Nursery school remains well-loved community for youngsters

Kids learn through play at "The Little Red Schoolhouse."Kids learn through play at "The Little Red Schoolhouse."
Kids learn through play at "The Little Red Schoolhouse."

Kids learn through play at “The Little Red Schoolhouse.”

BY Molly Congdon
Gazette Reporter
CLIFTON PARK — Since 1960, Clifton Park Nursery School — a cooperative preschool — has been educating children ages 2 through 4 in its historic one-room schoolhouse.

On March 14, it had its twentieth annual auction at The Vista at Van Patten Golf Club. The school is able to stay in operation because of these events and tuition payments; the auction is always the largest fundraiser of the year.

Guests competed for a total of 198 items including gift cards to restaurants or stores, themed baskets, jewelry, YMCA memberships, four day passes to Walk Disney World and a pair of UGG boots.

By the end of the night, the school had raised $11,500.

Barbara Adams has been the teacher at the “Little Red Schoolhouse” for the past 17 years, but it’s a cooperative school, so she isn’t the only adult active in the classroom. In each class there is also one parent volunteer to assist with the children. Parents are actively involved in their child’s education.

“Students see the parents involved in their education right from the get-go,” Adams said. “It makes a big difference.”
Stepping inside the schoolhouse, one enters a world of fun. Paintings dangle, attached by clothespins to string from the ceiling, the play kitchen has an endless amount of plastic pizza, there is a place for puppet shows, and books are lined up on shelves or spread out on tables.

“I love being able to come in and help them learn through play,” parent and co-chair Diana Glaser said. “It allows them to enjoy learning and they don’t even realize they are doing it because they are having so much fun; it makes them excited for kindergarten.”

For other parents, the school is a saving grace. It was the first year Lynn Mcgoldrich and her 6-year-old son Tyler became part of the “Little Red Schoolhouse” family. “My son has Down syndrome and this has been the best year for him,” she said. “Other preschools didn’t allow him the chance to free play, but it’s this play-based curriculum that sets the foundation for learning. Now he’s more social, interactive and talkative. He’s making friends and blossoming; he’s ‘one of the guys.’ ”