, and water are available alongside more directed activities like barn chores, snack preparation, and table setting.
We gather to practice songs, rhymes, dances, and games together.
A homemade, farm fresh snack is provided each morning.
We play and explore outside for at least an hour and usually more each day, year round.
Children bring a healthy lunch from home.
Story and Song
We gather to reflect upon our time together with stories and songs both published and original.
Schedules/Rates: Families may choose a 3,4, or 5 day per week schedule. Tuition is $45/day for all 52 weeks of the year and is paid in monthly installments which will be due on the fifteenth of each month. Farm Hands will close for 4 weeks during the year.
For more information or an application
Please contact Alya:
Farm Hands is a program of The Farm Education Collaborative.
The Farm Education Collaborative designs and delivers authentic agricultural experiences that nurture connections between families, farms, and food in the Pioneer Valley.