The inspiration for a new preschool in Huntersville started small, with Robby Salay, the 7-year-old son of the school’s founder.Lisa Margherita-Salay of Mooresville, founder of the school, began crafting plans for the facility eight years ago. She wanted Robby to attend a school that was more than just a classroom. Forrestal Academy, a preschool for children ages 6 weeks through prekindergarten, emphasizes a healthy lifestyle, from the sustainable building materials to a lunch menu approved by a nutritionist to an outdoor area with a nature trail and walking path. The $3.5 million project is a 13,500-square-foot facility on 2 acres on Boren Street, across from Earthfare Market. Construction, financed partly through a loan from the federal Small Business Administration, began May 28, led by Spivey Construction Inc. The school is scheduled to open this fall. “We have had some amazing experiences with child-care facilities, and some not-so-amazing experiences,” she said. “This has always been a dream, to bring more of an education-based child-care facility and to combine it with some more earthy elements.”No one is more excited for the opening than Robby, Margherita-Salay said. He has been collecting money and books to donate to the school, along with several trees to plant in the forest nearby. Enrollment will begin in the first week of July, she said, and the school is aiming to have about 150 students. She said she has already received interest from more than a dozen families. The school will also offer after-school care and summer camps for children up to 12 years old.“It’s very exciting for me. We’re already causing such a stir in the community,” Margherita-Salay said.Parents won’t find a preschool as holistic as Forrestal Academy, she said.“I know how hard that decision is to make, where you’re going to leave your child for the majority of the day, someone to trust with their safety and well-being, but also their education,” she said. “We hope the accumulation of all the aspects of Forrestal Academy will make their choice an easy one.”
Friday, Jun. 21, 2013
Huntersville preschool relies on holistic approach
Crampton: 704-358-5112; Twitter: liz_crampton
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