Daycare center proposed at Pine Hill School in Wilton

WILTON – A Child’s Nature Day Care hopes to open on the Wilton campus of Pine Hill Waldorf School but needs some support from the town to obtain a federal Community Development Block Grant to get started.

Director Peggy Waterhouse and Patrick Gillam, representing Pine Hill School, met with the Board of Selectmen on Nov. 18 to discuss the project.

The day care center was located at ConVal High School in Peterborough for a number of years, Waterhouse said, “but we were looking for families on this side of the mountain.”

The program was originally part of ConVal’s vocational education program in early childhood development, “but they wanted the space for something else, so we approached Pine Hill.”

The center is a fully licensed nonprofit facility and would care for children beginning at age 6 weeks, she said, from 6:45 a.m.- 5:30 p.m., providing care for middle- to low-income families.

An association with Pine Hill School is not required.

The town would have to work with Pine Hill School to submit the grant application, Waterhouse said, and disburse the funds.

“The grant provides money for the administrator,” she said, noting they had a volunteer grant writer willing to work on it.

Selectman Bill Condra said, “We have to understand our relationship with Pine Hill. The town cannot run a private school.”

Gillam said the relationship was a “landlord-tenant arrangement,” and not part of the school.

Selectman Chairman Dan Donovan said, “The day care issue (in the area) needs to be addressed. It’s not getting any better. I’d be interested in exploring the idea.”

Selectman Rick Swanson said he thought the center “would be a big public benefit,” and said he was willing to be the “person to go to” during the development.

Donovan said Waterhouse had to go before the Planning Board to set up a site plan review for a new enterprise. She said she would begin that process.