ZHPP fosters and facilitates children to become lifelong learners through exploration, discovery, imagination, and creativity.
In partnership with family and community, we provide a developmentally appropriate, nurturing, and secure setting promoting each child’s unique ability to reach their social, intellectual, and academic potential.
- The purpose of Zion’s Hill Preschool Program is to provide a center for the education of preschool children.
- The age-appropriate curriculum is designed to meet the social, emotional, physical, and intellectual needs of early childhood.
- The teachers provide a secure, nurturing, and stimulating environment in which the children are given the opportunity to explore, create, and discover.
- The curriculum allows children to learn both in groups and individually.
- The staff works cooperatively with the parents to provide continuity between school and home.
In 1972, an $8,000 grant from the Stauffer Westport Fund allowed the Westport-Wilton Community Council to assess the town’s childcare needs. In response, eight Wilton families started a non-profit community service project, a center where parents could leave their children while they pursued their own activities. The children, from six months to six years of age, had adult supervision and the companionship of other children.
The first members of the Board of Directors were members of the Zion’s Hill United Methodist Church; the pastor of the church (or a designated representative) is still a member of the Board. By 1973, the Service had evolved into a program providing all the advantages of a good nursery school, while still allowing flexibility in attendance. By 1975, the Service had become fully staffed by professionals. In 1987, the Service’s name was changed to Zion’s Hill Preschool Program in order to more accurately reflect the status and future direction of the school.
Currently, the staff includes a Director, a registered nurse, seven lead teachers, and 12 teachers’ assistants. The Program is licensed to care for 77 children per hour, 9:00 am to 4:00 pm. In 1998, ZHPP became a tax-exempt corporation. While ZHPP has always operated as a non-profit organization, it now has 501(c)3 status. This means that ZHPP is not subject to sales tax, and any donations made to the school are tax-deductible.
ZHPP employs a widely used and reputable quality assurance process called the Early Childhood Environmental Rating Scale (ECERS).
ECERS is used throughout the country to help schools assess classroom quality and identify areas for enhancement. The ECERS 48-point evaluation is conducted by an outside evaluator on an annual basis and assesses staffing policy, daily schedule, health and safety, developmental appropriateness of activities and materials, staff and child interaction, and family and community relations.
The ZHPP board conducts an ongoing review of these assessment tools to ensure that they are enabling the continuation of the highest quality standards at ZHPP.