Our Preschool Classes


Preschool Classes are offered in the morning and afternoon with several options for enrichment and extended day programming.  We serve children between 2 years and 9 months old (33 months) as of September 1st, to Kindergarten entry (5-6 years).


*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 days a week on Monday/Friday

  • 3 days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday

  • 5 days a week on Monday thru Friday for children who are 39 months or older


PM preschool classes are from 1:00 - 3:30 PM

  • 3 days a week on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday


Bus transportation is available within a 3-mile radius of the school. 


Extended Day Programming

Early Risers

  • Early Risers is a flexible, 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 are given the opportunity to have something to eat before going to the gym for some large motor activities and are 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


  • Lunch Bunch is an extended-day program option that is offered twice a week on Tuesday and Thursday. All currently enrolled children are welcome to attend Lunch Bunch but must be potty-trained. If your child attends school in the morning, lunch bunch follows their class. If your child attends an afternoon class, lunch bunch precedes their class.


  • Enrollment for Lunch Bunch takes place in September and the program begins the first week in October. Children eat lunch with one of the staff and then have time for play in a classroom, in the gym or the play yard. 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 would include self-directed learning time, group meeting, large motor activities in our gym or playing in our play yard and a shared snack. There are ongoing opportunities to explore the neighborhood by walking to the Grace Garden, the Lake of the Isles or our neighborhood Triangle Park.  The schedule below is an approximate daily schedule for all of our classes. 

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A Daily Schedule


Arrival Time

First 10 minutes of the day

Parents walk children to their classroom and are greeted by the teachers. Children hang up their jackets and backpacks, wash their hands and select an area of the classroom 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.


Snack Time

Approximately 20 minutes (varies by class)

Children are seated at a table with a teacher and serve themselves family style. This is a time for informal conversations, discussions about classroom topics of interest, as well as eating a nutritious snack.


Gym Time/Outdoor Time

30 minutes for all classes

All classes have 30 minutes of daily assigned time in the gym. Teachers set up the gym with a variety of equipment each morning.  Over time children are challenged to practice a wide array of large motor skills and have regular opportunities for vigorous physical activity. In lieu of or in addition to going to the gym, classes spend time outside every week in our nature play yard on Humboldt Avenue or in our garden/play area on 28th Street. Classes also regularly walk to favorite neighborhood destinations such as Triangle Park, the Lake of the Isles or our garden plot on the Midtown Greenway and James Ave.


Departure Time

Last 10 minutes of the day

Parents 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 GNNS is a half-day program, naps and rest are not part of the daily schedule. Should a child need to rest, there are resting mats available. Children in the Discovery Class have a regular rest time each day.

Enrichment Programming



Add-a-Day is a unique enrichment program that offers children the opportunity to expand their preschool learning experience. Offered on Monday and Friday afternoons, children who attend Grace on Monday or Friday mornings have the option of extending their school day, and children attending classes at other times, can extend their school week. The program is flexible to accommodate your scheduling needs – your child can participate on a regular basis, or can attend Add-A-Day on a drop-in basis, space permitting.

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  • Add-A-Day on Monday Afternoons:
    12:00 - 2:30. Think Global! Explore the World/ International Study

  • Add-A-Day on Friday Afternoons:
    12:00 - 3:00. Think Local! Explore the city on our school bus

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 p.m. on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons. This class is open to 4 year olds who currently attend Grace in the mornings. Children are enrolled for the entire school year. This specific program option is an expansion and extension of children’s regular preschool experience. The main focus of the curriculum is to encourage scientific, inquiry-based thinking through play. During the three hour program children eat a healthy lunch from home and have an opportunity for rest time as well as gym or outdoor time, in addition to the STEM focused experiences for the day.


  • The Discovery Class meets on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday afternoons: from 12:00 – 3:30 PM.

Summer Programs


We offer several summer camps in June and July for children who have been enrolled during our regular school year. Information about summer camps is made available to parents in February of each year.


Grace is closed for the month of August.


Special Programs at Grace

Our Poet In Residence


A unique 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. 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.

The Grace Garden


Our Uptown location just off of Hennepin Avenue has always offered many possibilities for taking children on walks and excursions to various locations in the neighborhood, such as Triangle Park and the Lake of the Isles. However, long before we were able to develop our two outdoor play spaces at the building, the staff longed to have a "patch of earth" that children could call their own. In 1999 two very dedicated teachers collaborated to begin the long process of leasing a plot of land next to the new Midtown Greenway from the Hennepin County Railway Authority and developing it into our very own “Grace Garden”.


Over the years this humble garden plot at the corner of the Greenway and James Ave. has evolved to become a beautiful flower garden and natural play space for not only the children and families at Grace, but also for all children, families and community members who walk or bike on the Midtown Greenway.

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Walking to the Garden, watering the plants and playing on the log pile or in the dirt pile has become part of life at Grace. We value this space because it allows children to feel ownership and stewardship for a part of the earth.