“My child had a wonderful experience at HFP. I have so appreciated the thoughtful HFP curriculum emphasizing connections to our natural world and to each other. Susan’s focus on social-emotional learning, creating meaning and a sense of belonging for kids at HFP is so crucial to their emerging sense of community and self. My child loved participating in cooperative games, body challenges, and themed weeks including Wheels Week, Bunnies Week, and these last couple Rainbow Weeks at school. HFP is truly a special place with strong values centering an anti-bias educational approach in all that they do.” – Bryn, June 2021
“My son attended HFP last year, and we had a wonderful experience. Teacher Susan and part-time teacher Kimberley are both skilled educators and extraordinary people. The school focuses on social-emotional learning and has a social justice curriculum, and there’s a lot of free play and outdoor time. My son, who had some separation anxiety and reluctance to participate at his previous preschool, thrived there. I found the social justice focus very profound — this was a learning experience for the whole family. The co-op structure let me get to know the other families well, and we formed lasting friendships. The co-op structure requires a time commitment, which made me reluctant to commit to the program at first. But I’m so glad I did. The time commitment was totally manageable, and I ended up loving the work. My role was Librarian, and I got to pick out books and research children’s literature, which was lots of fun. I also loved working with and getting to know the children in my son’s class. I highly recommend this program!” Cindy March, 2021
“Our wonderful teachers quickly adapted and made the most of the situation when school as we know it came to abrupt end last spring.They offered a variety of options for us to stay connected to the community and provided structure for our family. We participated in morning Zoom school, and took part in collaborative activities in the afternoons (ie, Searching for flowers on a neighborhood walk, snapping a photo to share on the school’s blog along with their classmate’s finds, and sharing a larger collective classroom bouquet on Zoom the following day). In-between virtual class sessions, we watched pre recorded videos of our teacher sharing stories and songs.
We were thankful to finish the school year remotely with the myriad offerings provided. My daughter still talks about the games we played and the songs we sang over Zoom. And I’m still talking about how lucky we were that our school year creatively continued.” – Nichole (daughter 5 ) Sept, 2020
“After Covid-19 shut down school last spring, HFP’s remote resources were a lifeline for us. The games, activities, songs, and Zoom circle times provided my child with structure and a connection to beloved friends and teachers during a lonely, confusing time. HFP’s curriculum is always excellent and equity focused. Simple songs and chants (‘No! Stop! That’s not fair!’ ‘Same, same, different, all good ways to be!’) allow even the youngest children to participate in social justice causes.” – Cindy (son 5) (Aug., 2020)
“HFP is a great school! My son and family had a very positive, fun experience there. He is in first grade now and doing really well, but STILL yearns for his preschool days full of friends, play and great outdoor space. He still asks us to drive by his school and he loves when we have the opportunity to go back and see the play yard.” -tuki mama
“We fell in love with HFP when we came for an open house in the spring and wound up on the wait list, so we were very excited when a spot opened up for our son! We feel that the natural world plays such an important and often underestimated role in childhood and that there’s often too much of a rush for kids to abide by “grown-up time” and hurry up and dive into learning letters and numbers before they’re ready. We feel really good about Asher going to a school that respects his own rhythm and encourages his creativity and his bond with the natural world.” – Jen D
“Saw this post and wanted to put in a word about HFP. Our daughter who is currently in first grade attended HFP and LOVED it, and still talks about it. Teacher Susan is wonderful with children, she has the gift. The other part of HFP that I really miss is the community of people. I really miss having a community of creative friendly individuals to be a part of. Hawthorne Family Playschool is a special and unique place.” – knittingmama
“We’ve been part of the HFP community since its founding and love it still. My boys spent a total of 5 years there. The love of play and openness of the classroom experience has helped them be great elementary students – open to new experiences and interested in EVERYTHING.” – Cindi C
“My oldest daughter is also a former HFP student. (We moved further out of town so my 4 year old now goes elsewhere, but that’s a different story.) If you’re looking for a cozy, close-knit, involved group of parents, kids, and teachers, this is a great school to consider for your preschooler. The feel of the school is much like a great in-home childcare setting where one of your favorite mom-friends watches your kids… except of course that the teacher is really stimulating all sorts of learning in the kids instead of merely babysitting them. 🙂 HFP encourages you to be really involved, so kids are getting lots of interaction not only with same-age friends, but with other safe mommies and daddies (I remember my daughter loved when one of the dads would help the kids do small woodworking projects). Definitely recommend looking into HFP if you’re looking to ease your kid into school without them feeling abandoned. :)” -Jenn, mom of 3 girls
“Just last night at dinner, totally out of the blue, our kindergartner daughter announced that HFP was her favorite school. She also had experienced an in-home preschool and a traditional preschool before attending HFP last year. I am an educator in a traditional setting and, like Shannon, was a bit concerned about the all play focus even though my personal instincts favored this approach. I’m happy to report that my daughter is thriving in kindergarten and absolutely loves school and is eager to learn. At first I was worried because the PPS expectations for kinders is like what used to be first grade. However, I think the confidence and self assurance our daughter gained at HFP are helping her to thrive.” – Laura M.
