The Children's Early Learning Space
We nurture our children with ample free time spent outdoors.

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A partnership of families, educators and community supporting children in their discoveries as they prepare for life’s experiences.  Learn More

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The United States is experiencing a renaissance in early education. This is due to scientific research that has proven the importance of brain development in the first three years and the tremendous need for the support of young families in our times. Learn More

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We appreciate donations which may be monetary or in supplies, and are grateful to those who take the time to come see us and volunteer. Learn More

Coming Soon!

Parent Application

Parent handbooks and application forms are available on request (downloadable in PDF under "Forms"). Please include a nonrefundable fee of $50 per family with your application form. Parents awaiting the birth of a baby may submit an application including a due date and approximate desired entry date into the program.

The Waiting List

Wait listing is strongly encouraged due to constantly changing circumstances. When enrollment is open at The Children's Early Learning Space, our Director, Victoria Ward, will contact families on the waiting list. The first family on the list may hold the available slot by paying appropriate tuition. If the first family chooses not to pay tuition, the slot will be offered to the next family on the list and so on.


A letter offering enrollment will be sent to parents at their home address or via email, usually at least two to four weeks in advance of the availability to allow for a relaxed transition time. Parents have one week to accept or decline the offer of enrollment. A nonrefundable fee of one week’s tuition must be received by The Children's Early Learning Space not more than seven days after the date of the letter, or the first day of attendance, whichever comes first. Upon receipt of this fee, the child’s primary caregiver will contact parents to set up a time for an intake meeting, including a home visit. During the time between enrollment and start date, we encourage parents to visit at least 3 times with their child(ren).


To encourage diversity and the hope of making superior quality care accessible to all families, The Children's Early Learning Space fee schedule operates on a family gross income-based sliding scale. Like our program as a whole, the sliding scale is funded by grants and donations. A current copy of this scale is available on request. To use the sliding fee scale, a family must submit income verification including but not necessarily limited to the family’s latest annual tax return form 1040, and for each year thereafter. A family may request a reevaluation of income in the case of a significant change to the family’s income level. TCELS will notify all affected families in writing at least four weeks before any change in tuition rates. Families may also apply for state assistance to defray costs.

Fees are payable weekly in advance. Payment must be received by noon on the Friday before each week of enrollment. Monthly payments are encouraged if possible. Tuition is based on a yearly rate broken down into incremental payments. There is no credit for vacation days, holidays, sick days, or other days when your child does not attend TCELS. Statements are sent out the first wk in the month and reflect the most current balance available.

The Children's Early Learning Space
397 Main Street, Suite 5
Waterbury, Vermont  05676
Phone: (802) 244-5980
Fax: (802) 882-8371

Email The Children's Early Learning Space directly by submitting the form below:



Victoria Ward, Executive Director

The Children's Early Learning Space is excited to welcome Victoria Ward to our community as the new Executive Director. She has over 13 years of experience in Early Childhood Education and taught for five years, before spending the last eight leading programs, supporting families, and mentoring staff in renowned schools in both Connecticut and Vermont. She has a Vermont Director's Credential with extensive coursework in child development, curriculum design, and program management. She received her Bachelor's Degree from Lehigh University and then went on to get a Master's Degree in Sustainable Land Use Planning from the Conway School. 

While this may seem like a far cry from Early Childhood Education, Victoria is passionate about the multitude of educational opportunities available for children in the natural world an strives to connect future generations with the outdoor environment. She believes strongly that children are capable and curious, and strives to support each child's distinctive developmental profile. She believes that an engaged child is an educated child, and that their first experience with school should set them up for a lifelong love of learning. 

Victoria resides in Waterbury Center with her husband, Andrew, daughter, Hadley, and their big, goofy lab, Miles. She is excited to get to know each and every family at TCELS and to help support the growth of their children, the program, and the Waterbury community.

Sandy Bettis, Office Manager

Sandy comes to us from a long career with the State of Vermont.  She lives in Middlesex with a Chow named Simba.  She handles TCELS bookkeeping and administrative duties.  In her spare time, she enjoys mentoring, tutoring, reading, movies and exploring new places.   

Clara Wootton, Assistant Director & Infant Room

Clara grew up in Southern Vermont and earned her BA in Visual Arts from Marlboro College. She started teaching officially in 2003 after helping at the child care center her mother directed in her youth, and is working towards a certificate in early education at Central Vermont Community College. In 2005 and 2006, her first child and second child were born and she chose to take a break and stay home. She has been living in Waterbury with her family for the past eight years. In her free time, Clara loves to hike, swim, camp, ski, garden and share the beauty of Vermont with her own children and the children she works with, getting outside as much as possible.




Laura Ladieu, Infant Room

Laura has been working for TCELS since May 2018. She started working in child care centers as a substitute in 2012 after she graduated from the Human Services program at Barre Technical Center. Laura then went on to be a teaching assistant while taking college classes at CCV. Later on, she was married, had her first child, made the decision to be a stay at home mom for a couple of years, and then had her second child. After being home with them for a bit, she decided to get back to work and has been at TCELS ever since. She started as a floating teacher and was offered a primary teaching position two months later.




Cathy Casey, Toddler Room

Cathy grew up in St Albans and currently resides in Waterbury. She first came to the area after graduating from the University of Vermont with a four year degree in early childhood education. She began her career as an infant and toddler teacher at the Ben & Jerry’s Child Care Center. She has been teaching ever since.  Cathy has enjoyed the relationships built with families throughout the years and finds this the most rewarding part of her career. She believes that supporting social and physical growth are the two most important factors of learning from birth through preschool.  Cathy lives with her husband, daughter, son and two cats. 




Tiffany Ladieu, Toddler Room

Tiffany grew up in Central Vermont and earned her AA in Early Childhood Education from CCV and her BA in psychology from Northern Vermont University. She started in the education line of work by working in a middle school as a paraprofessional for five years then made the switch to a toddler teacher. Tiffany believes that social, emotional and physical growth are an important stepping stone when it comes to learning. In her free time, she enjoys biking, swimming, reading, sewing and going for walks.




Raven LaRose, Preschool

Raven is one of the teachers in the preschool room at The Children's Early Learning Space. She has been in ECE for the past six, almost seven years. She recently completed a 2.5 year apprenticeship program that earned her Certificate as a Child Development Specialist from the Department of Labor. This was after completing six college courses and 4,000 hours of on the job training along with many observations from her mentor.  Raven loves swimming, painting, spending time with her fiance and son, and taking care of her house plants.







Megan Macauley, Preschool

Megan grew up right here in beautiful Waterbury, VT. She comes to us with over ten years of experience of working in preschools. She graduated from Johnson State College in Johnson, VT, with a BA in Early Ed/Professional Studies and earned her teaching license through the Vermont Agency of Education.  Megan enjoys hiking, kayaking, live music, and traveling. In her free time, you are likely to find her at a local book store, coffee shop, or farmers market.  We are happy to welcome our newest member of the team!







Infant Program
For children 6 weeks through approximately 18 months old.

Toddler Program
For children 18 months through 3 years old.

Preschool Program
For children 3 through 5 years old.

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A partnership of families, educators, and community supporting children in their discoveries as they prepare for life's experiences. 

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