- Lyndsy Blais at Wildflowers Studio
On April 28, she announced that she was closing Wildflowers permanently.
"It was a heartbreaking decision," said Blais, but also a "clear-cut" one. Wildflowers offered a wide range of programming including open studio hours, an art- and nature-based preschool program, home-school and after-school classes, and camps.
"The business was so based on community connection, and if parents or caregivers are not able to come there and connect with each other, I just looked forward and said, 'There's no way that this business model can continue for a very long time,'" said Blais.
- Courtesy of Teresa Davis
- Davis Studio founder Teresa Davis
Blais focused her energy on homeschooling her four daughters, ages 6, 8, 10 and 13. Then Teresa Davis, founder of the Davis Studio in South Burlington, reached out. The two entrepreneurs had developed a friendship over the last few years and share similar educational philosophies, rooted in play-based, exploratory learning.
"You can't just disappear," Blais remembered Davis telling her. "And I was like, "I don't want to."
- Courtesy of Lyndsy Blais
- Wildflowers Studio founder Lyndsy Blais
Davis Community School, started in January 2019, is inspired by the Reggio Emilia philosophy, which embraces self-directed learning and a curriculum centered around children's interests. Academics are integrated with the arts, and outdoor education and foreign language instruction are also emphasized. In 2019-2020, the school had one mixed-age classroom with students in grades 1, 2 and 3. It will add kindergarten and fourth grade next year.
The Davis Studio also offers a preschool program, afterschool classes and camps. Its Starving Artist Café, which offered weekday breakfast and lunch and weekend brunch, is permanently closed.
This summer, Davis and Blais will also collaborate to develop an art- and academic-based online homeschool curriculum in anticipation that some families will want a remote learning option this fall. "We think there will be people leaning into homeschooling, but who need more support and not wanting to just have their kid in the computer all day," said Davis. "I think if we can, from the get-go, design something that has a lot of joy and play and discovery and hands-on projects... I think there's a lot of potential there."
A series of Zoom informational meetings about Davis Community School will be held starting in June. For additional information, call 425-2700 or visit davisstudiovt.com.