No two children are alike, so no one preschool can be the best for everyone. However, according to the Center for Early Childhood Education, "Research findings on play and play-based preschools have remained consistent over many decades: The frequency and complexity of play in the early years predict later school achievement."
So which is the best play-based preschool? Boulder Valley School District (BVSD) was aiming for just that when they invested 4.9 million in Boulder's first public school exclusively for preschoolers.
Open from 1889 until 2003 Mapleton Elementary had long been the community center for the popular Mapleton neighborhood of Boulder, CO. Nestled against the foothills and shaded by its namesake silver maple trees, this neighborhood school was primed for renovation. A board was formed to preserve the historic value of Mapleton Elementary while catering to its newest preschool residents. Mapleton Early Childhood Center opened its doors in 2013.
With a year under its belt, the classrooms are filling up with 3-4 year olds from all over Boulder. The new facility has attracted top-notch teachers, therapists and paraeducators. It even offers bi-lingual classrooms. BVSD, one of the state’s top school districts, kept the user in mind with tot-sized everything from classroom doors to bathroom fixtures to playground equipment. With an eye to low student/teacher ratio and dedicated speech and occupational therapists, Mapleton is a high-quality, affordable option for both all-day and half-day students.