Longtime local child care provider will open new preschool in ABC, replaces Aspen Sprouts
Christina Holloway, a longtime child-care provider in the valley, is opening a new preschool in the Aspen Airport Business Center for children ages 2 ½ to 5 years old.
Tiny Pines Preschool will operate in the former Aspen Sprouts Child Care building, a preschool that served the community for over 30 years until founder Cathy Coffey retired in August.
“Cathy Coffey just retired after serving the community for over 30 years and the space was potentially going to become offices again if there wasn’t someone to open a child care center in it,” Holloway said. “I didn’t want that to happen, so I put in a bid with Cathy and then was able to get the lease.”
Holloway is the executive director of Woody Creek Kids and Little Red Schoolhouse. She took over the Little Red Schoolhouse in Snowmass under the Woody Creek Kids umbrella in December 2021 when the child care center was undergoing director changes.
Holloway has a waitlist 100-people long for her child care services, and it’s the same for other child care centers in the Roaring Fork Valley, she said. It’s why she decided to bid on the space when Coffey announced her retirement, to provide more care for children in the valley.
“I don’t have 100 spots so I thought at least I could offer another space that could help the community in some ways,” Holloway said.
There are eight child care centers in Pitkin County, according to Kids First. As the population has boomed in and around Pitkin County, access to childcare has become even harder. And lower pay for teachers — an average of $23.50 for lead teachers and $18 for assistant teachers in the Aspen-to-Parachute region — has led to staff shortages and a lower capacity to house students.
Tiny Pines will have 18 spots and plans to open on Monday, Nov. 27. Holloway will have one full-time teacher at the preschool and hopes to have two full-time teachers and one part-time teacher by January.
Holloway was able to secure the space largely because of grants provided by Kids First, the city’s child care resource center, and Pitkin County, she said. Kids First provided a grant for rent and supplies needed to open the preschool and the county provided a grant to fix the building’s flooring and fencing.
An Aspen native, Holloway has worked with children since she graduated from Aspen High School in 1997. She worked at the Early Learning Center and went on to work for a child care service for Aspen Skiing Co. employees, the nonprofit Roaring Fork Kids, the child care center Aspen Mountain Tots, and Aspen School District’s Cottage Preschool. She opened Woody Creek Kids in 2016.
Working with kids has always been Holloway’s passion and opening child care centers in the valley is her way of investing in young children, she said.
“A lot of people think secondary education, college is (the best investment), but it really starts here, we’re laying the foundation,” Holloway said. “I just am super passionate to support our earliest learners and the people who care for them.”
Tiny Pines will host an open house from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 16 at 315 Baltic Ave. Interested parents can email Holloway at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Students at Roaring Fork High School heard oral arguments made to a three-judge panel of Colorado Court of Appeals Tuesday as part of the Colorado Court of Appeals’ Courts in the Community program.