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 is emergent, in other words it responds to children’s needs, their growth and their interests. 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!
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 housed in the education wing of the Grace-Trinity Community Church (GTCC), where we are still located.
While GNNS has never been a faith-based program, it has always been part of GTCC’s mission to serve the children 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 to this day we continue that intention by partnering with the Minneapolis Public School Early Childhood Special Education Program as one of their community schools.
We also have continued the mission 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 organization, but continues its close relationship and shared mission of serving our community with Grace-Trinity Community Church. Click here for more information about our Scholarship Program.