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GFS Preschool Distinctions

Just as each child is unique, so too are preschool programs. Garrison Forest's Preschool has numerous distinctions to offer children. It is a singular beginning to formal education.

Early childhood experts in every class

  • Every lead teacher in the Preschool has an advanced degree in the field of education. GFS has a vibrant professional development program to ensure that teachers are trained in the latest in early childhood development, curriculum, and the best practice in preschool pedagogy.
  • Each class has two teachers, and collectively, the Preschool faculty represents an average of 17 years in early childhood education and over ten years at Garrison Forest.
  • Parent education is a vibrant part of our Preschool. Zibby Andrews, Head of Preschool, is a noted early childhood expert, who offers a monthly Preschool Parenting Series and writes a weekly letter to GFS parents on topics of interest. Shondra Cowling, Preschool and Lower School counselor, offers assistance to teachers, parents, and students as they tackle questions related to the development of young children. 

Specialists in Art, Music, Library, Science, Physical Education and Imagineering

  • Classes in these disciplines are taught by full-time specialists, typically in dedicated classrooms, labs, and studio space. For example, all students enjoy Physical Education (P.E.) classes in a state-of-the-art gym, a Preschool gym, and on turf and grass fields.
  • Our separate Preschool and Lower School Library houses 8,000 volumes and 35 subscriptions for young readers. 
  • Our vibrant music program includes weekly classes that incorporate rhythm,. rhyme, experiences with instruments and participation in a musical play for parents.

An “all family” approach to learning
At Garrison Forest, parents are embraced as fellow teachers, invaluable to their child’s intellectual, emotional, and social growth. We are committed to educating parents about the joys and challenges of this magical age. Through our free, monthly Preschool Parenting Series, parents learn from the experts at and beyond GFS to help their children navigate the wonders of being a preschool-aged child. Elizabeth “Zibby” Andrews, Head of Preschool, shares her extensive knowledge on preschool-aged children in weekly essays emailed to the parents and at regular parent meetings.

A dedicated Preschool building
Moncrieffe, one of our campus’s most historic buildings, meets the distinct needs of our youngest students. Classrooms are spacious and each features its own rest room. A playground is adjacent to the building, with two other playgrounds nearby. The Lower School building, Livingston, is next door and an easy walk for our Preschool students to the Art Studio and Library.

Expert placement help for boys when girls move to Kindergarten in the GFS Lower School
At the Kindergarten level, when the focus on learning becomes more academic and the learning styles of boys and girls diverge, we become an all-girls school. After a successful beginning in our Preschool, GFS boys attend other local independent, parochial, and public schools. During a boy's final year with us, we work closely with his parents to ensure that he moves to a program that is the best match for him. Local admission counselors are very familiar with the quality of the GFS Preschool and value our history of matriculating well-qualified and well-prepared students.

A picturesque, safe setting on our 110-acre campus.
Children enjoy our three, age-appropriate playgrounds for free play and supervised walks on our historic campus’s paths, woods, and fields, including visits to horses in the barn or the fields.

Opportunities to be part of school-wide activities.
As part of a larger school that encompasses a preschool through 12th grade program, our Preschool students and families have several opportunities throughout the year to participate in GFS traditions, celebrations, and community outreach. From October’s “Team GFS” for the Komen Race for the Cure to Halloween celebrations and the Lower Division’s highly anticipated Spring Fling carnival, our Preschool is a valuable and vital part of a larger, caring community.



Our Mission

At Garrison Forest, master teachers share the important goal of instilling a love of learning in each child at an early age. By guiding our students through both planned and spontaneous adventures, we challenge them to grow and develop in ways that are astonishing.

We believe:

  • that education should be challenging and joyful.
  • that a caring, family atmosphere is crucial to the learning process.
  • that children learn best when they are actively involved.