A Message from the Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool Director
Welcome to Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool.
For over 30 years, CHT has provided a high-quality, play-based early childhood program for families in the Westport area. We are dedicated to offering a learning environment that values the natural curiosity of childhood and reflects the unique interests and abilities of each child. Together we are a community of educators, families and church members with the shared goal of providing a nurturing and enriching preschool experience for young children.
Our philosophy is inspired by the Reggio Emilio approach and a deep respect for each child’s innate desire to understand the world around them and express themselves. We believe each child is an active, capable learner and we provide experiences that promote resilience, efficacy and cooperation.. Our curriculum utilizes the teaching methods of the Project Approach. Our teachers follow the lead of the children as they explore their questions, research, experiment, represent their ideas and reflect on their discoveries. Through these projects children develop and practice the cognitive and social emotional skills they will need as life-long learners.
We understand and value the importance of providing young children with play-based learning experiences that stimulate a sense of wonder and embrace their social-emotional development. The teachers at CHT are committed to our shared vision of supporting positive connections and individual growth in each child. Our school has the distinction of being accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). We are also a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (NAES) and are an important ministry of Christ & Holy Trinity Episcopal Church.
We look forward to welcoming you and your family to our Christ & Holy Trinity community!
The mission of Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool is to enable children to become confident, independent, resourceful learners who are empowered to care for themselves, their community and our environment. At the core of our program is to provide a nurturing early childhood curriculum, set within the framework of a family-centered and Christian community. Our developmentally appropriate program is child-directed.
The philosophy of Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool is inspired by the preschools of Reggio Emilia, Italy, as it is appropriate and practical in an American school environment. This celebrated pedagogy is based on emergent curriculum and includes topic studies and project work derived from both teacher-designed provocation and child-initiated interests. This integrated model is mindful of each child’s social needs.
Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool was inaugurated on Ash Wednesday 1982. While the history of the Christ & Holy Trinity Church’s engagement in early childhood education dates back to 1966, this new beginning marked the onset of many changes that remain at the core of our Preschool today, including a weekly Chapel service led by the clergy of the Christ & Holy Trinity Church and a renovation of the Preschool’s historic building with developmentally appropriate facilities. This commitment to create an ideal environment for young minds, while preserving the historic charm of the Seabury Building continues today. For example, the Preschool recently renovated the campus grounds to feature an extensive and custom-designed outdoor play space that provides countless exploration opportunities for our students.
In 2013, Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool had the distinction of being accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) for the fourth time. This prestigious recognition is achieved by fewer than 10 percent of early childhood programs nationwide. Research supports the value of accreditation for children. In particular, children's language skills and social skills benefit from the better quality found in accredited programs. These skills are critical for children's success in life as well as school. In addition, the Preschool is licensed by the Connecticut Office of Early Childhood and is a member of the National Association of Episcopal Schools (“NAES”).
Allison Vodola joined CHT Preschool as one of the Butterfly and Caterpillar teachers in 2016. She is excited to be teaching in the Sun class (4's program) where she'll bring more of her experiences teaching Pre-K and Four's in Fairfield County for the past 18 years as well as teaching art & science enrichment programs for the last 5 years. Allison has her Associates degree in Early Childhood Education and Science. Other areas of passionate interest include art, photography and making hand crafted jewelry. Allison also finds time to be a personal trainer and an elite racer for paddle boarding. She enjoys yoga, lifting and snowboarding. Allison and her husband have 3 wonderful boys ages, 16, 13 and 10 and a dog named Abby.
Angela Silano is very excited to return to CHT this fall. She is one of our Caterpillar and Butterfly teachers. Prior to her return she continued to teach in a Reggio inspired preschool. Angela loves teaching young children and delights in experiencing that first "AHA" moment with them. Angela graduated from Charter Oak State College and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Early Childhood Education. She is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society recognizing academic achievements and the ability to balance the competing roles of work and family life. Angela lives in Norwalk with her husband Victor and has two children. In her spare time she enjoys cooking, reading, and taking walks with friends.
Ann Dickson is looking forward to her fourth year at CHT Preschool where she will be teaching in our threes Sea Class. She has been teaching three and four year olds in Fairfield County for the past ten years. Ann holds a degree in English Literature from Wheaton College and a Master's in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College. Ann and her husband are the parents of two sons. In her free time, Ann enjoys baking, walking, and reading.
