How Our School Began
Our school history is mainly composed of caring teachers wanting to provide the best education possible for the children in the St. Johns, FL, community. Bartram Academy began as an in-home center by Kelly Giddens and her husband Roger more than a decade ago. It was in their home that our childcare center was started with just a few kids and a belief in sustainability in childcare.
Kelly later obtained her director’s and state licenses, expanded her educational background, and planned the building of our school facilities. We soon opened our doors to 110 students, including Kelly and Roger’s daughter, and were immediately at full capacity.
Getting Bigger While Staying Small
Kelly and Roger hoped to expand the St. Johns preschool in a few years, and in 2015, they did just that. Another portion was opened up in the same complex so that we could, in Kelly’s words, “double our size and not be any larger than that. We want to stay small because we can really know our parents and students.” It becomes clear that families love us by the fact that even with the expansion complete, we are still at full capacity once again.
This expansion has allowed our school to house different age groups separately. The infants, one-year-olds, and two-year-olds are cared for in the original building and the three-year-olds and VPK students are taught in the new expansion. This makes it easier to cater the lessons and activities to the needs of each age group.
We’re Growing With Our Students
Along with the expansion came two shiny new playgrounds, with each one being designed for different age groups. All of the equipment and toys are age-specific to appeal to the children who play there. The playground for three-year-olds and VPK students is part grass and has a shed with Reggio Emilia model play materials.
We’re happy to say that Kelly and Roger are considering a secondary location focused on sustainability in childcare in or around the Nocatee area, although there are no specific plans or time frames in place for this idea. Kelly says, “We know we want to continue to offer the same intimate and personal atmosphere we have here now. If we were to open another location, it would be around that area. However, we need to have a few more discussions with our directors and get some more community feedback before anything is set in stone.”