Blessed Trinity poised to open Franklin County’s only Catholic preschool

Preschool Director Catherine-Anne Cuff with donations for the new Beacon of Light Preschool at 14 Beacon St. that will open in September.

Preschool Director Catherine-Anne Cuff with donations for the new Beacon of Light Preschool at 14 Beacon St. that will open in September. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Preschool Director Catherine-Anne Cuff stands where a playground may be built for the new Beacon of Light Preschool at 14 Beacon St. that will open in September.

Preschool Director Catherine-Anne Cuff stands where a playground may be built for the new Beacon of Light Preschool at 14 Beacon St. that will open in September. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Beacon of Light Preschool will open in September at 14 Beacon St. in Greenfield.

Beacon of Light Preschool will open in September at 14 Beacon St. in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Preschool Director Catherine-Anne Cuff with her daughters Emily Rose, 4, and Anna Grace, 22 months, in one of the rooms that will be a classroom in the Beacon of Light Preschool at 14 Beacon St. in Greenfield come September.

Preschool Director Catherine-Anne Cuff with her daughters Emily Rose, 4, and Anna Grace, 22 months, in one of the rooms that will be a classroom in the Beacon of Light Preschool at 14 Beacon St. in Greenfield come September. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

By DOMENIC POLI

Staff Writer

Published: 06-22-2024 3:25 PM

GREENFIELD — The county’s only Catholic preschool is set to open in September near the former site of Holy Trinity School.

Beacon of Light Preschool is expected to start inside the Blessed Trinity Parish pastoral center and parish office at 14 Beacon St. on Sept. 3, accepting students of all faiths.

“We are going to be intertwining our Catholic practices throughout the day, but all families are welcome,” said Catherine-Anne Cuff, the parish’s director of educational outreach who is also slated to be director of the preschool. “We have this wonderful building. It was built in 2020 and we have this space for receptions, the Boy Scouts meet here. But we don’t have it being utilized, really, throughout the day.”

The school will be able to accommodate up to 40 students, with four classrooms large enough for 10 kids. The cost will be $60 per day, with before-school and after-school programs available for an additional $5 per half-hour. Students will range from 2 years, 9 months to kindergarten age, and the schedule will sync up with Greenfield’s public school system. The institution is certified by the state Department of Early Education and Care.

“We really wanted [the preschool] to be an affordable option for all families and we are in the process of accepting vouchers as well,” Cuff said. “I am so thrilled to be able to open a program that offers a top-tier education for our general curriculum, and that is the creative curriculum. It’s state-aligned. So we are really going to be offering a high-caliber education that is intertwined with our Catholic faith values.”

As of June 17, Beacon of Light had eight enrolled students. A former third and fourth grade teacher at Deerfield Elementary School, Cuff will be one of the preschool’s two teachers while also serving as an administrator. There is also a hope to hire a teacher’s assistant. Cuff is accepting applications for this position by emailing outreach@blessedtrinitygreenfield.org.

The Rev. Michael Pierz, who became Blessed Trinity Parish’s pastor nearly two years ago, said he was onboard with Cuff’s suggestion from the beginning.

“As a new pastor here in Greenfield I found … that there’s a great vitality to the parish here. We’re a parish that seeks to engage our young parents,” he said. “I think it’s been an exciting idea and something that people are getting behind because they consider it a valuable and viable option for Greenfield. Our priority is to make sure that it’s a safe and successful option for our families and certainly for the children themselves.”

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Pierz mentioned he helped found In the Beginning Preschool, St. John the Evangelist Parish’s preschool ministry, in Agawam during his previous assignment.

Cuff, a former Confraternity of Christian Doctrine teacher in the parish center, credits the preschool’s formation to her daughters, Emily Rose, 4, and Anna Grace, 22 months. She recalled going into labor with Emily Rose the day the state implemented restrictions in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19.

“And I finished out my year remotely, and the question was, ‘Are we able to put Emily in a daycare?’ and everything was completely booked up and shutting down,” Cuff said. “So rather than enrolling Emily, I was actually able to start this position as the director of educational outreach. I was also a CCD teacher here in 2021 and 2022, so I’m familiar with this building. I taught CCD in these classrooms.”

People can also join the preliminary registration list for the 2024-2025 school year by visiting tinyurl.com/2mcv2pdr. The website also features news and updates about the preschool.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or
413-930-4120.