"While it may seem small, the ripple effects of small things, is EXTRAORDINARY"

Art has the role in education of helping children become like themselves instead of more like everyone else.

Rooted in their belief that every child deserves as their second home a place where their growth is nurtured, and where their potential is unrestricted by our own lack of imagination and skill, Melissa Callahan and Jeremy Thompson, two veteran early childhood specialists with over 35 years of teaching, professional development training, curriculum design and program coordination, developed a curriculum which took the best elements of student-centered early childhood practices which reflected their mission to ensure all children have the arts as the core of their daily experience.

“Because art is the primary language of childhood, it’s through the arts that we learn what a child thinks and how they feel about themselves and the world. A child’s art expression communicates to grown-ups what skills and strategies are available to them and thus informs teachers as to what can be utilized in order to best help a student reach their full potential.”
— -Melissa Callahan, Owner and Director of small marvels

While Small Marvels began as a vision of the ideal preschool, it will soon become the go-to destination to find highly-qualified early-childhood specialists, arts integrated activities, free and purposeful indoor and outdoor play utilizing state-of-the-art toys, books and learning tools in thoughtfully designed creative and constructive play and STEM oriented learning centers, with fresh, healthy meals prepared daily in a safe and well-organized environment. A newly renovated and licensed preschool conveniently located across from Miles K-8 Exploratory Learning Center, a block from Mansfield Middle School and The U of A, and blocks from Downtown on the historic stretch of Broadway and Highland between Campbell and Euclid, Small Marvels is able to accommodate (34) 2-5 year olds for school day, before and after care enrichment classes, and private art and music lessons. These additional programs are available to children as old as 12. Children experience music and song throughout the day, along with painting, drawing, ceramics, creative play and movement activities. Come see for yourself the enrichment opportunities provided by the small marvels team and join us in strengthening our community one small marvel at a time!

Guidelines we follow:

Research shows that 3- and 4-year-olds who attend a high-quality preschool are more successful in kindergarten and beyond.  According to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, both process and structure are indicators that influence the quality of educational experiences of children.  At Small Marvels, we are aligned with the following Essential Indicators of Quality Preschools:

Aspects of Process

  • There are positive relationships between teachers and children.
  • The room is well-equipped, with sufficient materials and toys.
  • Communication occurs throughout the day, with mutual listening, talking/responding, and encouragement to use reasoning and problem-solving.
  • Opportunities for art, music/movement, science, math, block play, sand, water, and dramatic play are provided daily.
  • There are materials and activities to promote understanding and acceptance of diversity.
  • Parents are encouraged to be involved in all aspects of the program.

Aspects of Structure

  • Adult-child ratios do not exceed NAEYC recommendations.
  • Group sizes are small.
  • Teachers and staff are qualified and compensated accordingly.
  • All staff are supervised and evaluated, and have opportunities for professional growth.

In addition, we have followed the Environment Rating Scale-Revised (ECERS-R) prescriptions for quality preschool attributes and developed a plan to ensure our program is aligned with the following concepts which include:  

Free Play: Children are permitted to select materials and companions and as far as possible manage play independently. Adult interaction is in response to children’s needs. Situations in which children are assigned to centers by staff or staff select the materials that individual children may use do not count as free play. Free play does not mean that all areas of the classroom must be open at one time. However, children must be allowed to choose where they will play, and with whom, from the choices allowed.  

Accessible: Children can reach and are allowed to use toys, materials, furnishings, and/or equipment. For materials to be considered “accessible,” they must be within view of younger preschoolers (two and three year olds).  For older preschoolers (four and five year olds), if materials are stored in closed spaces, they can be considered accessible only if it is observed that children can freely access and use the materials. For example, if musical instruments are stored in a bin with a closed lid, they would not be considered accessible to younger preschoolers and it would need to be observed that older preschoolers could freely open the lid and access the instruments.  

 Substantial portion of the day: It means at least one-third of the time the children are in attendance (operating hours of the center), children have access to play materials and environments. For example, if children are kept together in whole group activities for long periods, it reduces the likelihood of children having access to materials for a substantial portion of the day.