Georgia Morrison has joined us in the Sea Class. She comes to us with several years of experience in preschool programs from all over Fairfield county. She is the mother of two school-age children and a toddler. We are excited to have her join us at CHT.
Hillary Cummings started subbing at CHT in 2018 and is very excited to be teaching in the Caterpillar class this year. Hilary earned her Education Specialist Degree at the University of Colorado Denver and worked as a School Psychologist for six years at the elementary school level. She also worked for Child Find in Colorado, an organization focused on connecting children age birth to 5 with community resources. Hilary moved to Westport 5 years ago where she lives with her husband, two boys and dog Lulu. In her free time she loves being at the beach with her kids and cooking with her husband.
Jerilyne Davis-Arslanagic joins us as floater teacher to the Sun and Star classes. We are excited to have her.
Lori Murray returns this fall as one of our Caterpillar teachers as well as one of our Sea Class teachers. Prior to coming to CHT Preschool in 2016 Lori spent 10 years teaching for another preschool in Westport as a Two's teacher. She has a Psychology degree from Southern CT State University with a concentration in Early Childhood Education. Lori lives in Trumbull with her husband Kevin and their 2 children. She enjoys running outside and spending time with her family.
Maria Rosa-Rockoff joined our staff as one of our Star teachers (5’s program) in 2015. Maria has worked in early childhood education in Fairfield County for 21 years. She holds an A.S. degree in Early Childhood Education from Naugatuck Community College and attended UCONN Stamford working towards a B.A. degree Human Services, with a focus on Women's Studies. Maria is currently enrolled at Charter Oak State College. She and her husband live in Easton. She has two children and three grandchildren that she loves spending time with any chance she can get. She enjoys trail running or playing racquetball with friends.
Maureen Hines will be teaching the Sky Class 5 days a week this year. Maureen holds a BS degree from Old Dominion University with a minor in education and went on to study kinesiology, sociology and positive psychology after receiving her undergraduate degree. She has a passion for the outdoors, mindful movement, and self-expression through yoga, art and cooking. Maureen and her husband, Jim, have three children. She and Jim, a Norwalk Firefighter, and son, Kyle, live here in Westport.
Melinda Bell began teaching at Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool in 2003. Melinda is currently one of the Moon Teachers (4's Program). Prior to joining CHT Preschool, Melinda worked in the three's and four's program at the Child Care Learning Center in Stamford, CT, and taught Pre-K to 8th Grade for 12 years at the Westchester Area S.D.A. School in New Rochelle, NY. Melinda's teaching experience spans over 30 years. She received her B.A. degree in Secondary Education from Queens College and her CDA from Norwalk Community College. She is fluent in Spanish and enjoys reading, traveling and gardening. Melinda is married and has two children.
Melissa Coughlin joins the Rainbow class. This is her first year at the preschool, however, Melissa is the Associate for Children's Ministries at the Christ & Holy Trinity Church. Melissa lives in Westport with her husband, Michael, and their four children. On any given weekend, you will likely find her at one of the local beaches or skateboarding parks with her adventurous family. She is excited about bringing her excitement and love of learning to the preschool.
Sharon Lenfest was a teacher in the 3’s program at CHT for eight years prior to assuming the role of Director of Christ & Holy Trinity Preschool. Sharon has a B.A. degree in Psychology from Bucknell University, where she also received certification in Elementary Education. She has also completed coursework through the Office of Early Childhood Program Leadership Initiative to fulfill her Director’s Credential. In addition to previous experience teaching preschool and elementary school, Sharon served as an Intake and & Emergency Case Manager and Therapist with the Child & Adolescent Division of the Mental Health Corporation in Denver, CO. There she designed and implemented a therapeutic preschool program for 3 to 6 year olds and the Growing Together parenting program. Sharon also served as a Project Director in the Psychology Department at Carnegie Mellon University where she coordinated several cancer research projects affiliated with the Pittsburgh Mind-Body Center. Sharon, her husband and 2 daughters (Sylvia, age 13 and Fiona, age 15) live in Wilton, CT.