Honey Bear is a family owned and operated preschool that has been successfully preparing children for Kindergarten since 1986.

In early 2013, Catherine & Richard Vanicky purchased Honey Bear from Cathie’s mother, Patricia Russell, who along with Cathie's father, William, founded the center in 1986. In 1983, her parents, purchased the North Avenue property as it had potential for a preschool. And in 1986, by converting and adding onto a 3-car garage, the Russell’s dream was fulfilled as Honey Bear Learning Center opened its classrooms to the first young, “Honey Bears”. The Russell’s goal was to provide quality childcare benefiting the child, family and community. They met and exceeded their goal as over 1200 children and families were effectively served from 1986 to 2012. Cathie had worked by her mother’s side as the Assistant Director since 1990.

Under “Miss Cathie’s” directorship, our new mission statement is rooted in family tradition: To assist young children in developing a love of learning which creates a stable educational foundation for their lifetime. Cathie's aspiration is to continue the family tradition as she is looking ahead during this exciting time of change in the Connecticut early childhood system to offer even more early learning experiences to our young “Honey Bears”.

NAEYC Accreditation

At Honey Bear Learning Center, we are proud to be nationally accredited by the NAEYC Academy for Early Childhood Program Accreditation. We have continually earned NAEYC Accreditation since 1995, which demonstrates our commitment to excellence in early childhood education. NAEYC's national accreditation system has set 10 professional standards with over 400 individual criterions for early childhood education programs, allowing families to find high-quality programs for their children. Click here to locate an accredited program.

Connecticut School Readiness Program

Honey Bear is a State of Connecticut Office of Early Childhood, School Readiness Program. We have maintained this distinction since the Connecticut School Readiness Programs inception in 1997. The Connecticut School Readiness Program is a state-funded initiative administered by the Office of Early Childhood that develops a network of School Readiness Programs to provide open access for children to quality programs that promote the health and safety of children and prepare them for formal schooling and provide opportunities for parents to choose among affordable and accredited programs.

State Licensing

Honey Bear Learning Center is licensed by the Connecticut Department of Public Health, Child Day Care Licensing Program.


We are a participating provider with the Connecticut Department of Social Services Care4Kids program. The goal of the Care4Kids program is to make child care affordable for low to moderate income families in Connecticut.

Please contact us to schedule a tour of our classroom and playground environments, meet our dedicated teachers and see how our young “Honey Bears” create their preschool educational experiences.