We recognize your child as a unique gift from God and believe each child grows and develops at his or her own pace.
Sprouts is designed to be rich in opportunity yet flexible enough to meet the needs of each child.
As children mature and advance, they are drawn increasingly into activities that will lead to reading (letters and sound relationships), writing (drawing, easel painting, coloring), and mathematics (numbers, counting, sorting, grouping comparisons, etc.). Children leave Sprouts preschool thoroughly prepared for the academic expectations of Kindergarten.
We offer many activities in art, music, science, literature, dramatic play and cooking/baking, which allow for an endless amount of learning opportunities.
At Sprouts, Children are introduced to the Love of God through our Christian based curriculum and weekly age appropriate Bible stories and songs.
MEET OUR TEACHERS
Sarah RuzauskasLead Teacher“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
Background I grew up in Issaquah, Washington where I graduated from Issaquah High School. After many family trips to Pullman and seeing my parents’ Cougar Pride, I too, decided to go to WSU and become a Cougar. I graduated with a BA in Business Administration and, more importantly, met my husband, Greg who worked at my sorority. After graduation, Greg accepted a position at Battelle. We decided to make Richland our home. In 2002, we welcomed our first daughter, Ruby. Nattie followed in 2004 and Tate in 2007. We love our family friendly community and have found the Tri-Cities to be a fantastic place to raise our children. Ruby attended Sprouts Preschool as a youngster (then called Academy of Joy). It was during this time that I started participating in the Women’s Bible Study at Hillspring. I fell in love with it! The mission of Hillspring correlated so well with my own personal mantra of helping others wherever I could. In 2012, I began teaching at the preschool and it’s a true passion of mine. I love children at every age. Their inquisitiveness and witty observations helps me view God in a whole new way. I am so blessed in every aspect of my life.What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: I love how we fully develop children…mind, body and spirit. From the Tooth fairy visit and our music program to singing our Alpha-friends and learning about God and the world around us, our preschoolers have a full scope of age-appropriate skills upon leaving.Favorite Movie: Napoleon DynamiteAHA! Moment: Becoming a Mom 3 times over…and specifically, learning how different my son is from my daughters.Favorite Book: Any children’s book, if you are reading and snuggling with your kids!
Erin LeeLead Teacher“If I can stop one heart from breaking, I shall not live in vain; If I can ease one life the aching, Or cool one pain, Or help one fainting robin, Unto his nest again, I shall not live in vain.” -Emily Dickinson
Background: I graduated from West Chester University with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in social work. My career has always been child and family focused. I have had the distinct honor to work with
children and their families and feel very blessed to have been able to help families through many struggles having been a crisis counselor and case coordinator. I am very passionate about giving children their voice. I am married and have two children and have lived in the Tri Cities for four years. We also have a slightly over anxious poodle. We love taking advantage of what the Northwest has to offer and we love the family friendly atmosphere. I am excited to be a part of the Sprouts Preschool. I am ready to help instill in your children the love of learning and encourage their sense of wonder. I can’t wait to assist in starting them on their school journey. Plus, I just think kids are awesome. I love their sense of joy, their silliness, their giggles, and their uniqueness.What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: The student’s laughter and dance parties!Favorite Movie: Big Hero 6AHA! Moment: My aha moments are when I watch a child gain confidence in themselves and show pride in who and what they are becoming. I love watching children practice kindness based on the values we have taught in the classroom.Favorite Book: Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and Sophie’s Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli
Amanda PottleLead Teacher“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose." Dr. Seuss
Background I was born and raised in the Tri-cities. I am the wife of a police officer and the mom of 4 amazing children. I have wanted to be a teacher since the age of 13 and I am now heading into my 5th year teaching at Sprouts. I truly believe it is the best job ever! I have also been a part of Hillspring Church most of my life.What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: I love being able to help children grow, both in academics and in their knowledge and love of Jesus.Favorite Movie: The Little MermaidAHA! Moment: When I was just 13 years old I was volunteering in Sunday school working with 2nd graders. One boy was having a really hard time following directions. He refused to talk to any of the adults about what was going on and ended up running out of the building. I went after him. When I found him he was crying. I talked to him for a few minutes and he broke down, telling me that his parents had just decided to get a divorce and that his dad was moving out. I gave him a hug and he said he felt better. He went back in the classroom and my life was changed forever. I knew at that exact moment that my life was going to be spent helping and teaching children.Favorite Book: Jesus Creed by Scot McKnight
Sarah SpencerAssistant Teacher“It is what it is.”
