Our Preschool

Designed for children ages three to five, our preschool isn’t an anything-goes daycare and it isn’t a clean-white-shirt-buttoned-all-the-way-to-the-top prep school for youngsters. The Magnolia School preschool program is the perfect balance of play, structured activities, and prepared academics. Throughout the day, we support our preschoolers in making choices about which activities they want to engage in and how they want to learn. Meanwhile, our teachers guide students in the learning process and help them participate in a wide range of activities. All children spend one-on-one time with the teacher, learning in small groups, and playing with their peers. We have a maximum ratio of two teachers for every fifteen children.

We teach and encourage autonomy whenever possible, including clean-up after play and lunch. At recess, teachers help facilitate games and positive social interactions.

The preschool classroom is “screen free,” meaning that we do not use computers or other technology to teach. Our curricula focuses on traditional pre-academic and academic subjects such as reading, writing, math, and science as well as “learning to learn,” citizenship, and social skills.

Our goal is to foster a love of learning and skill set in early childhood that evolves with students throughout their educational career and permeates their daily lives.

We offer 2 part time options 15 or 25 hours per week) and full time (more than 25 hours per week) enrollment. This gives families the flexibility enroll their preschooler for as much time as needed. We also offer flexible drop off and pick up times. The Magnolia School is open year round. See our FAQ page for more information on our schedule.

Our approach

Preschool students are taught and assessed as individuals and receive instruction at their level of proficiency, not their age. While part of our mission is to cultivate a life-long appetite for knowledge in our students, we also strongly believe that learning is the teacher’s responsibility. When our data tells us that the student didn’t learn, we respond by changing the way we teach the skill in question. Similarly, we won’t give lessons on skills which data suggests the student already has mastered. Teaching effectively gives our preschoolers more time for play, which, in itself, is a critical learning opportunity in early childhood. We first teach fluency in fundamental skills (i.e., fine motor control), so the skills they inform (i.e., writing the alphabet) emerge more naturally. We encourage productive behavior through positive and intermittent reinforcement, and support cards provide children with positive feedback throughout their ‘teaching sessions’ and school day.

A key source of our data comes through regular curriculum assessments and we track (and graph) students’ learning daily, weekly, and monthly. All of our teaching is based on research and personal experience rather than philosophy. We frequently draw from B.F. Skinner’s contributions to applied behavior analysis but trust us: our teaching, learning, and playing looks a lot more interesting and inspiring than science.

We’re constantly trying to improve ourselves as educators. Our staff attends teaching conferences every year and we have active relationships with other outside institutions–including some in the UK.

At the end of last year, all of our preschoolers transitioned “kindergarten ready” and over half the class was working on 1st grade level material in at least one academic area.

The best way to truly get a sense of our teaching approach and the atmosphere of our preschool is to see it in action. We encourage you to schedule a tour.