As we approach GOOD Morning Wilton‘s third anniversary, we’re taking a look back at some of the first stories we covered to give readers an update. One of the big stories in our first month was about the closure of On School Road, the preschool and art program run by “Miss Sharon” Cowley at Comstock Community Center. Beloved by many families, she was known as a nurturing, super-creative, flexible head of the program.

Part of Parks and Recreation, On School Road was forced to close when the state cited it for not having the proper licensing. When the town opted not to pursue a daycare license, many families were left stranded just one week before the start of school with no plan for their young children, and the school’s teachers were left without jobs. Sharon was devastated.

What a difference three years makes. Sharon decided to create her own school, and on Sept. 2, 2014 she opened the doors to Create Learning Center, located at 463 Danbury Rd.. The program offers creative preschool programs and extended-day childcare for children from 19 months to 5 years old, after school and enrichment classes for students in grades K-12, and summer camp.

Known for flexibility for families, Sharon has made particular effort to help accommodate family schedules in summer when parent schedules might make it harder to mesh with the summer break from school, or when families are looking to supplement other activities.

“What happens when parent schedules don’t allow more time for play, or parents don’t know how to keep their children stimulated not just entertained for those long summer hours? Wilton schools have a longer summer break this year and everyone also wants to keep kids from experiencing learning loss over the summer months,” Sharon says.

Create’s camps run June 13–August 26, and there are a variety of options:  2-, 3- and 5-days a week. There’s a rolling drop-off from 8-9 a.m. to facilitate parents with children in multiple programs, and parents can choose between pickups at 1 p.m., 4 p.m. or 6 p.m..

But the thing parents love about Miss Sharon’s programs are the creative projects she and her teachers come up with. She brings almost as much enthusiasm to the classroom as her students do, but there’s always an educational component behind the fun activities.

“One of the things we really try to do is help kids get the benefit of being carefree in the summer, and letting them explore, to be ‘Kids’ with a capital K. But we’re also thinking about the slide into learning. The theme this summer is ‘Art of the Story,’ and I can’t wait for all the things we’re going to do!”

Children will discover a new author and style each week, and will write, illustrate, animate, and act out the books they read. We can imagine, dream and create new worlds as we play, cook, create, splash and get dirty – very dirty! Come with us as we paint and animate our way through Eric Carle’s world, create our own lyrical place Dr. Seuss will be happy to visit, and cook with Strega Nona to eat our way through Tommy Depaola’s home. We are ready for an adventure – so pack your bags, grab a book, and follow us this summer!

As examples, Sharon says that each week campers will read, imitate, draw, animate and create stories similar to authors and artists. “They’ll make homemade pasta with Strega Nona; paint, cut and animate movies in the style of Eric Carle; make collages with Lois Ehlers, and sew some Wild Things with Maurice Sendak,” she says.

The Morning arts and crafts activities build small motor, critical thinking, and math skills through sewing, cooking, movie making, sculpture, drawing and painting. But gross motor skills don’t get a rest while they play outside on the zip line, bouncy house or pirate ship, participate in a soccer or t-ball game, run through the sprinklers or play in the sand.

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For more information and to see more pictures of kids in action visit the Create Learning Center website or call Sharon at 203.762.6161.