About Us










At Mary Elizabeth Preschool we are committed to providing young children with love, care and respect.

We have a focus on sustainability and environmental issues. We will recycle, compost and incorporate an organic vegetable garden into our preschool.

The “big picture” of the school year will focus on:  Learning how to make and keep friends, living a good healthy life, being responsible, giving and loving.

Your child’s safety, well-being and preschool education is important to us. We strive for diverse, educated and caring teachers that want to care for your child and provide them the skills to succeed. As a minimum, all of our teachers pass a background check and are required annually to attend 12 hours of professional development and pediatric CPR/AED.


Our Teachers

Crystal Porter
Crystal lives in Cambridge on her family’s former dairy farm. She graduated Johnson State College with a degree in Elementary Education and Psychology. Prior to starting Mary Elizabeth Preschool, Crystal was the director the Stowe Cooperative Preschool and a teacher at Hyde Park Elementary. Teaching is Crystal’s passion! She really loves teaching preschool and finds it is rewarding and fulfilling.

Diane Lehoullier
Diane has lived in Johnson since 1978 and is a graduate of UVM.  She taught for 25 years in preschool through first grade in various schools in our area.  Diane works at the Mary Elizabeth Preschool one day per week and loves the freedom, creativity and independence the preschool offers the kids.  She loves the energy and enthusiasm of the teachers and finds the parents super friendly, helpful and supportive.  It’s the best place to work!

Jenny Beth Ryan
Jenny is a graduate of Lamoille Union High School and is working towards her Associates degree in Early Education. She loves working with kids, which has always been a passion for her, and is glad to be continuing with something she loves and enjoys. Outside of work she enjoys the hunting, fishing, four wheeling, camping and a part of nature. She enjoys working at MEP with such great kids and staff.

Sylvia Esmay
Sylvia is a graduate of Mount Mansfield Union High School and is currently in the Elementary Teacher Education Program with a Special Education endorsement at Johnson State College. Sylvia has wanted to be a teacher since nine years old when her younger sister was born. Sylvia loves children and aspires to help them learn and grow throughout her life and as a future teacher. Sylvia loves the amazing and creative students, the supportive and loving teachers, the friendly and creative atmosphere, and the big picture of the Mary Elizabeth Preschool. It’s been an amazing experience that Sylvia has been so happy to be a part of.

Shelby Padulo



Our Goals

1.  Maintain an atmosphere of respect and peacefulness.

2.  Provide a play-based, preschool environment, with intentional educational purpose.

3. Teach children to be more become more independant.

7.  Develop social skills for interacting with others.

3.  Build confident, connected and actively involved children.

3.  Build quality relationships among members of the community.

5.  Help children to become more aware of the world and teach them about taking care of the earth.


The more slowly trees grow at first, the sounder they are at the core, and I think the same is true of children.


Our approach starts with understanding the child.  We want to know their interest, weaknesses, strengths and emotional needs.  We get them emotionally involved through field trips, sing-a-longs, hikes and transforming the room.

Our classroom reflects the variety and complexity of children’s needs.  We work to create a “family.”  That’s why you will see warm, intimate spaces:  couch, pillows, lamps, lots of books, plants and displays of children’s creative art work.

We talk about how to make and keep friends, living a good healthy life and being responsible, giving and loving.

We value connections to others and finding oneself.  These connections and responsibilities need to be taught.  Belonging to a group means being needed and believing that you have something vital to contribute.

We build a sense of community.  Each morning, the children use each others names and get to know interests and feelings.  Your child is learning to take turns without arguing, pouting or quitting.  Your child continues to learn about community through sharing, inviting others to join, solving conflicts and being friendly.

We do not do for children what they can do for themselves.  By sensitively observing, listening, actively participating and documenting discoveries of the children, we are able to provide appropriate materials and activities.

We maintain an atmosphere of respect and peacefulness in the classroom by listening to the children and their concerns, helping them solve conflicts cooperatively and teaching respect, empathy for people and the natural environment.