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188 North Prospect Street
Burlington, Vermont 05401
(802) 864-0218

OZ Full Circle Preschool



OZ Full Circle Preschool is the way Ohavi Zedek cares for and nurtures the youngest in our community. We offer high-quality, holistic care and nurturing for infants through five-year-children in five classrooms. Our program centers on child-led learning and exploration, along with Jewish values of kindness, generosity, and community from the youngest ages. OZ’s Full Circle Preschool is Jewish in content, character, and calendar, while also whole-heartedly welcoming interfaith, non-affiliated, and non-Jewish students and families. Inclusion, warmth, and kindness are the foundation of all we do.

We are a 3-STAR program actively working to continue to improve the quality of our program.
STARS is Vermont’s quality recognition system for child care, preschool, and afterschool programs. Programs that participate in STARS are stepping ahead — going above and beyond state regulations to provide professional services that meet the needs of children and families.



At OZ Full Circle Preschool, we embrace a play and interest-based child-led curriculum, inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy. We respect the child’s need to generate their own questions and aim to help children make sense of their experiences. Using the project-based approach, we encourage teachers, children, family, and other members of the community to collaborate in ongoing projects based on the children’s interests. Children’s work is deeply respected and is used by educators and families to better understand children’s development and thinking processes. Children are fully supported in their expressive and creative endeavors. Children are encouraged to reflect on their work and the works of others, and to lend words and meaning to their creative processes. We believe strongly in providing children with inviting spaces that encourage creativity and exploration. We believe that in order to provide children with opportunities for independent and collaborative learning, we must ask open-ended questions and provide children with the proper language and materials to further explore their innate curiosities. While the Reggio Emilia approach is specific to the region in Italy, we understand that our approach is uniquely based upon the values, needs, and resources of our Burlington community, and the Jewish teachings interwoven throughout our daily learning experiences.


Judaism holds education as an extremely high value. Through the preschool, Ohavi Zedek provides a place for our youngest to form their identities at a synagogue, feeling safe, supported, loved, and nourished in the context of Judaism during their formative years. Our Jewish values of chesed (loving kindness), tikkun olam (healing the world), and knesset (community) are woven into the curriculum, helping young children develop strong values and ethics from the very beginning. The children attend a weekly music class led by Cantor Steve where they learn songs in Hebrew and English that follow the themes of the Jewish holidays, acts of kindness (mitzvot) and gratitude to the earth. Each Friday morning, the children are invited to a morning Shabbat party which begins with Shabbat music and movement with Cantor Steve, then a snack provided by Full Circle including grape juice and challah.


At OZ Full Circle Preschool, we believe children are born scientists and explorers with innate curiosities about the natural world around them. As children make sense of their surroundings, it is essential to help them understand the natural world and how they fit into it. We believe that offering inviting outdoor learning environments is an important way to support children on their quests to explore beauty, natural elements, life cycles, and open space. We strive every day to connect children to the outdoors by creating environments rich with natural materials, plant and tree life, and sensory opportunities to enhance learning, engagement, and active play while offering opportunities for scientific exploration and discovery.

Children’s direct interactions with nature in modes like gardening, observing insects, smelling flowers, exploring flowing water, working with mud, watching the clouds, and building forts among trees and shrubbery all contribute to a connection with nature and place while encouraging nourishment, mindfulness, and respect for all living things. By providing children with these early experiences outside each day, OZ Full Circle Preschool helps instill an enthusiasm for nature that will positively impact the way children regard, respect, discover and explore the natural world while strengthening their abilities to take risks, develop more self-awareness, and foster a lifelong appreciation for the Earth.



“Nature is a tool to get children to experience not just the wider world, but themselves.” – Stephen Moss





Erika Towne (she/her): Program Director

Erika was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut. She moved to Vermont to attend Saint Michael’s College where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and Creative Writing in 2012. She holds a Master’s Degree in Early Education with a focus on Administration from Champlain College, and she has been an early educator for over 10 years. Erika believes strongly in allowing children to be the architects of their days as they construct their own knowledge of the world around them. Through observation and interactions, she strives to provide each child with the materials and language they need to expand upon their interests and needs on a daily basis. Erika places great emphasis on nature connections, outdoor play, and age-appropriate risk taking in order to help children build resilience and develop an appreciation for the natural world. Erika is the full-time program director and spends time in all five classrooms throughout the week supporting children and educators.

