Grantee Spotlight: New Horizons Cooperative Preschool

“In every class, we aim for a balance of English speakers and non-English speakers,” says Isolde Stewart, Director of the New Horizons Cooperative Preschool, a grantee of your Community Foundation. “It’s pretty much half and half, including several Nepali families this year.”

Continues Isolde, a devoted community activist for equity in education and a teacher at New Horizons since 1984: “Our goal is to mix things up – in terms of language, culture, and socio-economic status – in the biggest ‘pot’ we can. Then, in addition to making sure that all our students have a great educational experience, a lot of our learning is social learning.
“What that means is that we’re really proactively talking about people’s differences, and also how we’re one beautiful family of friends. It doesn’t get better than that. It’s like a little piece of heaven.”
Curious? Then your opportunity to learn more about this “playground without borders” is May 19: 
“Our goal is to have all different kids play together, and to get their parents to communicate with one another, too,” adds Isolde, who received the 2014 Hawkins Lifetime Achievement Award from the Boulder chapter of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children (CAEYC ) for her years of exceptional service to children, families, and educators. 
“We include parents in the classroom – that’s the collaborative model – and we have lots of social events where whole families can get to know each other. Over the long term, it really makes a difference.”
Reflects Isolde, “I’ve been here a long time, and now I’m meeting the children of the children I’ve taught. So many of the children I’ve taught are now out in the world doing things at all levels – as teachers, and as far away as Washington, D.C. – that reflect their belief in a unified world, and their lifelong love of all people.” 
She concludes, “Getting people together when they are little, we have simple ways to help them become friends. We’re constantly pairing up people to do things with perhaps unlikely partners. They learn to accept one another, and they find out ‘hey, this person is actually lots of fun, even though we may not speak the same language.’ 
“The heart of what we do is to provide a way for all of us to come together … for the sake of all.”