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10 Years of Joyful Exploration

10 years ago, my family and I started this school to explore a nature-based curriculum for preschool students—a rarity in the city at the time and still difficult to find. Over the years, we have transitioned from a blended Montessori-Reggio Emilia Approach curriculum to fully embrace the Reggio Emilia philosophy and we couldn’t be happier with the result. We have found that we fill a niche in our co

mmunity for families looking for early education that values a child’s own creativity and aptitude for exploration.

We opened the school on October 9th, 2012 with only 11 students, four teachers, and six classrooms. Those early months were challenging but incredibly rewarding, as we slowly grew in students and staff. We survived only because of the families that believed in us and our approach.

I remember sleeping at the school many nights in those early days, cooking meals for students and often staying in the classroom to teach because of call-ins. We now spend each day learning and exploring with 180 students, a staff of 46, and full wait lists, and I wouldn’t change those early days for the world. Over the past ten years we’ve worked with almost 800 students and their families, and I have also seen some of our earliest students graduate high school—a very weird feeling!

The school has been through some turbulent times—state and federal policy changes, teacher shortages, natural disasters, and COVID-19 chief among them—but has always stayed strong. We raised thousands of dollars in food and supplies for teachers and families affected by Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We opened the school for families to shelter who lost power and water during the 2021 freeze. We provided scholarships for dozens of teachers over the years to obtain their Child Development Associate. We raised funds to provide 37 scholarships for low-income children to receive educational opportunities. We've also rescued and bottle-fed a few dozen small kittens from the school grounds!

Most of all, we are extraordinarily proud of the role we have played in growing acceptance of the Reggio Emilia Approach in our beautiful city.

As we look forward to the next ten years and many more after that, we want to thank all of our families for your support and love!

Jessi Mays


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