MONTPELIER — A Vermont-based group of schools plans to start a new preschool in Montpelier in January, giving local families another option for child-care services.
The new Loveworks Child Care Center, part of Heartworks Preschools, will be at 24 Mountain View St., in a building owned by National Life. This was the result of a request for proposals from National Life, which was looking to have child-care services in its building, and Heartworks was selected. The Loveworks center will be open to the wider community as well as employees of National Life and the state.
The new facility will offer full-time, year-round child care for children 6 weeks old through pre-kindergarten. Heartworks currently has preschool locations in Burlington, Shelburne, Williston and Stowe.
Andrea Beam, director of administration for Heartworks Preschools, said Heartworks had been looking at reaching into areas with particular need for high-quality, affordable, year-round child care.
Beam said Montpelier “wasn’t necessarily an area we had our eyes on,” however, when National Life sent out a request for proposals, it seemed like a great opportunity to expand into the area. There has been a particular need for child care in the Montpelier region, she added.
“We’ve just been realizing the need for child care in Vermont, and especially infant care,” Beam said.
Sean Woodroffe, chief people officer at National Life, was optimistic about the partnership between the company and Heartworks.
“National Life conducted a search throughout the Northeast region to find the program that could best meet the needs of our employees and central Vermont’s young children,” Woodroffe said in a news release. “We determined that Heartworks was that program.”
Heartworks was founded in 1988 as a home-based preschool in Shelburne. The current owners are Paul and Lisa Zengilowski, who Beam said took ownership of the schools in 2013.
Since its founding, the group has expanded to four preschool locations, an elementary school and a middle school. After the debut of the Montpelier preschool, Heartworks plans to open a STEAM Academy (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) in Essex in the spring.
Along with its educational mission, Beam said Heartworks strives to be a job creator in Vermont. She also said Heartworks is in the process of becoming 100-percent employee-owned.
Another focus for the business is to provide meaningful benefits for its employees. Beam said child-care centers typically offer hourly pay and not many benefits.
“We’re trying to raise the bar in that regard,” she said.
After years in the child-care business, Heartworks is “in a good position right now to outreach,” Beam said. The company has about 70 employees and over 400 students.
She also emphasized the company has long-established roots in Vermont and is independent — not part of any chain.
“We started in a home, and have been Vermont-owned the whole time,” Beam said.
Loveworks is currently accepting applications for enrollment beginning February 2017. For more information, contact Beam at 951-1826 or by emailing email@example.com.
More information is also on the Loveworks Child Care Centers’ Facebook page.