Gale River Cooperative Preschool is a nature-based, play-centered cooperative preschool where parents/guardians and children learn together. GRCP offers a fun, caring environment for children ages 3 to 5. We meet children’s individual needs and interests while stimulating learning and encouraging social, emotional, cognitive and physical development.
Since we have three teachers in the classroom every day our student-to-teacher ratio is very low. Our spacious classroom is fun, educational and equipped with state of the art safety features. Our classroom doors open right into the forest which allows students easy access to the outdoors throughout the day. We also have an outdoor classroom in the woods for daily excursions and lessons.
Direct experience with nature stimulates intelligence in countless ways. American families’ busy lifestyles often preclude children from spending enough healthy time outdoors. GRCP deeply values free play in nature. We take advantage of our wonderful forest location and give children ample opportunity to play and explore outside. Free play in nature, walks through the woods and fields, planting seeds, harvesting vegetables, scavenger hunts, sledding, and building snowpeople sharpen the senses, broaden the mind, and elicit sheer joy and excitement in children.
Being a cooperative school means that we are owned and operated by our members, the parents/guardians. Part of this membership involves parents/guardians volunteering their time to be classroom helpers and to help around the school. In these ways, parents get to witness their child’s growth and development in school firsthand, an opportunity not available at other preschools. Co-op parents/guardians also sit on the school’s board and committees and collaborate in fundraising efforts.
GRCP is also licensed by the State of New Hampshire.
Meet our Teachers
Lead Teacher/Center Director
Nicole brings a great deal of experience and positive energy to her role as Gale River's Director and Lead Teacher. She focuses on meeting her students where they are and helping them to grow. Nicole is passionate about play and about children spending time in nature. Both a parent of two Gale River Preschool alumni, and the previous President of the Board, Nicole intimately knows and cares deeply about the school. Nicole holds a Bachelor's Degree in Psychology and is working toward a Masters in Early Childhood Education. Nicole has also worked as a private childcare provider and is NH ECE credentialed.
Crystal brings a deep appreciation for the magic of early childhood and a love for the Gale River experience to her role as the 4 and 5 year old teacher. In 2005, Crystal joined a like minded group of parents to found Gale River Cooperative School. She served on the GRCP board until becoming the lead teacher and eventually the director. In her 7 years at GRCP she worked to create a rich exploratory program with a focus on play, connections to nature and community. Following her time at Gale River Crystal taught at Woodland Community School for three years. Crystal returns to Gale River hoping to share her special interests in early literacy and math, social emotional learning, STEM and art to the outdoor classroom. Crystal studied education at Castleton University and early childhood education at WMCC and is NH ECE credentialed.
Emma is passionate about introducing children to the natural world and creating opportunities for exploration and growth. She is thrilled to continue her work as an environmental educator at Gale River Cooperative Preschool. Emma grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts and she holds a Bachelor's degree in Environmental Studies and English from St. Lawrence University. She fell in love with the White Mountain Region while working in the Appalachian Mountain Club's Hut System and is excited to join the local community. Emma has worked with children while interning at a Waldorf preschool, as a Naturalist in the AMC huts, and as the Education and Outreach Assistant at Green Mountain Conservation Group. She loves to spend her free time outdoors and enjoys baking, knitting and games.