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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am sorry if this is not where it goes but it seemed the most appropriate at the time.

I am currently getting a degree in Early Childhood Education. I should be done next summer. I plan on opening my own preschool for 3-5 year olds afterwards. It is going to be Attachment Parenting and Holistically centered learning. I already have some ideas. I really need some input on what the ideal preschool would be like. Please help me!!

So if you could design the perfect preschool, what would it be like? What toys would there be? Curriculum? setup? Decor? Anything else you would add?

ETA: Here are some of my basic ideas.
*small class size...around 6 kids
*healthy, vegan, organic food
*no plastic toys or toys with characters
*wooden, cloth, natural toys
*lending library for parents with books, dvd's, cd's, etc.
*family night once a month with board games, contests, etc.
*gentle discipline
*small pet like a hamster or rabbit
*learning naturally
*yoga and meditation time
*reusable items like cloth napkins, cloth training pants (for those potty training), real dishes, cups and silverware
*family centered mealtimes
*a lot of outdoor activities
*learning about the environment and how to care for the planet
*art projects
*field trips
*parent night once a month with guest speakers, movie of the night, etc.
*having parent involved as much as possible

Premium Member
2,523 Posts
Well, DS goes to a pretty great one. Let's see -- no electronic toys. Lots of messy activities (cornstarch and water in big trays with food coloring and plastic animals, cornmeal table, yesterday they painted on themselves and rolled around on paper), music (they have a guy who sings and plays guitar come in once a week), free-form art (no dittos!). DS's school always has easels set up with different kinds of brushes. They let the kids dictate stories -- the teachers just write whatever the kids say. They're hilarious and beautiful!

The school director works hard to promote a sense of community by encouraging playdates and allowing us to stay after school and play in the yard (that way younger sibs get to participate, too).

The real focus at the school is on social interaction. The teachers really work with the kids so they learn how to navigate situations. ("Joey, you need to tell James you didn't like that." etc.)

Specific toys, decor and setup are not that important to me. Oh -- another high on my list is how they greet children. At DS's school, all the teachers are always genuine and enthusiastic in greeting and engaging the kids. So important.

I'll think more and add if I come up with anything... I'm a big fan of Bev Bos. My son's school has a very similar philosophy to hers. This is her school's website:
and she's quoted halfway down in this article:

What fun! Good luck.

220 Posts
My absolute favorite things about my ds' program:
It's a small group, 6 kids, which naturally creates community.
All natural materials and organic foods.
His caretaker has NO JUDGMENTS and treats every child with utmost respect and kindness.
She emphasizes imagination and nature.
They garden, cook, dance, sing, and put on plays.
She has community parties outside of playschool so we get to know the other parents.
There are no plastic play structures - she uses hay stacks, wood, boards, hammocks, recycled building materials, etc. so that they move around and constantly create a natural play structure.

He's much happier in this program than at Montessori.
Good luck!

1,590 Posts
No electronic or licensed character toys. No or limited plastic would be even better.
Small class size.
Healthy whole foods snacks.
Lots of outdoor time.
REAL art projects -- letting the children create within a given theme, for longer than ten minutes, as opposed to the prefab "everyone does the same things" type crafts.
Basic academics -- letters, numbers, how to write your name.
Singing -- traditional songs, not gimmicky ones.
Gentle but FIRM discipline -- I'm tried of watching a single kid with issues monopolize the teacher's time and ruin activities for everyone else because teacher's hands are tied and she can't say or do anything to him/her that might hurt his/her self esteem. I've seen this in more than one preschool class. Whether that means requiring the child's parent to attend with him/her, using time-outs, or what, I don't know. But there needs to be SOMETHING in place.

8,109 Posts
my dream preschool:

• parents would be welcome to stay if they and their child wanted them to

• no parent would ever be told to "just leave she'll be okay as soon as you go"

• there would be an emphasis on natural materials and avoidance of disposable items

• there would be an emphasis on being/playing in nature and learning about the environment rather than just playing on the playground with toys

• there would be gentle discipline (no punishments or rewards)

• each child would be respected as an individual person

• social skills would be emphasized (learning how to make your needs known in a respectful gentle manner, and learning to be considerate of others' needs, developing true empathy for others)

• opportunities for the kids to make real music with real instruments

• academics would not be emphasized (it is preschool after all)

• plenty of story-time

• whole organic foods as snacks. no meat.

• flexible options for part time/part week. i really think if it works out for an individual family that it's ideal for a child to go to preschool for 2 or 3 mornings a week, but 5 day a week schedules could be available for moms and dads who need to work.

• parents would be highly involved

1,553 Posts

Originally Posted by HoneymoonBaby View Post
Gentle but FIRM discipline -- I'm tried of watching a single kid with issues monopolize the teacher's time and ruin activities for everyone else because teacher's hands are tied and she can't say or do anything to him/her that might hurt his/her self esteem. I've seen this in more than one preschool class. Whether that means requiring the child's parent to attend with him/her, using time-outs, or what, I don't know. But there needs to be SOMETHING in place.
Yes to this.

