About Us

Our History

Noah's Ark School
Noah’s Ark was founded by myself, Adina Priel, in 2001. The idea began when, as a parent researching different preschool options for my son, Noah, I felt frustrated and dismayed as I realized that I would have to accept a hard-to-find space at a center which did not represent what I knew had to be possible - somewhere. It seemed that I was required to make a choice between traditional play-based, what I call “Toys R Us” environments, or rather subdued and inflexible Montessori environments. The Reggio Emilia approach to learning was only beginning to be taught to new teachers in the field of Early Childhood Education and there were less than a handful of centers dedicated to exploring this approach. Each ECE environment was mutually exclusive; each ‘camp’ unwilling to consider the merits of the other, rather entrenched and misinformed. I did not feel comfortable with any of these three choices. I also asked myself as to ‘why’ I needed to be in such a position, obliged to make disappointing and unsettling choices – was there no other way? Realizing that there was nothing to stop me from taking what is recognized as the best in Early Childhood Theory and Education and implementing it all into a cohesive program, led us to what is Noah’s Ark as we know it.

While I have expressed myself here about educational/philosophical approaches to current ECE practices, I must also emphasize that I was looking for a special  ‘feeling’, as I had a hard time finding that connection too. I felt that my son needed an especially sensitive place with warm and caring staff who would recognize my son’s individual needs (he had lots!) while offering firm guidance, boundaries, positive reinforcement and high expectations, and not just strict discipline, which I tend to see as more punitive.

The creation of a school that could truly embrace a holistic blended approach meant finding committed, intelligent educators, such as Darlene Allanson, who knew instinctively, and from experience, that “there had to be another way” to approach learning and were willing to take the road less taken and run with it. Well we are still running and it’s taking us into early elementary school education too, where once again, parents and educators, like ourselves are realizing the inability of traditional programs to rise to meet the needs and rights of the children of today.