Our family, via Liam, joined Merrill Hall preschool in the winter of 2010. We've had at least one kid enrolled there ever since...until this spring, when Reid graduated. We feel so indebted to the teachers at Merrill, especially to the incomparable director, Margo Brown. She and her team pick the best from many early childhood philosophies--Reggio, Montessori, Waldorf--with a strong emphasis on dramatic play, artistic expression, community building, conflict resolution, and exposure to the outdoors.
Activities over the last few years have included funneling mud down a rain gutter contraption; setting up a flower and garden shop for pretend play after a trip to the farmer's market; flinging paint onto enormous canvases ala Jackson Pollock; dancing every day to awesome music (this was our family's introduction to "What Does the Fox Say?"; building fairy houses and cairns in a terrarium filled with grass; creating art out of found objects and junk; and reenacting all of the great books they read with everything from giant cardboard houses to small plastic pigs and bails of hay.
My harried pictures taken on the last day don't do the place justice, but the teachers are Merrill Hall are wonderfully radical. They are passionate about the value of early childhood, of play, creativity, community, conflict, mud, and the wisdom of children in an age when we (myself included) are all too busy and eager start teaching our kids to be small adults. We're so grateful to Margo, Carrie, Loyann, Malinda, Kirstin and all of the teachers at Merrill for enriching Liam and Reid's childhoods, not to mention teaching us grown ups how to be better parents.
Now if these good people could just be granted a federal mandate to run universal early childhood care for the country, then we'd be all set!