Westville Community Nursery School
3 Tour Ave.
New Haven CT 06515-2814
Contact Information
Address 3 Tour Ave.
New Haven, CT 06515-2814
Telephone (203) 3876660 x
Fax 0-0
E-mail director@wcnsplay2learn.org
Web and Social Media
   To serve young children by providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum which enhances self-esteem, promotes problem-solving skills, and fosters healthy emotional, social, physical, language and intellectual growth. Our program helps build a community of active, engaged learners and families. 
At A Glance
Year of Incorporation 1992
Organization's type of tax exempt status Exempt-Other
CEO/Executive Director Patricia O'Hanlon
Board Chair Kathryn Wiessinger
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Financial Summary
Revenue vs Expenses Bar Graph - All Years
Mission    To serve young children by providing a developmentally appropriate curriculum which enhances self-esteem, promotes problem-solving skills, and fosters healthy emotional, social, physical, language and intellectual growth. Our program helps build a community of active, engaged learners and families. 
Background    Westville Community Nursery School was founded in 1971 and has made it's home in the center of New Haven's West Village. WCNS has been a vital part of the New Haven community for over 4 decades. Community is at the heart of everything that takes place at WCNS. The school is dedicated to serving not just students, but their families as well.
   Many activities occur during the school year offering a wide variety of opportunities for families to support the school, each other, and the greater community. The school sponsors many events to foster new relationships among families and staff. Families are an integral part of WCNS. WCNS welcomes families in the classroom and values the talents, interests and resources that families and friends have to share; whether to read a story to a small group of children, cook with the children, teach yoga, share a custom or tradition, or play a musical instrument.
   We are a network of teachers, students and families committed to quality preschool education and to the larger New Haven community.
Impact Westville Community Nursery School has been a staple of the New Haven community for over 4 decades; a community that is larger than it's walls. Children and families create lifelong friendships and, in some cases, return as adults with their own children. Many of the current teachers, in fact, have had their own children attend WCNS.
WCNS was fortunate in the past year to hire a new teacher due to an increase in enrollment. We are excited to offer play-based, high quality education to more of the children in our community. Through the New Haven School Readiness grant we are able to help students and families financially with tuition, allowing more children the opportunity to attend WCNS. We are hopeful that in the future we can expand our program even further to better support our community's needs.
Westville Community Nursery School is nothing without the dedication and heart of the teachers and Director. Our teachers use the Connecticut Early Learning Development Curriculum Standards (CELDCS) and National Association for the Education of Young Children's (NAEYC) accreditation standards as guides for planning. CTELDS and the NAEYC standards support children in all areas of development ensuring that we teach the "whole" child. It is with great pride, and hard work, that WCNS has recently been reaccredited with NAEYC, an accomplishment we have continued since 1994 and which we will continue to maintain as the impact of this is directly beneficial to the students.
Community is at the heart of everything that takes place at WCNS. The school is dedicated to serving not just the students but the families as well. A way that parents and community members help WCNS grow, not just capitally but as a community, is through the exclusively volunteer based Board. The Board creates and facilitates many family and community events throughout the year that fosters relationships and, in many cases, lifelong bonds. Through Development and Publicity, our website has received a facelift. We are adding communication tools to further involve families and the community ways they can support the school and children: through volunteering, sharing an interest or monetarily. WCNS is strengthening it's already deep roots.
Needs The 2013-2016 school years marked two monumental years for WCNS. The lease for our home, of 44 years, was not renewed and the race to find a permanent space began.Through careful research and consideration, we came to find that it would be more cost effective to purchase a forever home. After over a year of searching, we found and closed on a property that cost $265,000. This amount refers only to the property itself and doesn't reflect the other costs it will take to house the WCNS program. While the property was not perfect, through the renovations and playground construction we made it a very special place. We needed to purchase new classroom furniture to fit the new space as well. These were on top of our current operating expenses and support needs that serve the students. To keep costs affordable, and not drastically raise tuition, we are relying on charitable donations to help us provide the materials and opportunities necessary to enrich the students experiences at WCNS.
