October 16, 2019

New Website to Increase Awareness of Preschool Scholarship Fund for the Tri-Town Area

Marge Schofield, Preschool Scholarship Fund Founder

Under the leadership of Essex resident Marge Schofield and with the support of numerous talented and caring members of the community, a new website will be launched Friday to increase awareness of a local, Tri-Town program, The Preschool Scholarship Fund, which provides financial assistance to families in need for preschool education.  The new site, www.earlychildhoodcouncil.com, will be formally unveiled by Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Ruth Levy, on Friday Oct. 15, at a reception at the Centerbrook Meeting House between 5-7 p.m. to recognize the recent achievements of the group.

Schofield, long-time educator, has been passionate about the importance of preschool education for young children in the Tri-Town area for more than 30 years, and was founder and director of two preschool facilities for local children in the 1980’s and 90’s.  “Giving each child an equal opportunity to start early learning is just the most important gift we can give a child” says Schofield.

Most educators in the community agree about the benefits of some preschool education prior to starting kindergarten. “These kids know their letters, they know their sounds, and they are so much more confident and that just jump starts their entire school year, and really, their entire academic success in the future, too” notes Danielle Rettig, a kindergarten teacher from Essex Elementary.

In the mid 1980’s Schofield and other community members founded the Early Childhood Council whose mission was to facilitate a smooth transition for local children through preschool and into elementary school.   A large part of this mission included the provision of financial support to families in financial need.  Schofield pointed out, “We had so many calls from families who really wanted their children to go to preschool before kindergarten but they just simply couldn’t afford it.” 

In 2000, the Preschool Scholarship Fund was created with the support of local benefactors and several local institutions including the local Rotary group, United Way and the Middlesex County Community Foundation.  Since its creation, the fund has provided over 70 scholarships to local families to allow preschool children from families in need to enjoy the benefits of attending a local preschool.
 
In a recent effort to increase awareness of the program, both to potential donors and scholarship recipients, Schofield rallied support from the community to develop a website explaining the program.  With the support from many, including Essex resident Sarah Cody, preschool teacher Katherine Campbell and web developer Chris McGary the site has been completed and will be formally unveiled on Oct. 15.

Schofield and other community members describe the program in the video clip below:

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