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We are a staff committed to the value of collaboration, learning and relationships with children, families and the community.


We work together to reflect on our practice as educators that is supported by inquiry and the participation of children and families. We endeavor to facilitate a climate of shared learning, research and the co-construction of knowledge informed by current research on children, learning and child development.


This cooperation and collaboration extends into the organization of the school and is supported by the spaces of the environment, the structure of the time and ongoing initiatives such as projects, studies and explorations.


Curriculum is built through formal and informal discussions around topics, shared experiences or questions in both large and small groups. This makes use of individual skills, perspectives, experiences and background that develop the school culture.


We hope this website will allow you to get a glimpse of what our school can offer. We also hope that you come and visit First Pres in person as we would be delighted to welcome you.

First Pres has been an independent school for young children for over 60 years. Mary Hartzell, who retired in 2014, was director of the school for 30 years of that time, and saw the school face intentional pursuit of the Reggio Approach as a educational foundation that could inspire and serve as a reference point for what quality education could look like in community. For the past 20 years, First Pres has engaged in a direct and ongoing relationship with educators from Reggio Emilia, Italy, and across North America supporting professional development and learning for educators, children and their families.


The school consists of 6 classrooms that support two 3-year long programs. Both programs loop children and teachers together for the duration of those years as they move through the school environment that changes to accommodate interests and develop opportunities and possibilities. With specialists working in music, science, art and woodworking and a large faculty of committed, diverse and professional educators as well as generous indoor and outdoor environments, adult: to child ratios are very low. The long term tenure of many of the teachers brings a high degree of experience, background and education to the school that ensures an approach to learning and living that is complex, holistic and responsive to day to day living and children’s development.


Discover What First Pres Has To Offer