photo by Abra Staffin Wiebe
At Grace, our goal is to provide children with a nurturing learning environment in which they will flourish emotionally, socially, intellectually, creatively and physically. The heart of our philosophy is our belief that young children learn best in a natural, unforced way through exposure to a variety of activities and materials that are developmentally appropriate. Our skilled teachers create rich environments and use a variety of strategies to support and encourage children to engage in creative play. We feel that play-based learning is the best way to elicit curiosity, discovery and inspire a lifelong love of learning.
Our curriculum blends the best of several educational philosophies, combining a focus on topics or Big Ideas for children to explore and investigate along with an emergent approach where teachers carefully observe and support children's play themes. In other words our curriculum responds to children’s needs, growth and interests. This way of tailoring what happens in our classrooms to the children is the foundation of our joyful learning community. The activities in our classrooms are open-ended and our materials are flexible, which is a natural way to individualize our curriculum. Our multipurpose materials can be explored at many different levels. Through this process, children naturally build higher-level thinking skills as well as acquire a rich foundation of knowledge about the world.
We like to describe Grace as eclectic; which means that we incorporate some of the best elements of various early childhood philosophies into our curriculum. Being eclectic is also a reflection of the diverse backgrounds and interests of the teachers. We strive to reflect our teaching philosophy in the way we live and work together. We create a sense of community through sharing and collaborating. Through exploration of our neighborhood and its resources, children and families develop a sense of belonging and community pride. We believe that Grace offers something special to young children and their families. Come visit us and see for yourself…Come grow with Grace...a Joyful Learning Community!
Grace Neighborhood Nursery School (GNNS) was established in 1961 with a $50 gift, a few borrowed bicycles, 10 families and a handful of volunteer teachers. We were founded by members of Grace Trinity Community Church as a service to the community. We were housed in the education wing of the Grace-Trinity Community Church (GTCC) for 60 years until we moved to the First Universalist Church in 2021.
It was part of GTCC’s mission at that time to serve the children and families in our community by providing quality early childhood programming to everyone. The original intent was to seek out children who were deemed to be “at-risk” and provide accessible high-quality, non-sectarian early children education. To this day we continue that intention of providing quality early childhood education to all by offering scholarship assistance to up to 20% of our families. In 2009 GNNS became an independent 501c3, non-profit charitable organization. Click here for more information about our Scholarship Program.
Harriet Room - 33-39 months
Bde Maka Ska Room - 3 1/2 & 4 year olds
Cedar Room - 4 & 5 year olds
Isles Room - 4 & 5 year olds
All-school Float Teacher
Parent Advisory Board
Grace Neighborhood Nursery School is governed by a Parent Advisory Board. Board members include parents, the school director, a teacher representative, and a community representative. The board oversees the educational, business, and fund-raising aspects of the school. Board meetings are held at GNNS monthly, August through May. All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend board meetings.