I'm looking for a preschool-type program for my daughter in the Leominster-Lancaster-Bolton-Harvard-Clinton-Sterling area. I am not very interested in a traditional preschool, but a completely play-based, very easy-going program. She has really enjoyed preschool summer camp at her gymnastics school, and I'd love to find something similar - structured, but non-academic. It really doesn't have to be a preschool - just somewhere she can go 2 days a week for a few hours, with other kids and adults to look up to, fun, moderately structured activities and fun exploration. The nearest I've found to this is a Waldorf program, but it's out of our price range, and I'm wary of Waldorf despite really liking their programs for young children. Anyone have any suggestions?
My daughter goes to school in Lancaster, but it is a Montessori program, which doesn't sound what you are looking for. Several of my friends children attended a farm school, but I think it is further west than you are hoping for, in Paxton: http://www.tbtinc.org/programs/preschool-age-programs/ Good luck with your search!
Thanks for the suggestions, CourtB. I do know of the Montessori here in Lancaster, but you're right, it's not exactly what I'm looking for. I love the idea of Montessori, but from everything I've read about it, I doubt that it would be a good fit for my daughter's personality. I do with that farm school was closer. There's something similar in Harvard, and of course the amazing program at Drumlin Farm. They're all just a bit too far away, though.
The Applewild School in Fitchburg has a play-based pre-k program (separate from their academic-based pre-k) that I've heard very good things about.