Background: I am thrilled to join the Sprouts preschool team this year! I have had many jobs previously including working for a chocolate company, agricultural research center and even an emu ranch! I went to college at WSU and have degrees in Management & Human Resources. The best thing about teaching is sharing and learning about everyone's gifts in a safe and supportive environment, and having FUN! If I were not a preschool teacher, I would be a graphic designer.What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: People at Hillspring know how to have fun and laugh!Favorite Movie: Finding NemoAHA! Moment: Motherhood. Having children changed my perspective on life in a millisecond; even the most mundane moments can be amazing.Favorite Book: ish by Peter H. Reynolds
Josie SalazarAssistant Teacher"Be silly. Be honest. Be kind." Ralph Waldo Emerson
Background: I attended CBC and Eastern Washington University studying Elementary Education and Spanish. I have been teaching children's fitness classes to many of our local schools.
I met my husband 16 years ago and we have three very active children, two girls and little boy. As a family we enjoy biking and vacation at the beach! We have lived in Richland for the last 11 years. I grew up in the little town of Connell where I see my parents, sisters, nieces and nephews often. Having our children grow up with cousins around has been a blessing!
Teaching and working with children is a joy to me. I'm so pleased to finally be able to work in a classroom! There is nothing more exciting to me then to see children happy about learning . As a teacher its my goal to not only to teach but to care for your child so they feel comfortable to grow and learn here at Sprouts. I look forward to getting to know the children and the families. Thank you for sharing your "little loves" with me.What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: This community at Hillspring walks with Christ. I've joined a team where we all support each other in doing the Lord's work. Together we are building a community all in the name of Jesus.Favorite Movie: The GooniesAHA! Moment:Favorite Book: The Color Purple
Sharon McDowellAssistant Teacher"Tomorrow is a new day." -Anne of Green Gables
Background: I have a B.A. in International studies and History from George Fox College, 1994 graduate. Also spent a summer in Madrid, Spain at the University of Madrid in a Spanish program. I have been a Nanny in Boston Mass. For the year of 1994-1995.
My passion is international work so work with World relief as an employment coordinator. I love all different cultures. I have traveled a lot of places. Turkey being one of my favorites.
When we lived in Knoxville, TN I volunteered with the Hardin Valley Elem. School where my kids went. Was also a Girls on the run coach when my daughter was in 3rd grade 2010. When we moved back to the Tri-cities I so helped volunteered with Jefferson school and Chief Joseph middle school.
I love working with kids and seeing there different personalities and seeing how they grow in work that they do.My family is my husband Kip, son Jack 15 and Paige is 12. We enjoy the outdoors, like camping and hiking. I love running and have done many marathons.What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: I really enjoy Hillspring with their passion for missions. Their love for culture and sharing Jesus to the world and community.Favorite Movie: I love Sense and Sensibility. I enjoy that time in England and just the ups and down of the way of life and the love story in the movie. I cry at the end all the time.AHA! Moment: A moment was when we were in the country Turkey and went to the the town Ephesus. Just sitting in the colosseum and knowing that Paul had preached there was just amazing.Favorite Book: My favorite book is Pride and Prejudice. I am a Jane Austin fan.
Vanessa ToevsAssistant Teacher"Good things come in small packages"
Background: Hello there! I'm Vanessa Toevs (pronounced Taves) and I am
SUPER EXCITED to be working at Sprouts Preschool, teaching and loving your little ones. I grew up in Boise, ID and attended the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!) where I graduated with a degree in School and Community Health Education and a minor in Physical Education. I spent a number of years living in New York where I worked at Cornell University as a Custom Programs Manager for their Executive Education Department. I have a wonderful husband-Ian, and two awesome kids- Hudson, who will be a first grader this year, and Evelynn, who will be a preschooler at Sprouts. I love exercising, baking (those two cancel each other out), reading, playing outside, and social gatherings (especially if there is food involved).What I like most about Sprouts Preschool: Everyone is so kind and welcoming.Favorite Movie: GooniesAHA! Moment: Becoming a motherFavorite Book: East of Eden by John Steinbeck
SCHEDULE & REGISTRATION INFORMATION
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