CEO Statement Westville Community Nursery School holds a special place in my heart. I have been in the Early Childhood Education field in a variety of programs for over 29 years in the capacity of a teacher and as an administrator. I believe that WCNS is a very special school for these reasons.
1. The teachers are of high caliber. They are committed to providing children with nurturing care and creative educational experiences through play, exploration and discovery. They are truly dedicated to each individual child. They make extra efforts to meet each child’s interests and needs. They go above and beyond their job responsibilities. They really care about children. They are invested in their relationships with children and their families.It is not just a job to them all but a passion. Every year when families fill out the family survey and answer the question “What do you like most about WCNS?”, many, many families throughout my tenure have commented with great accolades about our teaching staff.
2. The partnership with families at WCNS is one I have never seen before at any other program I’ve worked in. Families (parents, siblings, grandparents) are always welcome at school. They are encouraged to participate in the program through volunteering in the classroom, participating in a committee and sharing experiences, interests and cultures with the children.
3. We host many family activities throughout the year to build community spirit. Annually we hold a diaper drive to benefit the New Haven Diaper Bank. We participate in Westville Village ArtWalk by providing an activity in the children’s section. We hold a school fair “Jump-a-thon” to raise money for our school as well as provide fun activities for young children. Our collaborative efforts with Mitchell Library, the fire station, the post office, Westville Village Renaissance Alliance and local businesses help strengthen the fabric of this community.
Board Chair Statement Over the course of the past three years, our organization has faced the challenge of having to relocate after 44 years in the same location. Coupled with maintaining the everyday demands of operating a high quality early childhood program, relocation has proved to be exhausting to say the least. However exhausting this process has been, there is not one moment that I would change. It has all been a learning process that I have embraced wholeheartedly. At the beginning of last year I thought I knew, without a doubt, what the meaning of community was – it has always been at the heart of what drives WCNS’ vision and mission; but in our most desperate time of need we have been shown how strong our community truly is. Our parents have banded together in support of our school. Our relocation committee, Board of Directors, teachers and Director have all shown their true love and dedication to high quality, early childhood education in all that they do. Community members, with no direct ties to our school, have come forward to lend advice, expertise and assistance with only the general knowledge of our importance to the greater New Haven community. I am, with a very sad hart, working through my final year as part of WCNS’ Board of Directors. I have dedicated countless hours and endless energy to the running and continuation of this Westville institution. WCNS has provided a foundation for my three children that I truly believe could not have been found anywhere else. And every time I look at my children and see the love of learning dancing in their eyes, any stress that may have been brought with my position melts away. I am reminded that my children have received the BEST preschool education possible. I would dedicate the rest of my life to ensure that every parent in New Haven could have the same opportunity.
Service Categories
Primary Organization Category Education / Preschools
Areas Served
New Haven
We serve, primarily, the West Village of New Haven but have children attending from neighboring towns (Woodbridge and Hamden).
Description At WCNS, we believe that our curriculum must be both developmentally appropriate and relevant to each child's life experiences, interests and needs. Our play-based program offers children ample time to make choices, discover materials, explore ideas, and reflect on their experiences. We see play as a fundamental mode of learning, and truly believe that play is a young child's work. Our teachers act as facilitators of learning and guide children as they acquire skills and knowledge.
Our teachers use an intentional cycle of teaching. First they develop an "emergent" curriculum by observing and recognizing the interests and needs of the children - as individuals and as a group. Then they implement the weekly "learning experience plans" and record children's progress. Finally, data on children's performance and ideas from the children influence the next round of planning. We want to ensure that we teach the "whole" child.
