Bennett Preschool - Estes Park Center
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Bennett Preschool

About  Philosophy  Curriculum  Admissions

For more information e-mail Preschool Director
Bria Quaintance

Preschool for the 2019 – 2020 season starts on September 3rd, 2019. View the 2019 – 2020 Bennett Preschool calendar. 



Bennett Children’s Building History

The Bennett Children’s Building was built in 1965 with funds donated by Richard and Angela Bennett. The building was designed to serve young children and has continued to be used for that purpose. Mr. Bennett served on the board of directors of the YMCA of the Rockies/Estes Park Center for 13 years in addition to serving on YMCA national, Omaha and Nebraska boards. Over forty years later, the generosity of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett still benefits the children of the Estes Park area and the guests of the YMCA.

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We believe that children are capable, competent, and creative people in their own unique way and deserve the right to learn about all the wonders of their environment through play and exploration. Our belief about the child’s right to play and explore is why we are inspired by the Reggio Approach to learning as well as the outdoor school approach to education. The inherent need to be in and a part of our natural world is a gift we continue to appreciate by creating our classroom environment outdoors as much as we do indoors. The location of our preschool at the YMCA of the Rockies is practically inside Rocky Mountain National Park and being outdoors in our natural environment is a treasured asset to our program.

What is Reggio Emilia?

Reggio Emilia is a city in northern Italy. It is also an approach to teaching that has been living since 1945. Loris Malaguzzi, founder of the Reggio Approach, was a teacher who worked with the men and women in creating the centers and schools for young children in Italy we see today and that are a source of inspiration for our school here at Bennett.  The approach is a place where young children are encouraged to explore their environment and to express themselves through all the languages they possess: words, movement, drawing, painting, building, sculpture, collage, dramatic play, music, and through the natural world.

Key Elements of the Reggio Approach to Early Childhood Education & The Image of the Child

  • Children are capable
  • Child-centered learning
  • Children learn best through play and interaction with others
  • Children have “one hundred languages” in which they show us their learning style(s)
  • Parents/caregivers are viewed as partners in learning
  • The child and teacher relationship is a partnership both yielding to each other in discovery
  • Teachers are researchers and observers
  • The environment is the third teacher; creativity and aesthetics provoke wonder
  • Documentation is used as a way to make the learning visible, reflect, predict, and interpret


The Hundred Languages of Children: The Reggio Emilia Approach-Advanced Reflections Ed. Carolyn Edwards, Lella Gandini, and George Forman

Working in the Reggio Way: A Beginner’s Guide for American Teachers by Julianne P. Wurm

Bringing Reggio Emilia Home by Louise Boyd Cadwell

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“What children learn does not follow as an automatic result from what is taught, rather, it is in large part due to the children’s own doing, as a consequence of their activities and our resources.”

-Loris Malaguzzi 

We believe in a play-based child-centered classroom where the teachers and children learn together through hands on developmentally appropriate practices. Our program is inspired by the Reggio Approach to learning which fosters the development of the whole child including language, cognitive, emotional, social and physical domains. It is rooted in social constructivism, and influenced by the work of Piaget, Erikson, Vygotsky, Gardner, Dewey, Hawkins and the schools of Reggio Emilia, Italy.

An emergent curriculum begins with the children’s interest. The teachers then act as facilitators to help develop those interests. The teachers constantly observe the children and through this observation the curriculum changes each week, sometimes daily with the interest and development of the children. The environment plays a crucial role, providing the context, materials, and space that shape the curriculum. We believe children learn through direct, hands-on experiences.

One of our goals as educators is to nurture your child’s natural wonder about the world, to deepen their understanding of themselves and others, and to provide the space for him/her to express their “languages” that give a voice to his/her questions, ideas, and creative expressions. We seek to support each child’s individuality through our relationship of careful observation, play, and listening as each child grows during their year(s) in our program.

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The starting age for enrollment at Bennett Preschool is 3 years of age.

Application Process

  1. Speak or meet with the Preschool Director to see if the YMCA Bennett Preschool will meet both the needs of the child and the family.
  2. Complete a Bennett Preschool Tuition and Schedule Form and submit for approval. A $25 non-refundable registration fee is required to hold your spot. Checks can be made out to the YMCA of the Rockies.

