Our Preschool Classes
Preschool Classes are offered in the morning with options for extending the day with our early risers or lunch bunch programs and a STEM focused afternoon preschool class for 4 & 5 year olds on TWTH afternoons.
We serve children between 2 years and 9 months old (33 months) to Kindergarten entry (5-6 years). (Ages as of September 1.)
*Three-year-old children do not need to be potty trained to attend GNNS. We work closely with families to support children in their toilet learning. We maintain a teacher/child ratio of 1:10 or less.
AM preschool classes are from 9:00 AM – 12:00 PM
2 mornings a week on Monday/Friday
3 mornings a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday
5 mornings a week on Monday thru Friday
TWR PM Discovery Class* 12:00 – 3:30PM
*The Discovery Class has a STEM focused curriculum and is an extended day class for children attending an AM class, who will be 4.0 years or older by 9/1/23.
Bus transportation is available within a 3-mile radius of the school.
Extended Day Programming
Early Risers is an extended-day program option that takes place from 8:00 to 9:00 AM daily, during the hour preceding our regular class schedule. It is ideal for families with early work schedules or who have siblings attending schools with early start times. Children meet in one of our classrooms to play and have a morning snack before being walked to their classroom at 9:00 AM.
Enrollment for Early Risers takes place before the school year begins and on a rolling basis throughout the year.
Lunch Bunch is an extended-day program option that is offered three times a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from noon - 2:30. All currently enrolled children who are not in the Discovery Class are welcome to attend Lunch Bunch.
Lunch Bunch begins the first week of school. Children bring a bag lunch, eat together, play in a classroom, go outside to the play yard and have a rest time. Children can attend Lunch Bunch on a regular weekly basis or on a drop-in basis, space permitting.
A Typical Day at Grace
During our half-day classes children participate in a balance of self-selected, child-directed learning experiences and teacher-facilitated learning experiences. Every day offers a range of educational opportunities and includes self-directed play/learning time, a group meeting with stories, music and games, large motor activities inside, time outside on our playground or at a neighborhood park and having a shared snack. There are ongoing opportunities to explore the neighborhood by taking "exploring" walks around the neighborhood and walking to nearby Painter Park or Bryant Square Park. The schedule below is an approximate daily schedule for all of our classes.
A Daily Schedule
First 10 minutes of the day
Parents (or other caregiver) walk their child inside to hang up their jacket and backpack in their hallway cubby, use the restroom and wash their hands. Then adults walk children to their classroom where teachers are waiting for them. After adult and child greet the teacher, children go inside their classrooms and select an activity to begin their day.
Self-Selected Learning Time
Approximately one hour
During this time, children may choose from a number of activities made available for the day. This time may include, but not be limited to: art, math, science, problem solving activities, books and literacy activities, blocks, dramatic play, cooking, construction activities, large motor play and sensory activities such as play with water or sand.
Clean-up, Hand-washing, Toileting
Approximately 20 minutes (varies by class)
Large Group/Circle Time
Approximately 20 minutes (varies by class)
This time may include music and movement experiences, stories and dramatizations, concept development games and, as the children are ready, group discussions.
Approximately 20 minutes (varies by class)
Children are seated at a table with a teacher and eat snack together. This is a time for informal conversations, discussions about classroom topics of interest, as well as eating a nutritious snack.
Large Motor Time/Gym or Outdoor Time
30 minutes for all classes
All classes have 30 minutes of daily assigned time for active play. Classes may go to our on-site playground or take children to explore and play in one of the nature spaces or garden areas that surround our building. Classes also regularly walk to nearby Painter Park or Bryant Square Park. We also have a large indoor space in the church's Social Hall that we can use for large motor activities on days when we do not go outside.
Last 10 minutes of the day
Parents come into the building and wait at the classroom door for teachers to dismiss children individually. This allows for personal good-byes and certainty that children are leaving with the appropriate adult.
*Note about Rest Time
Because the AM classes at GNNS are half-day only, naps and rest are not part of the morning daily schedule. Should a child need to rest, there are resting mats and cots available. Children in the PM Discovery Class and Lunch Bunch have a regular rest time each day.
Monday Afternoon World Cultures Class and Friday Afternoon Field Trip Program.
Our Monday and Friday afternoon programs are unique enrichment options that offers children the opportunity to expand their preschool learning experience. Children can participate on a regular weekly basis or attend a class or field trip on a drop-in basis, space permitting.
The Monday Afternoon World Cultures Class meets from 12:00 - 2:30. Children eat lunch together and participate in activities designed to expose them to cultures from around the world. Each month we focus on a different culture.
The Friday Afternoon Field Trip Program meets from 12:00 - 3:30. Children eat lunch together and then board our school bus for an adventure in the community! It might be to a Nature Center, a museum, the zoo, Minnehaha Falls, an apple orchard, a farm, a gym, or a park! Every week a new adventure awaits!
The Discovery Class
The Discovery Class is a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) focused preschool program that meets from 12:00 to 3:30 PM on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. This class is open to 4 & 5-year-olds who currently attend Grace in the mornings. Enrollment for the Discovery Class is part of our annual registration process. The Discovery Class serves as an expansion and extension of children’s morning preschool experience. The aim of the Discovery Class is to encourage scientific, inquiry-based thinking through play. During the 3.5 hour program children eat a healthy lunch from home, go outside and have an opportunity for short rest time, in addition to the STEM focused experiences for the day.
During the summer of 2023, we will be offering three, 2-week summer camps during June and July for children who have been enrolled at Grace during our regular school year. Summer camps meet from 9:00AM - 1:00PM on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Summer camp enrollment begins on February 6th. Spots are assigned on a first come-first serve basis. Grace is closed the first week of July for summer break and for the month of August.
Focus on "The Arts"
Our Poet In Residence
A unique and creative early literacy program that has been part of our curriculum since the early 2000’s is our collaboration with local poet, Julia Klatt Singer. Each year Julia spends a month or more in each classroom to share her poetry as well as support the children to find their own poet voice. In April, Julia helps children spread the joy of poetry by participating in "Poem In Your Pocket Day". Please watch this short video about this special program that is unique to Grace.
Click here to view a video about Our Poet In Residence.
Grace is a school that values and nurtures the creative spirit in every child. If you could peek in our classrooms, you would see that every classroom is set up for creative play with an Art Center, Sensory Table, Role Play Center and multiple materials (or "loose parts") for open ended exploration. At the heart of our emphasis on nurturing children’s creativity are many opportunities for children to participate in open ended art and sensory play. The point of open-ended art and sensory exploration is for children to experience the process of “creating,” NOT on the end-product of “making” something. When introducing new materials for children to explore, we do not provide samples or examples of an end product or project. We might ask open ended questions and demonstrate enthusiasm and different techniques for touching, swishing, smelling, rubbing, daubing, stretching, stacking or connecting and support children to be successful with materials. When participating in open ended art, children use their imagination and gain skills which allow them to confidently express their ideas both visually and orally. They have opportunities to discuss their art, their ideas and to feel successful. Open ended art allows the child the opportunity to predict, plan and problem solve. Manipulating tools and mediums enhances small motor skills through painting, writing, sculpting and making collages. Open ended art promotes the development of the “whole child”!