The new owners of The Growing Patch Private Preschool are (from right) Ruby and Tirath Nijjer. Photo contributed
Written by Ben Hensley
The Growing Patch Preschool welcomed two new faces this spring to its already bustling and energetic atmosphere, introducing Ruby and Tirath Nijjer as the new co-owners of the school.
The sale of the school near Herndon and Polk avenues in Northwest Fresno was a timely process, with both Ruby and Tirath pursuing the purchase of the school starting in 2020. In March of this year, the deal was finalized through brokers Alex and Ron Stumpf of Stumpf and Company Real Estate.
Ruby, who has a biology degree and taught high school and middle school before being forced into early retirement due to health concerns, saw purchasing the preschool as a way to get back into the education field.
“What I like about this school is that it’s private,” Ruby said. “I feel like students at this age — it’s the foundation. They’re so open to learning.”
The school focuses on an education foundation that the children can grow from, including unique programs not offered at all schools such as yoga, gardening, art and other interactive learning activities.
With the lifting of Covid restrictions and mask mandates, Ruby and Tirath saw numbers increase dramatically, from fewer than 10 students to a current number of 45. The duo expects roughly 80-90 students during the fall semester.
Offering a 6-1 student teacher ratio, The Growing Patch brings attention and student interaction to the forefront, keeping class sizes small enough to allow direct interaction with teachers. Classes are arranged with two teachers per class.
All but one of the teachers remained at the school following the sale.
“The teachers, they love working here,” Tirath said. “That’s one of the major things that kept them on location.”
Ruby has also made an effort to increase diversity, hoping to hire teachers from a variety of cultures — not only to educate, but also to promote inclusion and familiarity between students and teachers.
“I think it just enriches the whole environment,” she said.
The preschool has also improved parent-teacher communication by implementing a new communication system, allowing teachers to directly send messages to parents, including pictures of the various activities the students participate in throughout the day.
“On a daily basis the teachers are able to easily send messages to the parents, parents can quickly ask a question…we kind of moved away from the phone call communication,” Ruby said. “The teachers are sending pictures to the parents throughout the day.”
In addition to the system improvements, a curriculum specialist was also hired to set benchmark standards for specific age groups.
Parents interested in enrolling their students at The Growing Patch Preschool can apply and schedule a tour online. Virtual tours are also available online.