Bloom Natural Learning Center started seven years ago in the Center Moriches home of Tara and Steve Kochanskyj. Tara has been working in preschool education since 1998 and when an opportunity arose to start her own venture, she took it.
So, she converted the home into a preschool center and moved the family into the basement. In 2015, they bought a property at 165 Montauk Highway, and just moved the program there in July of this year.
Bloom has grown exponentially since realizing the new space. The school went from a capacity of 12 preschoolers and six grade-school students during the summer to a total capacity of 66 students. They also grew from just two staff members to over 13. And the school is booked solid for infants and has only a few spots left for preschool. The school has so far attracted mainly people from the Moriches area as well as Mastics and Shirley, but has also seen people from as far as Eastport, Patchogue and Baiting Hollow.
Bloom is a holistic learning environment, where students’ social and emotional needs are prioritized, and they are given a structure that allows for experiential development.
“Children learn naturally from experiences,” Kochanskyj said.
The property is on two acres, with four outdoor spaces for kids to play, which they do every day. There is also an outdoor classroom where kids can experience circle time and work in a “mud kitchen.” The school also has a kitchen where homemade food is prepared every day for breakfast, lunch and snacks. Most of the ingredients are organic and healthy. Kochanskyj said she wants to make sure the children are eating well while at school, stemming from her own experience as a mother.
The programs run from infants as young as six weeks up to children under 12 years. The summer program differs in that it is a looser environment and brings in more kids that are already in school. There is a dance teacher on staff, who also does music and yoga with the kids, and Spanish is integrated into each of the classes. Parents can sign up for a two-, three-, four-, or five-day program, and select a nine-hour time block, which coincides with the staff schedules, allowing for consistency for the children.
The school is also equipped with modern security measures, like an always-locked front door and key codes to enter each classroom. All classes are monitored with cameras. And for parents that want to check in, Bloom has a smartphone app available that teachers can use to publish real-time updates for how kids are doing, and even post photos of class activities.
For more information on the school, visit www.bloomlearningcenter.com.