Ashland Resident Named New Director of 70-Year-Old School

Cynthia Whitty
Ashland resident Jean Gooch is the new director of the 70-year-old Wellesley Cooperative Nursery School, located in South Natick’s historic “Old Brown Barn” on Merrill Road. (Photo/provided)
Issue Date: 
October, 2018
Article Body: 

Ashland resident Jean Gooch was recently named the new director of the Wellesley Cooperative Nursery School (WCNS), a preschool that has been in existence for over 70 years that is located in South Natick. Gooch has been a teacher for 4 and 5-year-olds at this unique school, known to many of its young students as the “Big Brown Barn,” for 38 years.
It is the kind of school where older students and adults often return to visit their teachers and where parents, who were once students there, now send their own children.
In addition to being a teacher at WCNS, Gooch served as assistant director.
“I have always had the freedom to plan my own curriculum based on the needs and interests of each class. This has allowed me to be creative with children’s activities and learning processes,” Gooch said.
She will continue with the school’s “emergent curriculum,” play-based learning where children develop intellectually, emotionally and socially, learning important life skills, like respect for others, while having fun.
Natick resident and WCNS board member Lisa Arutyunyan, who has two children at the school, said, “Jean is always in the classrooms helping out and working hands-on with the children. Her creativity and kind soul contribute to the warm and welcoming environment that is so unique and special at WCNS. Her natural leadership and commitment to the school make her the perfect director.”
Carolyn Straus from Dover is a parent whose children attended the school in the mid 1990s. She is a teacher at WCNS now.
“Jean possesses many qualities that will make her a successful director,” Straus said. “First and foremost, Jean exudes a complete sense of calm no matter what the situation. In her cool, quiet way, she has the ability to guide a class of rambunctious children through a variety of projects, free play and music. Her respect for all of the children in the class allows them to be themselves and grow, oftentimes helping them find a voice they didn’t yet realize they have.”
Children from Natick and surrounding towns attend the school. Enrollment is open at any time to children age 2.9-5 years.
On Sunday, Nov. 4, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., WCNS will hold a Family Party and Open House, for current families and those interested in learning more about the school. For more information, visit, or contact [email protected] or 508-653-0958.