As generations of students come and go, the Little Place has kept its tradition of providing excellent childcare in the western communities.
With two locations in Wellington, the school accepts children from six months through pre-kindergarten, and also offers voluntary pre-kindergarten (VPK).
Owner Susan Russell opened the first Little Place location in 1978, followed by the Little Place Too in 1987. For more than 30 years, the school has seen its alumni grow and return with their own children. “We even have a few teachers here who are alumni,” Director Ana Villoldo said.
Villoldo has been with the school for more than 20 years. She started as a teacher and worked her way up to become school director. “I just kept climbing up the ladder until I got to where I am now,” she said.
Assistant Director Jennifer Russell comes from a primary school teaching background, which gives her added insight as to what the children need to learn to be prepared once they graduate from the school.
The school’s success is due to its inclusive approach to teaching, Villoldo said. Parents are encouraged to participate in activities with the children. “Parents can always volunteer through our parent volunteer sign-up sheet,” she said. “They can come and read a story anytime, or help the teachers. It’s an open-door policy.”
The Little Place and the Little Place Too teachers all have different styles, but all teachers work hard to keep the children engaged. “They’ll do the lesson plan during circle time,” Villoldo said. “The teachers also take small groups of children away, depending on their age, to explain them the lesson plans a little better.”
Most of the teachers have worked at the school for more than 10 years. “We have nine teachers and each one of them has assistants,” Villoldo said.
For parents with busy schedules, the school is extremely accommodating. “We have an open-door policy,” Villoldo said. “We offer two-, three- or five-day-a-week options.”
The school also has many seasonal children whose parents are equestrians. “They run a crazy schedule, and we understand that, so we try to accommodate everybody,” Villoldo said.
The Little Place and the Little Place Too offer activities and events to make the environment fun for the children.
“We have parties, like our Christmas party, and extracurricular activities like karate, which are held here and included in the program,” Villoldo said.
The program also includes foreign language such as Spanish once a week and science by High Touch High Tech. “We also have the company Giggles ’n’ Groovin’ come in, where the woman who owns it gets the kids moving with a different theme every month,” Jennifer Russell said.
The curriculum is very traditional, and students learn math, social studies, science and reading.
“We are pretty flexible with our teaching as well,” Jennifer Russell said. “If we are doing a lesson about the rain forest and a child asks about parrots, then we will do a lesson on parrots.”
The school also offers summer camp. “We try to make it as fun as possible,” Villoldo said. “We have Snow Cone Day, where we’ll bring a snow cone machine, and then we’ll have Water Day on Friday, where we’ll have slip and slides.”
The Little Place is located at 1040 Wellington Trace, near Wellington Christian School, and the Little Place Too is located at 2995 Greenbriar Blvd., near the Aero Club. For more information, call (561) 793-5860 (Wellington Trace) or (561) 790-0808 (Greenbriar).
ABOVE: Little Place teachers with Assistant Director Jennifer Russell (far left) and Director Ana Villoldo (far right).