*My* child was the kid with issues monopolizing the teachers time.

It was so frustrating to me, because I felt the teacher just couldn't handle my child well, and was giving up on her very quickly. The teacher just seemed to want the "easy" children. Well, not all kids are easy - but they still need to go to preschool sometimes.

Strong, confident teachers who can handle the spirited kids with pizzazz.
That would be a big plus in my dream preschool.

1,303 Posts
I've spent a lot of time thinking about this. I think I would offer a couple different options: 1) with small classes (six to eight kids or so) and another 2) with large classes (around 30 kids of mixed ages) with something like six adults, in a huge space, so the small ratios are maintained but you get a larger mix of kids to play with. I know my younger dd would do much better in a small class, but my older dd, ironically would do much better in a Montessori type, mixed age class, with lots and lots of kids. She craves stimulation, social and otherwise, and it's nice to learn social skills from both observing older kids and helping younger ones. Plus you get a greater mix of personalities in a larger group.

I would offer both full and part time programs. Some five days a week and some two or three mornings. In my larger class, I would have it in something like a very old house, with different rooms for different activities. I'd have a large room full of Montessori type activities, especially practical life, but also sensorial, cultural, language, and math activities, and ideally a Montessori certified teacher who works in that room. I'd have a beautiful entry room with cubbies and coat hooks, an aquarium, couches, lending library of books and dvds and toys for parents, and one way mirrors, so parents could come and sit around and chat with one another and see what's going on. To sort of help ease passage into the day, gently.

There would be a smaller classroom painted in the lazure style, with simple toys made from natural materials. A play kitchen, play silks, simple materials that call to children to have a more contemplative play experience.

There would be a library room with children's books and a loft and several other cozy spots to read or have time away from the hustle and bustle of the community.

There would be an art studio with easy to clean floors, lots of counterspace, easels, art supplies galore. Different kinds of paints, crayons, markers, tape, scissors, glue, clay, play dough, natural materials, different kinds of paper. There would be different stations for specific art activities that rotate (maybe one station where you make a painting with marbles in a pie tin or something). This room would be staffed with an art teacher.

There would be a main play room, with wooden unit blocks and a couple other construction type blocks that rotate; a sensory table, a dramatic play center that rotates every few weeks (set up as a post office one week; a dr's office another, a grocery store another, etc), some dramatic manipulatives (play house, cars and trucks, small toy animals, etc). Dress up clothes, maybe a puppet theatre. There would be an area for children to eat, a kitchen/ laundry area for adults, an adult office space, bathrooms, and storage areas.

There would be an outdoor classroom extension with activities like raking leaves, potter's wheel, workbench, sweeping a side walk, water play, a huge sand pit, a garden, maybe some animals to care for. Children would be able to wander in and out at will, while an adult who was in charge of the area supervised.

There would also be a gross motor skills area, with some stations for activities are set up. (Small obstacle course, yoga cards, balance beam, stuff like that.) There would also be a nearby indoor large motor room with trikes, cars, maybe a trampoline, maybe even some simple gymnastics type equipment, that is available for bad weather days. Outdoors there would be both a traditional playground with equipment and a wilderness area playground, where kids can play in a more natural environment.

When kids arrive in the morning, they would play outside until time to go in. They would go inside, have a circle time with calendar/ attendence/ presentations/ etc, and then have three hours to play as they choose. Adults could suggest and guide activities and work on social and emotional skills, but this is kid time. Then everyone would gather for a waldorf style story and then go outside to one of the playgrounds for 45 minutes or an hour. Full day kids would have lunch, listen to some stories, and then have naps/ rest as their parents want them to. (Some parents want their kids to nap; other kids have a hard time if they DO nap.) Kids that don't nap get up and have group activities in smaller groups based on age. There would be daily guided music, art, and movement "classes." There might even be a generic small group with the age groups divided in half to listen to stories and work on pre-academic skills for the older preschoolers and kindergarteners. (In a playful way - phonemic awareness, cooking activities, nature walks, science experiments, listening to nonfiction books read aloud, etc. Not worksheets; just more intellectual type stuff.) There would be a snack and more outdoor play (full day kids should be outdoors for around 3 hrs a day), and maybe another hour of indoor play, possibly in smaller groups. (All the three yr olds play in the Montessori room on Mondays and Wednesdays; five yr olds in the main play room on Tues and Thurs, etc.)

3,813 Posts
I would love a waldorf-montessori hybrid school. Take the best of both and come up with this fantastic school! I would like pre-school teachers, probably the most important of all teachers, to be well-trained and fairly paid so they stay. I would like quality art projects, not just crayons, markers and construction paper. Plenty of field trips to farms. Oh, and a vegetable garden where we grow our own food for snack time, weather permitting.
Sigh. I would like yoga classes for the little ones. I could go on and on.

Premium Member
6,397 Posts
There is a play based daycare in rochester ny.

I love Lisa and her philosophy. She is easy to chat with and responds quickly, so feel free to email her.

I agree with your list and just wanted to say that i am glad that you are in the early childhood field!!!
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