I only wish my kids were still pre-school age so that we could send them to this school run by brilliant former teachers of my two kids. I can’t wait to visit!
As an educator who works with teachers in dozens of schools and programs, I can say that Jenn Guptill is among the most gifted teachers of children I have ever had the privilege of seeing. More importantly, as a mother, I am so grateful that Jenn’s magic—her ability to connect to each child, her sense of creativity, joy, goofiness (!), and sensitive wisdom—helped to shape my children as they grew under her care. Parents will find no better partner in nurturing their child in these early years than Jenn—all this with a lot of laughter and music too! Be prepared to enter into a world of learning fueled by Jenn’s deep knowledge of the power of play…
I was so excited to learn of the opening of Community Preschool. My son and daughter both began their school years in one of Jenn’s preschool classes. I am a former teacher and have worked in preschools as well as a family support program. I have had the chance to spend time in many different classrooms and observe varying teaching styles. Consequently, I have quite particular hopes and expectations for my own children’s schooling.While I have not worked with Jenn professionally, I did have the chance to work with Jenn as a parent helper in her class over several years. I could not have been more impressed by the skill, insight, and experience that Jenn brought to her interactions with her students. Jenn clearly placed great value in noting the distinct personalities and learning styles of each child. She developed and continually adapted the curriculum and classroom environment to meet the needs and interests of the students. Jenn’s teaching style combined her deep knowledge of child development, respect for her students, and a fantastic sense of humor.I especially appreciated the efforts Jenn made around communication with parents. We were regularly informed about the curriculum and daily activities in the classroom. Jenn also made a point to check in with individual parents about the special interests or experiences of their own child at school. She relayed little anecdotes in a way which made clear that Jenn was really noticing and appreciating each child.I truly feel that Jenn helped my son and daughter learn that school was a place of fun new experiences, and a community in which they felt supported and valued. This positive concept of school and teachers provided such an important foundation for my children as they moved forward.
Both of our children had the pleasure of having Jenn as their preschool teacher. Jenn has an amazing ability to meet each child at their level, by truly getting to know each child. Jenn always worked to build on each child’s strengths and passions while finding extremely creative ways to help them move beyond their challenges all through play, music and art. Through her play-based pro-social teaching style she works with the kids to build empathy, respect for diversity, and creativity. Jenn’s approach allows children to learn how to be cooperative and social, while maintaining their own individuality and interests. Also, by challenging the children to ask “outside of the box” questions about what they are doing, she cultivates a real curiosity about learning. This curiosity and thirst for learning has stayed with our children throughout their schooling. In upper elementary and middle school, our children’s teachers always point out the passion our kids have toward learning, how their questions tend to challenge the entire class and drive the teachers to think differently about the topic they are discussing. We believe that the groundwork Jenn laid out for our children in preschool has powerfully shaped their learning style and is a big reason they are thriving in school and remain passionate in their pursuit of outside learning.Most importantly, Jenn’s classroom is FUN! Her passion for teaching really shines through and allows her to accomplish so much with the kids and it is all through play with singing, lots of laughs, and tons of fun!
My son was Jenn’s student for two years when she worked as lead teacher and curriculum director. He started at 2.9 in diapers, having at that point been cared for only at home. In the two years he was Jenn’s student, he learned not only about space and butterflies and primary colors but also about how to express his feelings and how to be a member of a community and how all families are different. He was able to say, proudly, ”In my family I have a mom, a grammy, and a cat.” He entered a large diverse public Pre-K and then kindergarten with a solid sense of himself in relation to others and positive feelings about school and the possibilities it offers for making friends, learning, and having fun. Jenn’s commitment to creating schools that allow children to develop cognitively, emotionally, and ethically, as well as her deep respect for children, is readily apparent in all her interactions with the members of her classroom, her physical design of the learning environment, and her responsive, flexible curriculum. I remember one parent saying, “I’m just so relieved that Jenn was around to grow my child.”
Zoe created an art curriculum that was well organized and geared towards the interests of the children. Her kind, nurturing, and enthusiastic attitude gave each child the chance to explore, create, and discover. She provided a warm and positive environment for all families. I personally had the opportunity to work alongside Zoe in the classroom. I always looked forward to watching her allow the children to explore what interested them while encouraging them to experiment and have fun while learning.
Every day my kids came home from Jenn’s preschool class brimming with stories of what they had mixed, painted, fabricated or written in school. Jenn throws herself into everything she does in the most effervescent and infectious ways. It is common to see her dancing, singing and painting in costume. Her playfulness allows the kids to embrace the spirit of joy and creativity in everything they do — including cleaning up! Her patience and love guided every day – and every day was an adventure. My kids learned to trust her, and she taught them how to trust themselves. From freedom and choice they learned creativity, compassion and cooperation. On the best days she would cheer on their successes, and on more challenging days she would comfort and support them. She always shared with us the day’s events, and let us feel like we were a part of the journey. My kids are both in high school now, and I think often about how the creativity and energy of the time my kids spent in Jenn’s care created a foundation of joy for learning that is a rare and beautiful gift.
I have had the amazing opportunity to have both of my daughters attend Zoe’s art sessions as part of the preschool program. During the hours I’ve spent as parent teacher, I have witnessed months of excitement and happiness as the children would walk in towards the art table where Zoe would be waiting with her little treasures gathered from nature, materials that the children could not wait to transform into art projects. What I loved most about Zoe’s technique aside from her infinite love and passion for what she does, is how she skillfully guides the children towards achieving their best, while developing their interest and love for art itself. In a world that is conquered by media /technology and where our little ones become victims of screens and fast moving images, Zoe implements a culture of bringing the developing brains of our children back into nature and opens their eyes to the beauty that surrounds us. My two little artists look at the outside world and nature with curiosity and interest, and their little hands can’t wait to touch, transform and create. Zoe’s influence into their lives has passed the walls of get classroom and has reached our homes and lives forever.