First, let me say this, the Greater Madison area has many excellent preschools. And while the process of selecting a preschool can be a bit overwhelming, take heart and know you won’t make a poor choice.
With that being said, why did my family choose Orchard Ridge Nursery School (ORNS)? What made it stand out?
ORNS offers options for both part and full-time preschool. Do you need a preschool that will teach your child from 7:45 AM – 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday? No problem, they can handle it.
How about 2 days per week in the morning? Sure!
Only afternoons? Yup! You get the point.
Yet, the best part is that ORNS understands that your family’s schedule may change over time. And, if space allows for it, they are willing to work with you to ensure your child’s schedule works for your family.
Lunch Bunch / Explorers (Extended Care In General)
ORNS offers an excellent play-based learning curriculum and several extended care options to help supplement your child’s day.
For my family, it was super important that my kids learn how to eat lunch independently. My friends told me how hard it was for their kindergarteners to learn to eat lunch in their allotted time. They said their children routinely came home with more than half of their lunch untouched.
Lunch Bunch / Explorers at ORNS allows your child to learn how to eat in a loving, school-like setting. Miss Krista, the lunch bunch teacher, does a fantastic job helping your child learn to quickly eat while allowing them to have fun.
Miss Carol, the Explorers teacher, accomplishes this same feat and then lovingly helps them regulate their bodies afterward for the “rest of the school day.” She’s so incredible that most people don’t even call it Explorers anymore. They simply call it “Carol’s class.”
I can confidently say my kids’ preschool experiences would have been incomplete without these extended care experiences!
ORNS has outstanding teachers. Within the first few minutes of touring, it became clear that it was a special place. The collective attention to detail showed how much the teachers care about their work.
It simply doesn’t matter which teacher you have. Each teacher brings a different dynamic and loving presence that helps your child grow in the way they need to succeed in kindergarten.
I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know all the ORNS teachers on a personal level. I can say without any reservation that they are all exceptional people. They love their jobs and treat your kid as if they were their own. They’re eager to incorporate anything you might be working on at home into their routines. And will offer tips to try out at home when you ask for them. They’re also experts at preparing your child for kindergarten. Which, after all, is the most essential characteristic of a good preschool.
The ORNS Director – Miss Liz
Miss Liz, the director of ORNS, is as good of a director for a preschool as you will find. From the moment you meet her on your school tour, you sense a genuineness about her. You can tell she’s passionate about what she does and wants the best for your family.
She’s also very candid. You never have to guess what she’s thinking or what’s happening in the school. She tells it like it is. And during this time of COVID, there’s nothing more important to me than knowing I can fully trust that she has my child’s best interest in mind. Liz has been tireless in communicating with the board, staff, and parents about what is needed to keep everyone safe.
It also never ceases to amaze me how intuitive she is about what is best for the school community. She works tirelessly to ensure that the staff has everything they need to feel supported and ready to teach your child.
The ORNS Community
When we toured, one thing Miss Liz talked about repeatedly was Orchard Ridge’s vibrant community. Still, it was hard to comprehend how accurate those words were until I experienced them firsthand. It didn’t take long to see it was more than just a sales pitch.
The staff makes it a priority to ensure that your kids love going to ORNS and that you love being there too. The little things they do make the difference. The daily drop-off and pick-up conversations with the teachers and other parents make you feel seen. To me, this makes all the difference.
Come To The Annual Open House
If this school sounds like a good fit for your family, please consider attending Orchard Ridge Nursery School’s Open House on Saturday, January 28th, from 10:00 AM-Noon.
Orchard Ridge Nursery School (ORNS), a non-profit preschool, has been a pioneer in providing high-quality education since 1967.
We strive to serve the whole child by providing developmentally appropriate, child-centered, play-based learning experiences for preschool children and their families.
We accomplish our goals by focusing on your child’s social-emotional development while at the same time helping them learn the skills they need for elementary school.
Address + Contact Info
1025 McKenna Blvd – Madison, WI
**Written by Dan Sage – former MM contributor and Orchard Ridge alum parent