Hopewell Boro will finally have a preschool option for wee-Boroites this fall. Creative Connections PlaySchool will be opening its doors to preschoolers through kindergarteners at the Hopewell Presbyterian Church, located at 80 West Broad Street at the intersection of Louellen (RT518) and West Broad Street.

Creative Connections Founders Lisa Bass, Maria Santomauro and Kyle Wille
Creative Connections Founders Lisa Bass, Maria Santomauro and Kyle Wille

According to the school’s Facebook page, there has not been a preschool separate from the public schools in the town of Hopewell in over ten years and Creative Connections’ founders “are so excited about this venture of connecting the community to this new school and developing an enriching program for their students.”

Utilizing a Reggio Emilia inspired approach to early childhood education, the school advocates supporting the interests of children, values the children’s ability to learn and guides each child in meeting their full potential.

The teachers at Creative Connections say they recognize that children express themselves through many “languages”, or modes of expression including words, movement, drawing, painting, sculpture, shadow play, collage and music. The school says students are immersed in the many “languages”, literature, math, and science in a safe and nurturing environment.

The co-founders are all local parents and former educators with children in the Hopewell Valley Regional School District. Maria Santomauro has four children and is a certified teacher with over 20 years of experience, as well as a reading and literary specialist.  Kyle Wille, also a certified teacher and mother of four, brings over 20 years of teaching experience as well as a background in art, working as a freelance artist for ten years. She taught first grade in the South Brunswick School District, served on various committees including the Reading Portfolio committee and has taught pre-school. Lisa Bass worked as an environmental engineer and has three children of her own, one whom has special needs.

Creative Connections Play School is offering two and three day programs on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, as well as an enrichment program to supplement half day kindergarten programs from 1 pm to 3 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays beginning in September. You can find the application online and there are still some slots available. More information is also available about the school on Facebook.

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Mary Galioto
Mary Galioto is the founder, publisher and editor of MercerMe. Originally from Brooklyn, Mary has progressively moved deeper and deeper into New Jersey, settling in the heart of the state: Mercer County. Formerly the author of an embarrassingly informal blog, Mary is a lifelong writer and asker of questions and was even mentioned, albeit briefly, in the New York Times and Washington Post. She holds a bachelor’s degree in English from SUNY Binghamton and a Juris Doctorate from Seton Hall Law School. In her free time, Mary fills her life with excessive self-reflection, creative endeavors, and photographing mushrooms. Mary also works as the PR Coordinator at the Hopewell Valley Arts Council, serves on the volunteer Board of Trustees of the Lawrence Hopewell Trail (LHT), holds a seat on the Hopewell Borough Board of Health, and is a member of the Hopewell Valley Municipal Alliance.


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