Playground Activity Cat in the Hat Fingerpainting

Our Mission | Learning in Nature | Our School | Our Teachers | A typical day at GRCP

Our Mission

To provide a safe, play-centered cooperative preschool where parents and children learn together. GRCP offers a fun, caring environment for children ages 3 to 5. We address children's individual needs and interests while stimulating learning and encouraging social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.

Learning in Nature

Direct experience with nature stimulates intelligence in countless ways. American families' busy lifestyles often preclude children from spending enough healthy time outdoors. GRCP takes advantage of its wonderful farmstead location and gives the children ample opportunity to play and explore outside. Visiting the cows, nature walks through the woods and fields, planting seeds, harvesting vegetables, scavenger hunts, snowman building and sledding sharpen the senses, broaden the mind and elicit sheer joy and excitement in children.

Our School

Being a cooperative school means that we are owned and operated by our members, the parents. Part of this membership involves parents volunteering their time to be classroom helpers. In this way, parents get to witness their child's growth and development in school firsthand, an opportunity not available at other preschools. Co-op parents also sit on the school's board and committees and collaborate in fundraising efforts.

Since we have two teachers in the classroom every day, plus one parent helper most days, our student-to-teacher ratio is very low. Our two spacious classrooms are fun, educational and equipped with state of the art safety features. GRCP is licensed by the State of New Hampshire.

Our Teachers

Janet Williams-has been a teacher at Gale River since 2007. She is a 1982 graduate of Keene State College with a degree in Early Childhood Education. Janet taught at the Windy Ridge Preschool on the campus of Colby Sawyer College in New London, NH before getting married and relocating to Southern NH. The Boys' Club of Nashua Early Learning Center hired Janet in the roles of preschool teacher and assistant director for the remainder of the 80's. Janet and her husband, Perry, bought what they thought to be "vacation land" in Lyman, NH on which to build a small home in the mid-80's. They soon fell in love with NH's north country and the weekend get-a-way became a permanent residence! After taking many years off from teaching young children Janet decided to jump back in with both feet when she learned of the assistant teacher position at Gale River Co-op. Janet's interests include hiking, camping, biking, exploring, music, and reading.

Crystal Hodgdon- was a founding member of the Gale River Co-op Preschool in 2004, helping to develop the school’s mission and vision for our students. She has spent countless hours in the classroom as a parent of two past GRCP students and was hired as a teacher at Gale River in 2011.Ms. Crystal has worked and volunteered for many years, including at Gale River and the Lafayette Regional School, as a day care provider, reading assistant, and youth sports coach. She has also served on the Board of Directors for both GRCP and Lafayette. She is a natural fit to our classroom and an instant favorite among our young students.

Ms. Janet (left) and Ms. Crystal with Crystal's
two daughters who are GRCP graduates.

A typical day at GRCP

  • Learning Stations - Children choose from a variety of carefully chosen learning activities.
  • Morning Meeting - Children gather as a group for a daily greeting, update our calendar, check the weather, count the days of school, share, and do morning yoga. Then the children listen to a story from our Book Wall.
  • Snack Time - The children bring their own healthy snacks to eat.
  • Recess - Children have fun on our swings and climbing structures, take nature walks, tractor rides, visit the farm animals and plant seeds, and enjoy other enriching outdoor activities.
  • Circle Time - This is a direct teaching time using research-driven curriculum. Children learn letters, numbers, and theme based lessons through songs, rhymes, stories and games, all designed to teach cognitive skills.
  • Project - Creativity is encouraged through individual and group art projects. These help reinforce many of the skills needed for developing fine motor skills.
  • Lunch - We all eat together.
  • Free Play - Children are free to choose any game or activity.

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Gale River Co-operative Preschool at Ski Hearth Farm

392 Streeter Pond Road
Sugar Hill, NH 03586

Mailing address:
Gale River Co-operative Preschool
PO Box 261
Franconia, NH 03580

We admit students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, sex, religion or disability.