Looking for a play-based preschool? Look no further. My children have attended two years at Christ Lutheran with Mrs. Betts in the 3-year old "class" and Mrs. Talcott in the 4-year old "class" (the classes are together for centers, music, chapel, and recess, and pulled apart for small group instruction). This is not the school for parents who want their child to be forced into reading before kindergarten, but it is the school for those who know that research supports the idea that play-based curriculum is optimal for 3, 4, and 5. year olds. One of mine looks like he actually will be reading before kindergarten, and I attribute that to the lack of pressure and the self-directed opportunities for literacy exploration at Christ Lutheran.
The classroom is large and center-based. You won't find kids at desks doing sea twork like some of the other preschools. There are separate small group areas and a large group area. The room has a play kitchen, reading center, art area, blocks center, science center, and more. Students are free to chose which center to work in, although teachers keep an eye on them to make sure the children aren't staying in one area too long or too often.
The school has an amazing music program with a teacher who comes in each week to work with the kids. There are four musical programs throughout the year.
The kids also attend chapel once a week. Given my own spiritual background, I worried about the religious aspect in the beginning, but my fears were put to rest when I attended chapel as a volunteer. The ladies who lead chapel present a simple Bible story. Most of the lesson, though, is about ideals such as honestly, integrity, and loyalty, and the ladies are often taken on tangent stories by the children. Chapel is a great experience for the kids in learning to talk with trusted adults.
The school is a co-op, so parents are expected to volunteer 4 to 5 times a year for the morning session of school. Volunteers help in the room as needed and provide snack for the day.
Students can attend two, three, four, or five days a week and choose half or full day (the actual "school day" is three hours in the morning, but then they provide after care for students who need a full-day program).
I really can't say enough about the time my children have spent here. Now if only I could find a play-based kindergarten on HHI....