Early Beginnings
Ellington Location
Tolland Location
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Early Beginnings | Ellington | Tolland

Where True Learning Begins

Our Mission

Early Learning - Tolland, CT
The mission of Preschool of the Arts Inc is to provide a quality early childhood education using a diverse curriculum with flexible hours. Our experienced, nurturing staff uses the arts to guide all children to their own level of academic excellence.

Why Should I Choose PSA?

  • Flexible schedules
  • Unique to the community
  • Close to commuting routes
  • Military discount – Childcare Aware
  • Trusted Licensed Care by OEC
  • Offers music, dance, and Spanish with experienced and credentialed teachers at NO EXTRA CHARGE

Philosophy

The philosophy of the Preschool of the Arts, Inc is to create an atmosphere where students, parents, and staff are comfortable expressing themselves in a positive manner, where they feel affirmed for who they are and what they have to say. We will provide an environment that fosters integrity and honesty at every level. We believe that children learn best through play and the discovery of concepts that are a result of their curiosity.

Objectives

To present opportunities for each child that foster literacy in STREAM:

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Reading and writing
  • Engineering
  • Arts
  • Math

These objectives are met through indoor and outdoor play using the Connecticut Early Learning and Development Standards (ELDS). The children participate in varied activities which provide growth in these areas through social experiences, community visitors, field trips, walking trips, gardening, and special science experiments.

John and Susan Leavitt, Owners - Preschool of the Arts, Tolland, CT

John and Susan Leavitt, Owners

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John and Susan Leavitt, the owners of PSA, are dedicated to providing a safe, nurturing environment that encourages children to learn through play and discovery. They believe strongly in the importance of the arts during early childhood.

John comes to Preschool of the Arts Inc (PSA) from positions in small and large corporations where he has worked in management and as a meteorologist. John’s passion for working to improve the education of young children has grown since he became Sue’s partner in PSA in 2007. He concentrates on providing honest, high-quality customer service to all members of the PSA family. In his spare time, he loves to manage their woodlot, and during late February through early April, he can be found tapping maple trees and hauling and boiling lots of sap to make maple syrup. He also enjoys traveling, particularly in the US, and hiking in Vermont.

Sue purchased PSA in 1999 and has enjoyed sharing the years since 2007 with John as her partner. Susan’s background is in piano performance and music education. She has been teaching children of all ages for over 50 years, most recently concentrating on music for young children. She continues to teach piano privately. She has conducted drama/music workshops for children ages 8-18 during the summers. In her spare time, Sue loves to knit and quilt as well as travel wherever John does. International travel is expanding their view of the world – most recently, a Safari in Kenya.

The Leavitts love kids and enjoy any time they spend with their five grandchildren who are spread from Michigan to New Jersey. Sharing time with the children from the families at PSA is almost as good!

Gail Otis, Executive Director

Gail Otis, Executive Director

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After serving as the Director of the Tolland location of Preschool of the Arts for over eight years, Gail is now exclusively in the role of Executive Director serving all three locations. She supervises classroom curriculum, oversees and assists the teachers by giving feedback from classroom observations. Additionally, she assists the directors with hiring appropriate teachers for the centers. Her role is to provide knowledge and support to the teachers and administrators of each center.

Gail’s education includes a BA in Early Childhood Development and Psychology from Worcester State University, a CT Director’s Credential, and a CT Coaching permit. She has worked with a wide range of ages from early care to high school. She currently coaches volleyball and lacrosse at Tolland High School. Gail lives in Tolland with her husband and two children.

Her philosophy on Early Childhood Education is to provide a safe, nurturing, child-centered environment. This education is delivered to each child through purposeful play. Teaching them to think creatively will help them in the changing world in which they live. By viewing children as learners and encouraging them to make choices we, their elders, are then able to provide them with a strong foundation for increasing their knowledge.

Rebecca Hinckley, Director of Ellington PSA

Rebecca Hinckley, Director of Ellington PSA

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Becky is the director and music teacher at the Ellington School. She has been with Preschool of the Arts since 2002 and loves the family feeling that PSA provides. Having graduated with a Bachelor of Music from the University of Hartford, she knew that working with preschoolers was her calling. Becky enjoys seeing the look on the children’s faces when they are first learning a new skill and the excitement they show when they have mastered that skill. She has been director since 2009 and enjoys balancing her time in the classroom in the morning and the office in the afternoon. It gives her the opportunity to have a connection with both the children and the parents.

Becky lives with her husband and their daughter, and in her spare time, she enjoys singing in the Enfield Community Chorus as well as her church choir. Reading, crafting, and traveling are among some of her favorite pastimes.

Early Childhood Education is so important because, as educators, we lay the foundation for success throughout school and into adulthood. From problem-solving and critical thinking skills to learning to work together as a team, so much learning comes at this age. Mrs Hinckley is so thankful that, at Preschool of the Arts, each child is encouraged to explore and learn at their own pace with the guidance of the teachers around them.

Tracy Reid-Muhlhauser, Director Early Beginnings PSA

Tracy Reid-Steele, Director Early Beginnings PSA

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Tracy is the Director of Early Beginning at Preschool of the Arts. She has 20 years of experience in Early Childhood Education. Tracy’s education includes Early Childhood Development, Special Education, and Children/Adults with Disabilities with a background in Administration. She grew up in Indiana/Ohio and now lives in Tolland with her husband and daughter. Tracy’s son graduated from Temple University and currently lives in New Jersey.

She feels blessed every day to be able to teach children and mentor staff. It is truly a privilege to be involved with their development. Tracy strongly believes that a high-quality program must contain a developmentally appropriate component, where care and education cannot be thought of as separate entities in dealing with young children. All care for young children must be integrated, as they learn from everything to which they are exposed. PSA does just that!

Victoria Salzarulo, Director Tolland PSA

Victoria Salzarulo, Director Tolland PSA

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Victoria is the Director of the Tolland location of Preschool of the Arts. She has been in the field of Early Childhood Education for over 22 years. Teaching young children is her true passion. During her career, she has been a preschool assistant teacher, preschool lead teacher, infant toddler director, school-age supervisor, assistant director of the school, and most importantly a head teacher for preschool with a focus on age three to age five development. Preschoolers are her “jam.”

A graduate of Post University and Southern New Hampshire University, she holds two bachelor’s degrees, both relevant to the Early Childhood field. She grew up in the small town of Union and currently lives in Stafford Springs with her family.

Her spare time is spent reading, kayaking, fishing, and hiking with her family and two hound dogs, Oliver and Annabelle. She also likes retreating to their cabin in the North Woods of Maine to enjoy mother nature.

To find out more, contact the location nearest you.
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Early Beginnings

860-875-4847
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Preschool of the Arts Inc, Ellington

860-871-7332
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Preschool of the Arts Inc, Tolland

860-875-7195
“For anyone to grow up complete, art is imperative.”
-Paul Harvey, Broadcaster

Read A Review!

Preschool of the Arts is a WONDERFUL preschool. Both of my children attend and I know picking a school is not an easy decision. We had tried one other preschool in Ellington and were looking for a “warmer and friendlier” environment. We found it at Preschool of the Arts! It’s a great feeling when you notice the teachers are all happy dropping off AND picking up the kids. I have noticed a vast improvement in their social skills and am amazed by how much they are learning! The whole family is looking forward to their next little concert!!
-Laura P.