Linwood Nursery School celebrates 40 years

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Kaitlyn Zimmerman, 4, of Egg Harbor Township is all smiles and surrounded by her friends, Mia Sarni, left of Egg Harbor Township and Haley Barnhart of Northfield during Linwood Nursery School’s 40th anniversary celebration held Monday, Nov. 19. Kaitlyn Zimmerman, 4, of Egg Harbor Township is all smiles and surrounded by her friends, Mia Sarni, left of Egg Harbor Township and Haley Barnhart of Northfield during Linwood Nursery School’s 40th anniversary celebration held Monday, Nov. 19.

LINWOOD—They put on birthday hats and enjoyed a big birthday cake to celebrate 40 years of the Linwood Nursery School Monday afternoon. But the fun party atmosphere just underscores that learning occurs in happy times and a nurturing environment.

Four decades of encouraging children to have fun while learning is a lesson that earns the Linwood Nursery School high marks. In 1972 Linwood Nursery School opened up as a non-denominational, cooperative nursery school for children ages 3 to 5 years old at the Seaview Baptist Church on Shore Road. LNS ascribes to the theory Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood used as a basis for his decades of educational programming; “Play is really the work of childhood.”

Because it is a co-op parents enjoy the opportunity to be involved in their child’s preschool education.  They will choose what committee they want to work on and are obligated to spend one class period helping in the class setting up, cleaning up and it is always on their child’s “show and tell” day.

Devon Kallen of Northfield is a school teacher and a mom of three boys. She is also a former student at LNS. She said the fact that LNS is a cooperative school is what made her want to send her boys there. “I really like that each parent has input in the boards decisions and I like that every person on the board has a stake in what goes on at the school because their children are there,” Kallen said. “Often school boards are made up of members who may or may not have children still in school.”

The concept behind the LNS is play based learning. Laura Stetser, who had two children attend the school, said that was important to her. “My kids do better in an environment that is play based. There is more learning that will happen if they begin with play.”

Experts say play is an integral part of learning for pre-schoolers and LNS uses play to help the children learn and develop ideas about the world around them. Kallen agreed, saying play based learning is important.

The school can accommodate 32 children with 16 in the 3-4 year-old class and 16 in the 4-5 year old class. The head teacher at LNS is Patricia Rohrabacher of Egg Harbor Township and assistant teacher is Shelly Wynne of Northfield. Each day they will have a parent on co-op duty assisting them in class. A full day program was added last year for the older students who are preparing to head to kindergarten and includes a reading readiness program. 

Currently they are accepting names for fall 2013 that will usher in the next 40 years of play based learning at the Linwood Nursery School. To learn more visit their website www.linwoodnurseryschool.org or call (609) 927-9211.


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