Tree House, early childhood education site in Albion, embraces fun
Michelle Waters opened on March 12, but then had to close until July due to Covid-19 pandemic
ALBION – On March 12, Michelle Waters held her first class at The Tree House, a program for young children and their families.
The first session was a parent-child music class. She had debuted the program at Dance Reflections by Miss Heather. There was a big response and Waters decided to open her own space in the second floor at 116 North Main St.
She was happy with the energy and turnout in the first class on March 12. But a few days later the site was closed to the public due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Waters had bills to pay and wanted to help families who suddenly had children home – nearly all the time. She put together activity kits and delivered them throughout Western New York. Those kits were fun and educational. There was a stuffed puppy kit, a project where children could assembly a bird feeder, a kit to do a dinosaur dig and others.
“We started the activity kits and took them to Buffalo, Rochester, Attica and locally,” Waters said. “The support from the community helped me to keep this open.”
She was able to welcome children back to The Treehouse in July, and this summer has offered several play camps and enrichment programs, with a focus on music, art and laughter. They kids do dramatic play, making “monster slime” and doing other activities that teach them to socialize with other kids, follow instructions from adults and get them ready for kindergarten.
At Tree House, children need to sanitize their hands frequently. Waters limits the number of kids to eight at a time in the 1,500-square-foot room.
She has taped off sections so kids space out, and she sets tables 6 feet apart during snack time. If she or her assistant director, Cassie Langdon, see children put a toy in their mouths, that toy goes in the “Yuck Bucket” to be sanitized.
Langdon was in the parent-child music class led by Waters when it was at Dance Reflections. Langdon was in the class with her son, Kingsley, who is now 3. Waters impressed with her energy.
“She is so welcoming and friendly,” Langdon said.
Waters will be offering a “playschool” program beginning next month for about 2 ½ hours, with the program for 3- and 4-year-olds on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and 2-year-olds on Tuesday and Thursday.
Waters also will be making the space available for birthday parties, and a monthly parents’ night out, with programs in the evening.
Waters, 32, grew up in Holley and Rochester. She moved to Albion about a decade ago. Her daughter Ava, 2, joins her at many of the programs. She also has a son, Logan Poupore, who has proven a doting helper.
The Tree House is located in the former space for Spotlight Studio. Waters credited her husband, Patrick Waters, for helping to transform the large room into a fun place for children and their families. Patrick works with his father, Dave Waters, as a painter at Waters Autobody and Paint in Albion.
Waters will have a ribbon-cutting celebration at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday. Before that, she will meet with prospective playschool enrollees. She welcomes 2-year-olds and their families from 9 to 10 a.m., and 3- and 4-year-olds from 10 to 11 a.m. For more information about The Tree House, click here.