The Barn Yard Child Care Center

474 Canton Street
Westwood MA 02090
Maria Fraga

     I always knew that I wanted to work with children. After earning a bachelors degree in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University I jumped right into teaching preschool at a center in Weston, MA. My degree allowed me to teach grades K-3, and I continued on to earn my DEEC certificates to work with all ages. However, I found my passion with the little ones! A passion shared by my dear friend Kristine, also teaching at the center in Weston.

     During this time, I lived at home where I grew up, Westwood. Our home was a rambling farmhouse built in the 1830’s completed with a barn in the backyard. The barn, once the bustling hub of my childhood, filled with horses, barn kitties, dogs, bunnies, and even a mule for a short time, now lay silent. Back then our house was surrounded by trails and fields to ride horses and play for hours in! It was the ideal place to grow up. However, as the years went on the fields became neighborhoods and businesses. Our barn needed a new purpose.

     This is when my father, a talented and creative carpenter, got the idea to use the barn as a child care center. I loved the idea of giving children the same backyard I had and loved growing up in.

     On December 1, 1997, after three years of design, construction, business models and building codes The Barn Yard opened its doors. It was me, Kristine and my cousin, Meredith. We had three children enrolled. My parents supported my decision to open slowly so we could gradually grow and meet the needs of the children and families. 

     Here we are – fourteen years later! And much as my own family has grown by countless nieces and nephews and my own three boys, so has The Barn Yard.  

     I am so proud of The Barn Yard and how it has grown through the years. The Barn Yard is now a thriving community of five classrooms, from infant to kindergarten ready! So many children have thrived growing up in our backyard. I am thankful to the many families that have passed through our doors; many of them are a part of who we are. While we are all educators here, not a day goes by where the children and their families don’t teach us something. 
The Barn Yard has stayed true to our founding beliefs and philosophies, changed with the times and is open to what the future will bring our way.
Just as I envisioned.