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Welcome to Our Preschool

about-image-011st Church Preschool is an innovative early childhood program providing morning and full day preschool experiences for children ages 3 to 6 years old. Our low child to teacher ratios allow for better supervision and individualized instruction while our flexible scheduling can meet the needs of most families with young children. Our integrated curriculum and literacy-rich environment can provide your children with an abundance of experiences which intentionally promote their developmental skills and knowledge across all domains. Our extensive outdoor playground with gardens offers opportunities for growth and learning out-of-doors while developing an awareness of the natural world. At 1st Church Preschool, we believe a child acquires knowledge about the physical and social worlds in which he or she lives through playful interaction with objects and people — “Learning by Experiencing.”

1st Church Preschool is housed in the First Congregational Church on the Cheshire Green. We are an independent, not-for-profit, child-centered program–not an extension of the Church nor affiliated with its religious program. We welcome families of all races and religious beliefs and embrace opportunities to provide children with multi-cultural and diverse experiences. We strive to provide a safe environment where children can learn confidence, develop respect and pleasure in relationships with others, and feel comfortable at school while away from home. We operate in partnership with families to promote high quality, developmentally informed, loving childcare and education to meet the needs of families in Cheshire and the surrounding communities.

Our Mission

Our mission at First Church Preschool is to provide a safe, nurturing, and supportive learning community for young children and their families. Our morning and full day programs are developmentally based and age appropriate. We provide a hands-on learning environment both in and out of doors each day. We stress a literacy-based curriculum that is interactive withthe natural world. We value and maintain low child/teacher ratios of approximately 5 children to 1 teacher for enhancing language development, social skills and creativity. Children at First Church are guided by a skilled professional early childhood staff.

Our History

In early 1994, our founding Director, Marilyn Donovan, a member of the First Congregational Church of Cheshire, along with Karen Kaczenski, the Director of Christian Education, worked with various Church committees to create a non-religious based child care program to meet the needs of both non-working and working families both within and outside the church community. In September 1994, First Congregational Church Day Care and Nursery was set up as a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. By November 1994, the Center became incorporated and renovations were quickly under way in order to be meet licensing requirements by the Connecticut Department of Public Health. On January 3, 1995, the center was issued its initial operating license. In June of 2004, the program received its accreditation from the National Association for the Education of Young Children. In August 2010, Marilyn Donovan retired as director.

Doing business today as 1st Church Preschool, the program remains non-religious based with NAEYC Accreditation. It still operates as a non-profit organization overseen by its own volunteer Board of Directors.


At 1st Church Preschool, we value our community and strive to provide opportunities that create high quality interactions and foster positive relationships between children, staff and families. We operate in partnership with families and think of home and school as part of a safety net that children need to feel that their world is a safe place and that their needs are being met. Our sense of community promotes high quality, developmentally informed, loving childcare and education that best supports the development of children and meets the needs of families.

Throughout the year, we host a variety of social events for our families! 

  • Fall and Spring Family Work Days
    In the fall and spring, we hold our “Family Work Days.” On a Saturday morning, staff and families join together to clean up the playground and garden areas; make improvements; and perform small repairs around the preschool. This fun-filled event offers a chance to better get to know staff and other families in the program while working together to enhance our school.
  • Annual Community Event–Fundraiser
    Each year, in the spring, we hold our “Annual Community Event.” This event offers a morning of family fun with entertainment, food and beverages. Families and friends are invited to attend.
  • End-of-Year Goodbye Picnic
    This family gathering is a meaningful way to say good-bye to the friends, families and teachers in our preschool community. This provides a concrete experience for the children through which to begin to recognize the changes and endings that are occurring as the school year comes to a close.

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Our school is the only preschool program in Cheshire accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children. NAEYC Accreditation represents the mark of quality in early childhood education.  NAEYC-Accredited programs must meet NAEYC’s 10 standards for high-quality early childhood education:

  • Standard 1: Relationships
  • Standard 2: Curriculum
  • Standard 3: Teaching
  • Standard 4: Assessment of Child Progress
  • Standard 5: Health
  • Standard 6: Teachers
  • Standard 7: Families
  • Standard 8: Community Relationships
  • Standard 9: Physical Environment
  • Standard 10: Leadership and Management