New Mini College director’s job won’t necessarily be child’s play
Judy Milne is really excited about her new job as director of the Children’s Mini College at CMC’s Glenwood Center.
“Working with kids is so refreshing,” Milne said. “It keeps you young, it’s so fun, and it’s never boring.”
Milne took over the preschool on Aug. 9 from former director K Ware, who worked for CMC as a teacher and Mini College director for the past 17 years.
Wednesday was Milne’s first full day in her new role, and she and Mini College teacher Kim Stacey were busy cleaning and getting organized for opening day on Sept. 3. The preschool’s schedule coincides with Roaring Fork School District Re-1’s calendar.
Milne comes from an extensive background in early childhood education. After graduating with a B.A. in sociology and psychology from the University of Alberta in Canada, Milne worked as a social worker for a couple of years, where she carried a child welfare caseload.
A move to the Roaring Fork Valley 30-plus years ago precipitated a career change – Milne started and operated a boutique called Country Flower that specialized in handmade clothing – but eventually, her interest in children pulled her back into education.
For the past nine years, she’s been the lead teacher at the Valley View Early Learning Center – a position she admits was not easy to leave.
“It was very difficult to leave Valley View,” she said. “But I’m so happy to be at the Mini College. I’m now able to use my director certification, which allows me to expand personally.”
Milne heard about the job opening when her friend and colleague K Ware said she would be vacating her director post.
“We’ve been friends for years,” Milne said. “We garden together and are constantly exchanging ideas about children and education.”
That relationship certainly helps to create a healthy transition from former director to new.
“We are thrilled that Judy has decided to join us here,” said Stacey, who’s in her fourth year of teaching at the Mini College.
Under Milne’s direction, Stacey and two other teachers – Dayle Robinson and Joan Chovanec – plan to continue the Mini College’s progressive educational philosophy.
The Mini College, which provides schooling for 2- to 6-year-olds, is an integral part of Colorado Mountain College’s Community Education Center on Blake Avenue.
The facility was built in 1978 specifically with the preschool in mind. The Mini College’s large sunny room is a kids’ dream, with its high ceilings, colorfully painted toys, an huge inventory of wooden blocks, and big windows which face its expansive playground, which is currently being remodeled.
Two half-day sessions are held: Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 1-5 p.m.
“We respect and value children as unique individuals with their own special needs and feelings,” states the preschool’s brochure. “We also encourage creativity, problem solving and provide activities which ensure success.”
This philosophy continues to win over area preschoolers and their parents, who keep the school filled to capacity with 16 to 17 children from September to May. The school also has a perpetual waiting list. Children can enroll at any time throughout the year, whenever a space becomes available.
“It’s because of CMC’s reputation (for excellence) that I am here,” Milne said. “I’m honored to be affiliated with this institution.”
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