Racheal Ouellette (she/her): Curriculum Coordinator

Racheal was born and raised on the Connecticut shoreline. She moved to Vermont in 2010 to attend the University of Vermont, where she obtained her BAS in Cultural Anthropology. In 2016, Racheal enrolled at the Community College of Vermont where she completed her teaching credentials in Early Childhood Education and obtained a Level IV Ladder Certification. Racheal has worked as a preschool teacher, pre-Kindergarten teacher, toddler teacher, and early childhood arts educator. Over the years, Racheal has come to define her role as one that supports and encourages children’s continuous re-descriptions of the world. She is dedicated to providing children opportunities that celebrate individuality and promote self-expression through process, play, and reflection. Racheal also serves as a certified end of life doula. She is passionate about helping children develop healthy relationships with death and supporting families in finding age-appropriate ways of discussing and processing death, grief, and loss with young children. Racheal serves as OZ Full Circle Preschool’s Curriculum Coordinator.

Caley Gervais (she/her): Lead Infant Teacher

Caley grew up in Enosburg Falls, Vermont. She has been working as an early educator in the preschool setting for over 7 years, alternating between teaching infant and young toddlers. She initially studied Gender Studies at Saint Michael’s College, where she also worked at the SMC Early Learning Center. From there, she discovered her passion for working with young children. After realizing this passion and happening upon a job offer from a local preschool, Caley decided to take a hiatus from school to pursue this opportunity. It quickly became clear that this was the right career path for her. While working full-time in the field, she earned an Associate’s degree in Early Childhood Education from the Community College of Vermont. Caley believes strongly in incorporating music into children’s daily learning experiences while encouraging independence and self-expression. She currently serves as the Lead Infant Teacher at OZ Full Circle Preschool.

Amber Harvey (she/her): Lead Young Toddler Teacher

Amber was born and raised in Plainfield, Vermont. She studied art and education at Johnson State College where she enhanced her love for art and realized her passion for working with children. She previously worked as an Autism Behavioral Interventionist with a variety of different children in the school setting ranging in age from 1-18.  Amber’s background in art encourages children to not only be creative, but to use materials in a way that best suits them. She believes in the importance of allowing children time to explore and to make connections through hands-on approaches. She is very happy to serve OZ Full Circle Preschool as the Lead Young Toddler Teacher.



Izzy Rose (she/her): Lead Older Toddler Teacher

Izzy is a born and raised Vermonter and a recent graduate of Keene State College, where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education and Psychology in 2018. At Keene State, Izzy developed practicum and internship experience working with children from birth to grade three. Izzy has a shared passion for the Reggio-Emilia teaching philosophy, and has worked with children from infancy to five years. She is committed to outdoor nature-based education and assisting Full Circle in developing a stronger outdoor education philosophy. She is overjoyed to serve as OZ Full Circle Preschool’s Lead Older Toddler teacher.



Kov Altman (they/them): Older Toddler Assistant Teacher 

Kov grew up in small towns across southeast Massachusetts and moved to Burlington in 2017 to be closer to their sister. For the past nine years, Kov has worked with young children of various ages, including locally as a teaching assistant and substitute at the Greater Burlington YMCA, Frog & Toad Child Care & Learning Center, and Burlington Children’s Space. Kov greatly appreciate children’s innate curiosity, authenticity, and playful demeanors and they celebrate those qualities through all of their work with kids. Through play based and child-centered teaching approaches, they strive to help children understand ownership of self and how to form relationships with people and nature rooted in respect. Kov serves as the assistant teacher in the Older Toddler room.



