Local preschool celebrates 40 years

Nancy Dobbs says goodbye after 12 years of teaching at Countryside Preschool

Early Childhood Educator Nancy Dobbs is retiring this month from Countryside Preschool after 12 years of teaching. 

Countryside Preschool is celebrating the big 4-0 next month as well as saying goodbye to a long-time teacher.

On June 8, the preschool will host a day of fun in celebration of 40 years of Countryside at St. Stephen’s Church. The day will also mark a celebration of Nancy Dobbs’ hard work.

“Countryside is an amazing place,” said parent volunteer Rachel Fisher.

“It really brings people together and the mix of ages in the school is really great for socialization.

“We’re lucky to have a place like this.”

Countryside is a cooperative preschool, meaning parents who can, volunteer at the school up to three times a month, something Fisher said is extremely important to her.

“I can be here every so often and I get to see her learn and grow. It really is great.”

The preschool, which has been operating out of St. Stephen’s Church hall (although it is secular) in the Newton Valley for 40 years has been run by Early Childhood Educator (ECE) Nancy Dobbs for the past 12 years.

“This school is very unique in the fact that it’s multi age as well as a co-op preschool,” said Dobbs.

“I’ve really loved working with the parents and the children and sharing in education with them.”

Dobbs was the recipient of the B.C. Childcare Award of Excellence last year through a nomination by a group of parents from the school.

“I was very touched by the sense of community and the appreciation the parents had for myself and the school,” said Dobbs of the award.

Among her many other roles in running Countryside, Dobbs has also made it a priority to offer parent education nights at the school once a month to help teach the parent volunteers about ECE.

In her retirement, Dobbs will be focusing on music, another love of hers that she shares with the children at Countryside.

“I’m looking forward to pursuing more music-related things but I’m also very happy that I’ll be able to come back to Countryside and volunteer with the kids as well,” said Dobbs, who plans to help out at the school often.

The new ECE taking over at the school, Madelaine Hittos, is also keen on music, and Dobbs said she is happy music will continue on in the school through her.

The open air picnic takes place June 8 from 3 to 7 p.m. in the field behind St. Stephen’s Church (7921 St. Stephen’s Rd.) All are welcome to attend, especially alumni of the school.

There will be a barbecue, a silent auction, a bake sale, games for children and more.

Tickets (adults, $12 advance, $15 at the gate, children (4 to 12) $5, and three and under are free) are available by emailing countryside.picnic@gmail.com or by calling 250-652-3424.

For more information on Countryside, visit www.countrysidepreschool.org.


Did you know?

Countryside Preschool offers Stay and Play every Wednesday from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Stay and Play is a free, drop-in playtime for children of any age and the adults who care for them. Children can enjoy indoor play equipment as well as crafts and music. Adults can enjoy some time to visit and connect with other parents or caregivers of young children from the Saanich Peninsula. For more information, call 250-652-3424.