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Meet Marla Proestakis, Teacher at Northford Community Nursery School

Hear what Marla Proestakis had to say about her experience teaching Northford's tiniest residents.

Your little tyke is growing up fast. Baby talk has been replaced by conversations and diapers are gone for good. Your three- (or four- or five-) year-old is like a sponge right now, soaking up every new word, facial expression and body language she encounters. It's prime time for a jumpstart at education to ensure your child is perfectly equipped to take on the challenges of kindergarten.

But where is she going to go? Who are you going to trust enough to shape and mold your precious little one during her most impressionable and tender years? Starting to look for a school may seem daunting at first, but there are resources such as Patch that can help introduce you to educators in your area so you can start determining which school is just right for your child.

One such place that you may not have heard is right in the heart of Northford. You might even drive by it every day and never know it's there. Northford Community Nursery School (NCNS), located at Saint Andrew's Church, has been around since the 1950s. With three teachers and two classes of 16 each, it is a small school of three to five-year-olds.

One mother was so pleased with her son's experience at NCNS, she wrote directly to Patch to ask if we could introduce the school to our readers. Teacher and mother Marla Proestakis took a moment to tell us all about herself and why she loves her job.

North Branford Patch: What do you enjoy most doing business in North Branford?

Marla Proestakis: The community itself is very fun and friendly. It's a nice, loving environment to raise your children in. The school system is good, it's a quaint kind of community...nothing to complain about really.

North Branford Patch: Are you from North Branford?

Proestakis: I'm originally from North Haven, but I've been in North Branford for the last three years. I wanted to be close to my hometown.

North Branford Patch: What brought you into this business?

Proestakis: My son was here [NCNS] back in 2009. I loved the teachers, they're so warm and friendly, always going over the top and above and beyond. I had a really good friendship with the parents here. I was babysitting for a kid who ended up attending NCNS and it was such a thrill to see the parents and teachers here. It felt like I was home here. That ultimately led to a position here as an assistant teacher and office manager. I was more than willing to help them out.

North Branford Patch: What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

Proestakis: I spend a lot of time with my children. Before I took on this role, I was a stay-at-home mom...I still am really. I take them to dance class, Tae Kwon Do, soccer, baseball. I'm very involved, very kid-oriented. We're at every soccer game. We're out and about town a lot so we pretty much know who's who.

North Branford Patch: Do you have any events coming up?

Proestakis: We're doing a . It'll be a vendor fair with around 20 vendors who will come to support the school. We're asking the public to come on in and see what each vendor has to offer for the holiday season, it's going to be a real nice time. It's at the hall by Saint Andrew's Church from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

North Branford Patch: What makes your business unique?

Proestakis: It's just how we take the time to greet each child coming into our school. We act as if they were our own children. We have Hand Writing Without Tears, a program that helps kids get ready for kindergarten. We also have an extra enrichment program for that extra one-on-one time with teachers.

North Branford Patch: What do you want your customers to know about your business?

Proestakis: You really have to come into the school to see what is done on a day-to-day basis. Kids have warm, smiling faces whenever they come in, they love to see their friends. It's bright and warm and inviting. Come check us out and see what we're like! We love it here and would hate to see it close next year without the enrollment we need to stay afloat.

NCNS is open 9 a.m. to noon, Monday to Friday, with the extra enrichment program on Friday from noon to 3 p.m. For more information, visit the NCNS website or call 203-484-9270 to speak with an instructor.

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