Population Served Infants to Preschool (under age 5) / /
Program is linked to organization’s mission and strategy Yes
Program is frequently assessed based on predetermined program goals Yes
Short Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe near term achievement(s) or improvement(s) that will result from this program. This may represent immediate outcomes occurring as a result of the end of a session or service. Our short-term success that we worked on this year was our increased web presence. We are creating tools through our website that informs and updates families and the community. We have an active Facebook page that offers more day to day goings on and allows our community to grow with the inclusion of distant relatives, alumni and community members.
Long Term SuccessHelpOrganizations describe the ultimate change(s) that will result from this program. This may be far into the future and represent an ideal state. Our long-term goals that we are currently working on are getting an endowment to financially help in-need families with tuition, partnering with a local University and matriculating Early Education students with hands on experience allowing both sets of students new learning opportunities, and the continuation of our NAEYC certification.
Program Success Monitored ByHelpOrganizations describe the tools used to measure or track program impact. To monitor the success of our program we use a series of surveys. The first is the parent mid year survey offered online. Results are evaluated by the Board and improvements and/or changes are reported back to staff and parents. At the end of the year: parents have two surveys to fill out, an in-house survey and a NAEYC survey. The in-house survey is evaluated by the Board and reported to staff, the teachers fill out a NAEYC survey, the Board performs a self evaluation and an evaluation of the Director.
Examples of Program SuccessHelpOrganization's site specific examples of changes in clients' behaviors or testimonies of client's changes to demonstrate program success. Our programs success can be seen in our continual NAEYC certification, the Connecticut DPH license, and the fact that we are filled to capacity in enrollment and have an extensive waiting list to attend our school.
Program Comments
CEO Comments Since our founding in 1971, home had been 34 Harrison Street in the West Village of New Haven in a space rented from the United Church of Westville. As the church's congregation has grown their need for more space had increased as well, causing them to serve notice that they would not be renewing the lease for WCNS. After 4 decades, WCNS needed a new home. Over a year of searching paid off because we purchased a property in an ideal location in the heart of Westville. While the location is perfect the building was far from it. The interior needed a complete overhaul. In addition to the renovation, we have had unforeseen elements, and costs, arise (environmental survey, property survey, weather challenges) that had delayed construction thus delaying our relocation and having to pay both rent and mortgage. Our playground was challenged. After a beautiful plan was drawn up, using both our original pieces and incorporating some new, we were only able to move our existing structures at the time due to the high cost of the new playground equipment, moving and renovation expenses. As a school where one "plays to learn," providing a beautiful and engaging outdoor space is key, especially when the children spend hour a day outside. We want to continue providing exemplary play based learning while not drastically increasing tuition, which would dramatically change our demographic, so we are looking to charitable donations to help us offer opportunities for everyone.
CEO/Executive Director
Patricia O'Hanlon
Term Start Nov 2006
Email patty@wcnsplay2learn.org
Experience Patricia has been the Director of WCNS since 2006 and in the Early Childhood field for 30 years, both as a teacher and an administrator in many different types of programs. She holds a Bachelor's degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a Master's degree from Fairfield University, both in Early Childhood Education (ECE). She has earned her State of CT Director's Credential. Patricia is also an Adjunct ECE Instructor at Naugatuck Valley Community College and a State of CT Education Consultant. 
