History of Neck of the Woods
Neck Of the Woods (NOW) started in 2012 as Moretown Education Center for All (MECA), a childcare, after school program and summer camp based in the Moretown Elementary School. MECA started with twenty-five preschool and school age children, and grew over eight years to accommodate fifty-six preschoolers and ninety-five school age children by 2019 with summer camp serving one hundred and fifty children. As the program grew, it became time to expand to a space where creating more opportunities was possible for more families in a larger setting.
When the coronavirus pandemic upended everyone’s lives MECA became Neck Of the Woods, a non profit child care organization. Neck of the Woods was able to provide safe summer programming for families during the start of the pandemic and in doing so, ensured parents would have child care support by continuing to provide children with opportunities for social, emotional and developmental growth in a safe environment. Neck of the Woods partnered with the Mad River Valley Community Fund to work together to reach local families in need of support and enrolled 120 children ages 3-12 in summer camp programming across the Valley including the former Small Dog building adjacent to the Mad River in Waitsfield. Since that time, NOW has purchased the property and begun work to upgrade the campus, including the main building, a warehouse, and the surrounding 11 acres of land complete with trails and a large solar array that will eventually provide for all energy needs at NOW.
Neck Of the Woods currently runs full-time early childhood programs for infants through preschool at the main campus in Waitsfield. NOW also runs the after-school enrichment program at the Moretown Elementary School and summer camps for pre-school through 12 year-old children. In 2023 NOW’s main building enrollment will grow from the current 45 children to 68 and will continue to expand as renovations are completed to the second floor of the building. Our goal is to have the capacity for up to 125 children at our main campus.
In Fall of 2023 NOW will become a Head Start of Vermont Program, offering free childcare to low-income families that meet eligibility requirements plus eligible families can choose from a wide array of child development and family support services at no cost. Head Start programs offer learning environments designed to support children’s cognitive, social, and emotional development. For more information: https://vermontheadstart.org/