“We were searching for a preschool experience for our 3 year old son that was enriching, flexible, and nurturing and we found exactly that at HFP. Teacher Susan is a wonderfully positive presence in the classroom and her love and concern for each and every child is shown every day. Not only is Teacher Susan wonderful, but the entire community is very supportive and easy going. I especially like that there is so much parent involvement in the classroom, and that you are encouraged to be present for as long as it takes for your child to feel comfortable. Talk about a low stress transition!” – Christine R
“My 1st grader stepped into HFP in the spring of 2005 when she was a shy 3 yr old. We were so lucky to enter this community when we did! She was welcomed into this already well formed group of children, and quickly made friends. And we’ve been there for 5 years now! My 5 year old son is in his 3rd year and talks of his friends always. Even here, we’re on a vacation in Brazil with family and he pouts and says how much he misses his friends. This is what I was hoping for in a “preschool”, to encourage positive socialization skills and have a place for play that wasn’t just at home. Someplace that was conscious of the consciousness of little ones. Somewhere where their needs and desires are valued and listened to. We found this in HFP and more. When I had a new baby, the community filled my freezer with goodies! Our potlucks are out of this world delicious, and there is none of that “gossipping” that sometimes happens in small groups. Only true folks trying their (our) best to raise true folks. Check it out.” -Carissa
“My daughter is in her second year at HFP, and we love it! She was incredibly shy when we first entered the school. She didn’t want me to leave her for the first couple weeks of school, so I didn’t. It was so great that I wasn’t pressured to leave her before she felt ready. (This community is the perfect transition into school for families who practice attachment parenting.) And now, she has blossomed into this amazing, outgoing little person who loves school. At HFP, school isn’t this thing that your child does all on their own. Your whole family is embraced by this community and it is a shared experience. And Teacher Susan is amazing. She has grace and creativity that is inspiring. We are excited for our younger daughter to start at HFP in the fall. She is shy just like Ray used to be, and I can’t imagine her going anywhere else.” – Jenny L
“My daughter currently attends HFP. She is having an amazing and enriched preschool experience. She absolutely adores Teacher Susan and her classmates. I feel very lucky to have found HFP. Over the last several months her imagination has exploded. I enjoy watching her act out various scenarios and adventures with her stuffies and real-dog Simcoe. Soon she will have her little brother right along in the mix.Teacher Susan and the whole HFP community does great work! I SO appreciate what she gives to my daughter.” -JSchupp
“HFP was a perfect fit for our family. My son is now thriving in second grade and there’s no doubt that his social skills were honed by the peaceful, mixed age, supportive & caring environment at HFP. As a dad and a social creature myself, I was also enriched by finding a community of supportive, progressive & friendly parents. My son wasn’t the only one who found great friends! The welcoming and trust we found in the co-op warmed and nurtured everyone in our family for two fantastic years. Teacher Susan is an absolute gem. She’s not just immensely knowledgeable and qualified, she’s also loving, kind and peaceful. I admire her so much and am incredibly thankful to her for all she did for our little one.” -Matt R.
“We had 2 wonderful years at Hawthorne Family Playschool. HFP is a wonderful school with a great parent community. Teacher Susan has a deep emotional presence and is highly skilled in negotiating conflicts by validating each child’s experience and restoring relationships, without the need for time outs. Zane deepened so many valuable skills for getting along with people that gave him a head start in the social aspect of kindergarten. I think he was socially better prepared than most of the kids in his class and he has a strong curiosity and desire to learn.” – Cara L
“Susan welcomes families. She makes us feel that the classroom is not only a place for children, but also a place in which adults feel comfortable. We are assets.” – Susie
“I have been constantly stimulated and inspired in my own play and parenting by Susan’s deep understanding of what a child needs and will benefit from.” – Jason Wilson
“Susan is a thoughtful, creative, playful, whimsical, and delightful teacher. Her commitment to children and protecting childhood shows through in everything that she does.”-Rhonda and Kerry
“Leaving our son in the care of someone else for the first time was difficult. But upon meeting Teacher Susan our concerns turned into gratitude. She is intuitive, and possesses the ability to transfer her joy into the lives of the children. Our son adores her and it’s been a great experience for him.” – Dara Wolochow, Deborah Crowther and Isaiah
“Susan has an uncanny ability to see what is needed for kids individually and collectively. She can reign them in & keep the group on task without diminishing individual interests and needs. She invites children to explore their creativity and to hold their autonomy while remaining connected and engaged. Her energy and enthusiasm for children and life in general is contagious.”- Liz