Potty Training

When a child begins enrollment, he or she must be completely potty trained.  At Bennett Preschool a child is fully potty trained when a child experiences no more than three accidents in a given day. The child should be in cloth underwear and not in diapers, pull-ups, or training pants. Children are expected to use the toilets and clean up properly without assistance from teachers or teacher assistants. Assistance with hand washing reminders and clothing fastening will be given if necessary.

Tuition Policies

The Bennett Preschool tuition rates are $17.50 per half day and $35 per full day. The following are basic monthly tuition rates for 2019-2020:

3 Half Days    $276                                       3 Full Days     $480

4 Half Days    $368                                       4 Full Days     $640

5 Half Days    $460                                       5 Full Days     $800

Credit is not given for sick or vacation days.

Should a child be out for an extended period of time, the holding of their spot will be up to the discretion of the Preschool Director.

The YMCA of the Rockies has need-based scholarships available. Please see the Preschool Director for further information.

Colorado Child Care Assistance Program (CCCAP) is accepted.

A $5 late fee per day will be added to the tuition up to the 15th. After the 15th of the month the child(ren) may not attend until tuition plus the late fees are paid.

An account that is delinquent for more than one month will result in the child being removed from registration. Once the tuition and late fee are paid, the child may re-apply for admission.

Payment and Tuition questions  may be directed to the Program Registrar at

Payment Policy

Tuition is due by the first Friday of every month. Payment may be made by check, cash, Visa, American Express, Discover, or MasterCard. Checks, payable to the YMCA of the Rockies, may be mailed or given to the Preschool Director. All returned checks have a $25 returned check fee.

Tuition Late Fee       

Tuition is late after the 10th of the month. A $5 late fee per day will be added to the tuition up to the 15th. After the 15th of the month the child(ren) may not attend until tuition plus the late fees are paid.

An account that is delinquent for more than one month will result in the child being removed from registration. Once the tuition and late fee are paid, the child may re-apply for admission.

Vacation and Absence

The Bennett Preschool budget is created at the beginning of the school year and is based on all families paying their full monthly tuition. There is no reimbursement for absence or vacation.

Schedule Changes

If a temporary or permanent change to your child’s schedule is needed, please fill out a Schedule Change Request Form. This form must be submitted a minimum of one week prior to the change requested. Any added days or half days will be billed the following month. Schedule changes are not guaranteed and are at the discretion of the Preschool Director and subject to availability.

Withdrawal of a Child from the Program

Written notice must be given 2 weeks prior to a child leaving the Bennett Preschool program. Parents are responsible for tuition charged during the notification period, whether or not the child attends. Please use the Change Request Form to notify of your intent to withdraw your child.

The YMCA Bennett Preschool Program reserves the right to remove a child from the school for reasons of delinquency in payment of fees, inability to meet the needs of the family or child, behavioral issues, inability to comply with rules and regulations set forth by the preschool, or any other situations that may arise resulting in the disruption of the regular school day.  The Preschool Director reserves the right to remove a child at any time.

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For youth development

To promote youth development, YMCA of the Rockies offers day camp and overnight programs that enable kids to learn, grow and play together. While kids are at camp,parents have time to themselves and kids have the opportunity to create healthy relationships with their counselors and peers in a supportive and nurturing atmosphere.

For healthy living

To promote healthy living, YMCA of the Rockies offers miles and miles of hiking, biking, cross country skiing and snowshoeing trails on our properties. Adventure programming, sports facilities, outdoor education and youth conferences all add to our youth development focus. The Program Departments’ varied offerings include group and family activities to engage guests’ entire spirit, mind and body.

For social responsibility

To promote social responsibility, YMCA of the Rockies is committed to diversity and respect for all people by utilizing more than 50,000 volunteer hours every year, hosting more than 2,500 outdoor education students to instill in them stewardship of our earth, promoting global awareness through the international trainee program and supporting the Chaplains Departments’ religious education programming for youth and adults. Additionally, YMCA of the Rockies endeavors to operate its centers in an earth-friendly fashion with active recycling programs, sustainable architecture in new construction and active natural resource management plans.

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