Number of Full Time Staff 2
Number of Part Time Staff 3
Number of Volunteers 1
Number of Contract Staff 0
Staff Retention Rate 100%
Staff Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 0
Caucasian 4
Hispanic/Latino 1
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Staff Demographics - Gender
Male 0
Female 5
Unspecified 0
Plans & Policies
Organization has a Fundraising Plan? Under Development
Organization has a Strategic Plan? Yes
Years Strategic Plan Considers 3
Date Strategic Plan Adopted Aug 2013
Management Succession Plan? Under Development
Organization Policy and Procedures Yes
Nondiscrimination Policy Yes
Former CEOs and Terms
Gladys Deutsch July 1988 - July 1996
Adele Messin July 1996 - Dec 2006
Formal Evaluations
CEO Formal Evaluation Yes
CEO/Executive Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
Senior Management Formal Evaluation N/A
Non Management Formal Evaluation Yes
Non Management Formal Evaluation Frequency Annually
CEO Comments The largest challenge facing WCNS continues to be our relocation effort. After an exhaustive, year-long search we have found and purchased a property within downtown Westville. Our new property is both ideal for our school and a very welcome addition to the immediate neighborhood who are thrilled to see a vibrant, positive business relocate next door. While the location is superb, the building itself needed significant renovation to make a suitable pre-school home. Last year we found ourselves working through the zoning needs, environmental survey requirements, and addressing known and unknown renovation elements as they arose. Once the process was complete there was still a major move to vacate our home of 44 years while continuing to operate the school.
In this time of change WCNS has a number of opportunities on the horizon. Exiting our lease with the church and operating out of a self-owned building will alleviate the time restrictions we faced and allowed us to explore weekend and summer functions or programs. Westville has a number of summer camps for older children but pre-school age summer programs are lacking and this is a niche we are looking forward to as we will be kicking off our first summer camp program this summer. WCNS has an excellent reputation within the community and a waiting list of interested families. We have surveyed current families and received very positive feedback about beginning new programs. With all these wonderful opportunities ahead of us funding continues to be a hurdle, providing quality services that reach the whole community.
Board Chair
Kathryn Wiessinger
Company Affiliation Community Volunteer
Term July 2015 to June 2016
Board of Directors
Kim Davies Community Volunteer
Lisa Desfosses Community Volunteer
Asha Evans Community Volunteer
Brandon Fuller Community Volunteer
Christine Hoffnung Community Volunteer
Leeora Netter Community Volunteer
Tahera Parvez Community Volunteer
Carroll Possick Community Volunteer
Laurie Sweet Community Volunteer
Eric Wiessinger Community Volunteer
Board Demographics - Ethnicity
African American/Black 0
Asian American/Pacific Islander 2
Caucasian 9
Hispanic/Latino 0
Native American/American Indian 0
Other 0 0
Board Demographics - Gender
Male 2
Female 9
Fiscal Year Start July 01 2015
Fiscal Year End June 30 2016
Projected Revenue $232,383.00
Projected Expenses $187,382.00
Spending Policy N/A
Credit Line No
Reserve Fund Yes
Detailed Financials
Prior Three Years Assets and Liabilities Chart
Fiscal Year201420132012
Total Assets$121,669$75,960$57,881
Current Assets$104,920$67,461$47,401
Long-Term Liabilities------
Current Liabilities$4,875--$3,861
Total Net Assets$116,794$75,960$54,020
Prior Three Years Top Three Funding Sources
Fiscal Year201420132012
Top Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Second Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Third Highest Funding Source & Dollar Amount -- -- --
Capitial Campaign
Currently in a Capital Campaign? Yes
Goal $200,000.00
Dates May 2016 to June 2021
Amount Raised To Date 11000 as of Apr 2016
Capital Campaign Anticipated in Next 5 Years? Yes
Foundation Staff Comments This profile, including the financial summaries prepared and submitted by the organization based on its own independent and/or internal audit processes and regulatory submissions, has been read by the Foundation. Some financial information from the organization’s IRS Form 990, audited financial statements or other financial documents approved has been inputted by Foundation staff. The Foundation has not audited the organization’s financial statements or tax filings, and makes no representations or warranties thereon. A more complete picture of the organization’s finances can be obtained by viewing the attached 990s and audited financials. To see if the organization has received a competitive grant from The Community Foundation in the last five years, please go to the General Information Tab of the profile.
Address 3 Tour Ave.
New Haven, CT 065152814
Primary Phone 203 3876660
CEO/Executive Director Patricia O'Hanlon
Board Chair Kathryn Wiessinger
Board Chair Company Affiliation Community Volunteer


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