Martha Carpenter (she/her): Assistant Teacher

Martha grew up in the woods and fields of Trumansburg, New York just a quick hop from Ithaca. She graduated from Juniata College in the country hills of Huntingdon, Pennsylvania with a degree in English Literature and a deep interest in box turtles. Although she came to Vermont with the intention of completing a Master’s Degree in Literature, she left her program in order to pursue a truer love – connecting children with nature. Martha’s experiences working as a Children’s Summer Reading Program Coordinator, a wilderness camp counselor, and a nanny have all taught her that life’s truest joy is the endless pursuit of curiosity and human connection! Martha serves as the assistant teacher in the Preschool Room of Full Circle Preschool.



Andrea Hulsey (she/her): Lead Pre-K Teacher

Andrea Hulsey has been in the early childhood field for over 8 years. She graduated with an Elementary Education degree in 2013 from the University of Vermont. Andrea realized she wanted to be a teacher when she was in elementary school. She had incredible teachers that expanded their teaching through a hands-on approach. Andrea believes that children learn best through their own interests and play with the support through a strong, loving teacher. Working with young children brings Andrea great joy. Her passion is watching children grow emotionally, mentally, and socially through peer interactions and the world around them. When Andrea is not in the classroom, she loves spending time outdoors with her husband and golden retriever Mako, cooking with her friends and family, and gardening. Andrea serves as the lead Pre-K teacher at Full Circle.


Alison Mott (she/her): Music Teacher

Alison graduated from Bryn Mawr College with an undergraduate degree in Cultural Anthropology, particularly focused on African Studies. Since graduation, Alison has held jobs in the Education field in diverse age groups and ability levels from infants to high school aged children and lived in Philadelphia, Boston, and finally, in Vermont. She has been a nanny for infants, a teacher for children with Cerebral Palsy, and a para-educator in two different middle schools in Vermont. For the last ten years, she has been the owner/director/teacher at Green Mountain Music Together – music and movement classes for families with young children. She teaches classes at the Flynn, the King Street Community Center and The Burlington Children’s Space. Alison is a trained singer and dancer and will bring movement and music with her throughout the learning community. She believes in creating a classroom and school environment where children feel safe and loved. Alison focuses on exploring music and movement through play while creating nurturing spaces for artistic expression in all its forms.



Please note that each year, our tuition will increase by a small percentage in order to provide our early education professionals with adequate salary, health care, and retirement.

Infant Room and Young Toddler Room Monthly Tuition Rates (ages 0-2)

*Please note these rates remain the same for your child’s full year contract, even if a child turns 2 while in the Young Toddler Room


Days/Week School Day (9-4) Extended Day (8-5)
5 $1422 $1590
4 $1148 $1276
3 $907 $1008
2 $644 $717
1 $308 $342


Older Toddler Room Monthly Tuition Rates (ages 2-3)

*Please note these rates remain the same for your child’s full year contract, even if a child turns 3 while in the Older Toddler Room

Days/Week School Day (9-4) Extended Day (8-5)
5 $1327 $1495
4 $1070 $1198
3 $851 $952
2 $622 $689
1 $286 $325


Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Rooms Monthly Tuition Rates (ages 3-5) BEFORE Universal Pre-K Act 166 Funds

Days/Week School Day (9-4) Extended Day (8-5)
5 $1053 $1215
4 $846 $974
3 $672 $762
2 $470 $538
1 $235 $269


Preschool and Pre-Kindergarten Rooms Monthly Tuition Rates (ages 3-5) AFTER Universal Pre-K Act 166 Funds

*Please note in order to receive ACT 166 funds, your child must attend school for at least 10 hours a week.

Days/Week School Day (9-4) Extended Day (8-5)
5 $739 $901
4 $532 $660
3 $358 $448
2 $156 $224
1 $235 (under 10 hours does not qualify for ACT 166) $269 (under 10 hours does not qualify for ACT 166)



Fill Out The Full Circle Admission Form

If you have any questions regarding the program, email communication is preferred. Please email Erika, Program Director at [email protected]. Please note that we require a full year contract and only enroll new children at the start of each school year every fall.

You can review the OZFC Preschool Parent Handbook here.

You can view the Full Circle Preschool 2023-2024 Calendar here.