Local authors Jeanne Heinke and Agnes Rizzo recently visited the Little Sprouts Early Learning Center to read their recently published book, “Do Scarecrows Sleep at Night?”, to the children as part of the facility’s Celebrity Reader program.  The Little Sprouts Early Learning Center is operated by Project Self-Sufficiency, a local non-profit agency which offers a wide variety of services to families in northwestern New Jersey.


The book was inspired by the annual scarecrow decorating contest in the authors’ hometown of Branchville, New Jersey.   Heinke brought the contest to the borough after witnessing a similar event during a New England vacation.  The story features several of the borough’s actual scarecrows as characters and sprouted up as result of an innocent query by Rizzo’s grandson.  “The children at Little Sprouts were so sweet, cute and well-behaved,” commented Rizzo.  “I saw so much love expressed by the teachers for the students there."


Heinke added, “The students were enthralled by the story as I read to them and I was enthralled by them!”


The Little Sprouts Early Learning Center offers space for 83 youngsters, ages 6 weeks to 6 years.  Free preschool is available for Newton residents ages 3 – 4; students must have turned 3 years old by October 1, 2019.    The facility features separate classrooms for each age group, from infancy through preschool.  Fully qualified teachers are available in each school room and the child-teacher ratio adheres to or exceeds state standards.  Each classroom has new equipment, as well as learning centers for dramatic play, computers, science, housekeeping, sand and water play, reading, and music.  The center also contains an all-purpose room for active indoor play and parent presentations, as well as a sick room for those children who may fall ill during the day.  The center is equipped with two separate playgrounds, one for younger tots and one for older children.  All types of subsidized daycare are accepted, including New Jersey Cares for Kids and Work First New Jersey.  The Little Sprouts Early Learning Center is located at 127 Mill Street in Newton.  For more information visit the center’s website, www.littlesproutsearlylearningcenter.org or call 973-940-3540