Friends ‘n Fun Children’s Center opened its doors in 1984 with a commitment to offering a creative and educational preschool experience that was dedicated to celebrating the joy and wonder of childhood. The program provided a morning session for children aged two and a half through five years old in the Lafayette and Louisville communities. We soon discovered that families in the area needed and could support a more expanded program. We searched for a location that spoke to our intentions of what a school environment should offer –a place that is welcoming in its familiarity; a place that encourages exploration within a safe framework; a place that supports communication and the development of relationships; a place with natural outdoor spaces that invite and encourage the limitless imagination of children; and a physical environment that reflected a value for architecture, lighting, landscaping, interior design, and aesthetics. In 1987 we were extremely fortunate to find the lovely old mining house into which we have so comfortably settled.
The co-directors, Janet Commodore and Sandy Weeks, have had a shared history since 1979 when they met and worked together in Boulder, Colorado. During this time they found that they were philosophically aligned and inspired by similar influences. Their teaching careers took them to different schools yet they remained professional colleagues and personal friends as they supported one another through the adventures of organizing and operating separate schools. They continued to shape their educational perspectives through discussing, defining, and refining their ideas on the application of theory, philosophy, environment, and child and human development. In 1988 they were able to come together again at Friends ‘n Fun’s permanent location. Over the course of more than thirty years in the practice of early childhood education they have challenged one another to create and continue a shared global vision of education that begins within the expanses of interpersonal and interdependent relationships.
In 1989, Janet and Sandy began a Masters program at Bank Street College in New York City. The three-year, Early Childhood Educational Leadership Program afforded them the ability to pursue their passions and interest in education while continuing to support and operate the school. Sharing such an incredibly challenging and motivating educational experience fortified their beliefs and continues to influence all facets of their work on a daily basis.
Over the past thirty years some very talented and special teachers have passed through Friends ’n Fun’s doors. They have shared with us their passion for young children and early childhood education. They have greatly enhanced and expanded the vision of the school. We are thankful to each one of them and enjoy ongoing personal and professional relationships with them as our paths continue to cross.
In addition to the professional teachers who have worked with the school over the years we have also supported the growth of young adults exploring early childhood education as a future career. The powerful result of this work has encouraged us to search for additional avenues of contributing to the early childhood profession. We are pleased to be a placement site for student interns who are participating in a teaching licensure program facilitated by Friends School and accredited by the Colorado Department of Education. The teacher intern will have a one-year placement and will be a full time contributing member of the staff. Co-directors of the school are engaged in supervision with Friends School professors and advisors related to the intern’s professional development.