Cottonwood embraces a developmental, play based philosophy of learning. We respect each child as a unique individual and believe that young children learn best through play and hands-on experiences. 

Play-based 

Play is the child's natural process for learning and development.  Within play’s natural learning environment children develop socially, emotionally, physically, and intellectually.

Developmental 

Children's learning and skill acquisition develops at the child’s own pace. Each child is respected and supported at each stage of development as they progress toward their own goals and potential.

Child-directed 

Children learn best when they have some control over their learning, when activities are meaningful and relevant, and when they make choices regarding what materials they use and how and where they will use them. These choices empower children to take control of their own learning and to become intrinsically motivated – the most effective and engaging way to learn. 

Teacher-supported 

Rather than a dispenser of knowledge, the teacher is primarily a facilitator enabling the child to learn from his/her own experience. The teacher prepares a nurturing environment, a wide variety of materials and activity, and ample opportunity to explore.

Integrated 

Curriculum includes all parts of the preschool day, including arrival, routines, care taking transitions, departure as well as planned activities and spontaneous play. Learning occurs in all areas of the classroom and is not an isolated event, drill, or activity.

Emergent 

Curriculum is created daily as the children's interests and ideas are freely explored. When encouraged to make their own choices, explore their own ideas, and follow their own interests, children are involved in the real process of discovering knowledge.


At Cottonwood, our licensed teachers are a tremendous resource for education and child development.

Our teachers provide thoughtfully planned activities fostering self-worth, independence, and creativity; respectful interactions with children supporting critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, and self-directed learning.

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Teacher Gail

 
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Teacher Lara

 
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Teacher Kathryn

Our carefully selected teachers are a vital part of our community of learners, continuing to deepen their understanding of young children and their families.

Teachers at Cottonwood are dedicated to creating a developmentally appropriate environment and curriculum that is based on the deep understanding they gain from each child each day at Cottonwood. Our ratios allow us to have meaningful time to observe. Each Child IS the curriculum, and our daily interactions as a staff help us to reflect upon the needs of each individual child and the group as a whole.

The longevity of our staff speaks for itself. Cottonwood is a wonderful place to be. Cottonwood supports each teacher with yearly training and continuing education. CPR, First Aid, Universal Precautions, Medical Administration and Mandatory Reporter trainings, as well as attendance at the best Early Childhood Education conferences in the nation each year.