235 Johnson Road, Hamden, Connecticut 06518

(located in the north end of Hamden off Shepard Ave.)

203-248-5433 phone

203-287-9833 fax


Watch this video to see what parents are saying about the Carrot Patch. And be sure to check out the article "Nature's Children" in the May 2014 issue of New Haven magazine to read more about our program!

Science and Environmental Study the Focus of Learning at the Carrot Patch!

We are delighted to bring families in the Hamden-Cheshire-North Haven area a top-notch yet unpretentious early learning center where children thrive in a safe, fun, nurturing and creative environment year-round. The Carrot Patch is a warm community school, where children, parents and staff feel a sense of connectedness and belonging. Nicole and I bring our passion for education and our love of children to every detail and every decision we make.

We are proud to say that each of our classroom teachers holds at least a Bachelor's Degree, and many are certified public school teachers with early elementary-level experience. Our Staff Developer has over 35 years in early childhood education and works closely with our teaching staff. We offer an individualized, developmentally-appropriate curriculum using the inquiry-based Bank Street educational model.

With over an acre of wooded hiking trails and access to a babbling brook, our outdoor nature classroom is an amazing laboratory for study of the world around us. Toddlers and preschoolers plant and tend raised vegetable gardens, yielding a bounty of fresh vegetables for summer snacks. In concert with our Carrot Patch families, we are engaged in the continuing evolution of this magical wooded environment for our children to revel in the wonders of nature.

We began with the expertise of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, an architect, two biologists, a builder, and a long-time early childhood educator. Since then we have tapped area resources, including a botanist from UConn's Agricultural Experiment Station and a retired forester to increase the knowledge base for our studies. The Preschool and Toddler teaching staff engage in continuing education targeted to enhance their use of the outdoor classroom. Our preschoolers visit the outdoor classroom every day--rain or shine, and the toddlers nearly as often.

While parents provide child-ready lunches, the Carrot Patch provides nutritious morning and afternoon snacks. We offer whole grain baked goods, low-fat dairy products and fresh fruits and vegetables. We make every effort to serve organic foods, and shop locally when possible. To supplement the children's garden harvest, we belong to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Hindinger Farms in Hamden, which provides a wide variety of farm fresh fruits and vegetables from June through November.


The Carrot Patch Early Leaning Center provides an individualized program of school-readiness and enrichment for pre-schoolers aged 3 to 5 years of age. The Carrot Patch is not a babysitting center! We offer a carefully crafted inquiry-based curriculum centered around natural science, and designed to challenge each child to stretch and grow. Professional staff tailor the program to the individual needs of each child, ensuring that the particular challenges they encounter ultimately lead to success. This experience of positive outcomes rewarding their efforts enhances children's self-confidence and naturally promotes a joy for learning!

Developing and enhancing social and emotional competence is central to learning and working in our community. Building abilities in areas such as negotiation, cooperation and communication are encouraged and modeled by our sensitive, caring teachers. Children learn to make use of our Peace Corner to take time for reflection, and to practice their budding peer mediation skills. Weekly "feelings day" provides opportunities for each child to develop their self-regulation and conflict resolution skills.

Themes for interweaving the many domains of development are chosen by teachers based on the interests of the children in their classrooms. Information regarding the thematic units is posted in each classroom, and private teacher-created blogs provide more detailed explanations and photo documentation of the children's work. We also have a professional music teacher, and offer physical fitness with Jump Bunch on a twice monthly basis.

In addition, we have created a special space within the larger preschool classroom just for children planning to attend kindergarten in the fall. The "Pre-K Academy" students meet in small groups each morning to engage in more advanced activities, and attend a daily afternoon meeting to share, experiment and discuss their learning. Miss Kim and Miss Haley work hard to prepare our older preschoolers for the rigors of their upcoming educational settings. And best of all, they do it creatively, joyously, and without flash cards, "dittos", or drills. They inspire in their students an even deeper love of learning by challenging them to explore, think and grow in interesting new ways.


The toddler program at the Carrot Patch balances structured activities that allow children to learn new skills with plenty of free play that fosters creativity and individual expression. The curriculum is theme-based and includes daily experiences such as creative art, dramatic play, blocks, pre-math and science, puzzles and other manipulative materials, and fully incorporates literacy learning throughout.

Our toddlers take ample advantage of the glorious wooded setting that greets them here at the Carrot Patch, to study nature and the changing seasons. Social skills such as independence, empathy, caring and sharing are also emphasized with toddlers through interactions with warm, responsible and encouraging caregivers.


Developing secure and trusting relationships is a primary task for infants. Teachers foster this trust through frequent physical contact, sensitive responses to infants' signals, and mutual delight in interactions. Infants are provided visual and tactile stimulation and opportunities for gross motor activity. Infants at the Carrot Patch enjoy the wealth of snuggling, tummy time, and exploration that our 2:5 ratio encourages.

We are committed to the low teacher:child ratio in our cozy Infant Room because we believe this level of care is necessary to give our smallest "students" the loving attention they deserve. Our program is small, homey, and features a thoughtful focus on early child development. We accept no more than five infants, with two professional teachers to provide their care and encourage their development. Currently, many of our infants have siblings in the toddler and preschool classes, so regular visits among the school community have been met with glee!


Our small school is cozy and warm, situated in a serene, wooded neighborhood setting that offers a wonderful outdoor campus especially suited for nature studies. Our staff is dedicated, nurturing and professional. Individual tours are given at 10:30 a.m. on most Tuesdays and Thursdays by appointment. We welcome your visit, and will happily answer any questions you might have about our program. We feel sure you will find the Carrot Patch to be a unique and welcoming community of learners!

P.S. Tuition rates for 2013-2014, and current openings can be found by clicking on the "Activities" Carrot. And don't forget to learn more about our impressive teaching staff by clicking on the "Staff" Carrot.

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Suzanne Miller Administrative Director
A 1995 graduate of the Yale Law School, Suzanne has focused her talents on non-profit management and child welfare. As a former Connecticut Assistant Attorney General, she acted as an advocate for children in the New Haven area. She has also served as Executive Director of Habitat for Humanity, and was Project Director of New Haven's Elm Haven/Monterey Place urban renewal project. Certainly not least among her many accomplishments has been her role as a single-mom raising two happy, well-adjusted children to productive adulthood! Recently Suzanne began accepting some appointments to represent children in Waterbury Juvenile Court.

Nicole Miller Stevens
Program Director
Ask Nicole about her dream job and she'll tell you "spending every day surrounded by babies and small children!" Passionate about children, she has taught in a New Haven Head Start classroom, interned at the Yale Child Study Center, and worked and studied in the Wheaton College "laboratory" daycare center. Now with a Master's Degree in clinical social work, she sees a limited number of child and adolescent clients for individual counseling, which brings an added dimension to her work here. And now she can add 'mother' to her list of credentials, as her twin boys mark the third generation of family here at the Patch each day!
Jan Romo
Staff Developer
One of our keys to providing the best possible learning environment for young children has been the wisdom and guidance of Janice Romo. Jan brings over 35 years experience in education, from teaching kindergarten through teaching early childhood curriculum at Southern Connecticut State University, and every imaginable role in between involving the education of young children. She has been a tremendous asset as Educational Consultant and Staff Developer at The Carrot Patch, meeting with teachers weekly and always available to provide her expertise to parents, staff and administration. To read more about Jan's accomplishments, click on the "Staff" Carrot and read her full bio.
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