Tara and Stephen Kochanskyj, who have operated a preschool out of their Center Moriches home for the past seven years, are starting a new chapter and moving Bloom to a new 4,354-square-foot “natural learning center” in Moriches.
“I’m beyond excited,” said Tara Kochanskyj, 37, who started as a preschool teacher at 21. “I’m beyond proud. We have overcome so many obstacles. And I’m excited for the community. I’m excited for all the relationships we’re going to form, and I’m excited to have us as part of the community.”
The school, with an emphasis on learning through play, sits on 1 ½ acres at 165 Montauk Highway, next to Greek Bites. It will start with a roster of more than 70 part- and full-time children.
Its opening comes after the Kochanskyjs initially had a hard time finding financing to back a $1 million-plus daycare project.
“No bank would touch me,” Tara said. “Everyone turned me away.”
The couple persisted and eventually paid a financial consultant to find a lender.
Now set to open next week, it will operate from Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. During the school year, it will care for preschoolers (starting at 6 weeks old), but will take on school-age children as old as 12 for summer programs, Kochanskyj said. It will start next week with a program for 6- to 9-year-olds.
On average, Kochanskyj said children come about three days a week.
“I am finding that we are catering to a lot of teachers in the area.”
There’s a refrigerator in every classroom, and the school provides breakfast, lunch and snack, “But if your child requires blueberries at 10 a.m. and they’re hungry — just like when we’re hungry — they can go and get it.”
The backyard has a walking path, space for arts and crafts and an outdoor mud kitchen. It will also have a playground soon.
Bloom has a staff of 12, and Kochanskyj said she was meticulous about who she chose.
“I interviewed countless people,” she said. “We’re like the ‘undaycare daycare,’” in which Bloom puts an emphasis on play rather than meeting standardized goals. “We had to have teachers here who had to agree with that theory,” she said. “The educational part isn’t going to come unless the social/emotional piece is going to come.”
Kochanskyj said there are many things she’s looking forward to for the business and her family, and one in particular: “I’m excited for my family to have our house back. I really am!”
A Natural Learning Center
165 Montauk Highway, Moriches
Hours: Monday to Friday, 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.