Bell's School is a high quality early education program with full day attendance options for working parents. The NC Department of Child Development and Early Education (DCDEE) is the licensing body for all early education and child care programs in the state. Bell's School has earned a 5-star license from DCDEE out of a possible 5 stars. This designation notified parents that the school meets the highest criteria set by the state in three (3) categories: Teacher Education, Program Standards, and a Quality Point that is met by enhanced teacher:student ratios.
Beyond the 5-star rating, the school has been accredited in the past by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). The school is in the self-study process for renewal of this accreditation which is done every three (3) years.
ISABEL TAYLOR, Founder
In 1978 at the age of 28 and with a two year old, Isabel Taylor found herself in need of additional income for her family. Upon inspection of existing child care in the Asheville area there was not one full day program that even closely met the standards she was looking for. Children were kept in basements with no windows, and in converted garages. Caregivers/teachers were undereducated and underpaid. The groups were too large for any child to get proper attention. Full day child care was so new at the time that the regulatory guidelines were "to prevent children from harm".
"Miss Bell" felt that indeed harm was being done to these very young children. Understanding that there were many other parents who were looking for similar quality programs, she decided to open her own school.
Over the 40 years that Bell's School has been open change has been ongoing. Always looking to new, peer reviewed research based methods, the school has developed a unique focus on the individual child. This approach has been developed into the Michaux Method™ which is being written about by "Miss Bell" to be published in the near future. The approach drastically reduces the number of children in each classroom while elevating the educational levels of the teachers.
Now semi-retired, "Miss Bell" oversees the fundamental goal of individualization of group care at the school while writing a book on her observations of the changes in the field of early childhood development throughout the years.
CATHERINE LIEBERMAN, Director
Catherine Lieberman, director of Bell’s School, has an undergraduate in Birth-Kindergarten Education and graduate work in Child Development. “Miss Catherine” has worked in early education since 1994 in multiple roles. She started her early education journey as an assistant teacher in a PreK classroom here at Bell’s School, eventually moving into the positions of lead teacher, curriculum director, director of operations, behavior specialist and assistant director.
In 2003 she joined a team from UNC Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Research to go to Sweden to study the early education system. What she learned in Sweden has informed our program here at Bell’s School and has helped us create our natural outdoor playspace.
Once Miss Catherine returned from Sweden, she saw a need for teachers to have a voice and therefore spent 10 years working in Early Education Professional Development. She also worked in early education advocacy with the North Carolina Association for the Education of Young Children as Vice President of Public Policy. During this time, she was also clinical faculty at Western Carolina University in the Birth-Kindergarten Department.
However, her true passion has always been in the classroom. She returned to Bell’s School as a PreK teacher in 2015. She assumed the director’s role at Bell’s School in 2016.