The Renaissance School

Nurturing Hearts & Minds

About Us

The Renaissance School's roots originate from the University of Massachusetts Early Childhood Laboratory School.  
The Laboratory School, which was located in Skinner Hall, served as the primary teacher training and research site
for the School of Education for seventy-one years.  It provided quality care and early education to infants, toddlers, and preschoolers from the local community.  Dotty Meyer was the director and master teacher of the Laboratory School for sixteen years.

The University closed the Laboratory School and reallocated Skinner Hall to the School of Nursing in May of 2004. Parents and staff were heartbroken to see the school close and encouraged Dotty to seek alternate space to begin a new program. The Renaissance School opened in the lower level of the Immanuel Lutheran Church in September 2004.  The name "Renaissance" was selected to highlight the renewal or reawakening of the Laboratory School in a new location.

Dotty continues to connect with colleagues in the UMass College of Education, and the Renaissance School serves as a practicum site for 2-4 student interns each semester. Both undergraduate and graduate students from various
departments including Linguistics, Education, Psychology, and Communication Disorders, continue to use the Renaissance School for research studies with parents' permission.

The Renaissance School is located on the PVTA bus route and is within walking distance of the University of Massachusetts campus. This convenient location enables the staff to take advantage of all the university has to offer. Whether it's taking a field trip to a science lab or inviting a special guest to visit our classroom, the university provides us numerous opportunities and resources to enrich our curriculum.  Over the years we have attended children's performances at the Fine Arts Center, participated in special events in the Student Union, and visited many interesting places such as the campus recycling center.  

We Support English Language Learners...

The Renaissance School warmly welcomes international students and visiting scholars with young children.  Many families come from all over the world to work and study at the University - some may be hoping to find a caring place for their child to make new friends and learn how to speak English. Our preschool strongly supports families from different cultures and welcomes children who are learning to speak English as a second or third language.

   Did you know...
                 that most parents choose their child's first school for its convenient location and affordability?
                   that many parents are not aware of the difference between "preschool" and "child care"?
                   that many parents are not educated consumers when it comes to shopping for preschool? 

Although location and affordability may be important, research clearly indicates that "quality" early education is directly linked to (1) the size of the children's group, (2) the level of the teachers' education and experience, and (3)  the ratio of teachers to children in the group. The Renaissance School is committed to providing small group sizes and high teacher to child ratios. On a typical day, you may see 4 adults working with a group 10-12 children in our classroom. Renaissance teachers hold college degrees in education and are Massachusetts State DEEC preschool certified. Many of our student interns are working towards their Pre-K - 2nd grade public school certification.

When considering enrollment possibilities for your child, it may helpful to note that preschool programs provide an organized curriculum and usually operate on a half day schedule (a morning or an afternoon session), during the academic year. Child care centers are open for the full day, year round. Their primary mission is to provide care for children while their parents are at work. Although there may be organized activities, child care centers typically do not provide field trips or opportunities to explore the community beyond the center, since children are dropped off and picked up at different times throughout the day. Children often take naps and have meals in a child care center. If you are looking for more of a school-like environment for your child, we suggest visiting a half day preschool program like the Renaissance School.

We know that young children flourish in a warm, creative environment that provides some structure and much encouragement for exploration, along with many opportunities to develop interests and abilities. We believe young children have a greater opportunity to reach their fullest potential when they are in small group settings for short periods of time. Preschool is a busy and overwhelming place, no matter what the quality may be.  Although it is important for young children to interact with other children and become part of a group, it can be quite challenging. Waiting for an adult's attention, waiting "to do" something,  to take a turn, can be frustrating for a small child.  Children develop patience, self control, and empathy for others when their "waiting" is kept to a minimum and their positive experiences are maximized. The Renaissance School is committed to providing the best possible experience for the preschool aged child and offers a high quality half day program, just as many nursery schools did years ago.

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