You don’t know Jack- yet!

Jack is the small, marvelous inspiration behind a very special preschool: when he was born, his parents, the school’s founders, Melissa Callahan and Jeremy Thompson, left a combined 35 years of public service as certified teachers to take turns staying home with him. As he aged, and as they guided his development firsthand, they decided retire from state service in order to create the kind of preschool they wished existed for the creative and inquisitive Jack, one which was dynamic, artistic, expressive, creative, playful, well organized, child-centered, aesthetically stimulating, collaborative and nurturing. Having been highly qualified early childhood specialists in the Opening Minds Through the Arts (OMA) program and the Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) program for Tucson Unified School District, his parents were uniquely positioned to have developed the specialized skills required for engaging and inspiring school-aged children, including developing lessons which integrated songs, creative movement, the construction of clay models, reader’s theater, and so on.

They also have experience as instructional coaches and in professional development, coordinating programs and supervising staff; they knew they could gather the right people to work with them as a team in providing quality opportunities for pre-school aged children. Most importantly, they knew their school had to combine the best practices of Montessori (multi-age groupings, learning centers and manipulative use), Reggio Emilia (child-centered and led, hands-on learning in an environment filled with natural light and stimulating objects), Waldorf (it emphasis on imaginative play and subject-integration into daily activities), and the first kindergartens as envisioned by Froebel (days spent with song, gardening, family-style meals, and play activities which have learning concepts embedded in the design and use of constructive play toys).

In addition, they have extensive training in specific curricula, such as instructing in Orff and in the use of music tools and techniques, and in working with children from a wide range of backgrounds and with diverse and exceptional needs. As a result of their experiences and beliefs they have developed a unique program rooted in high-leveraged practices and strategies, and which is centered on making sure Jack, and his friends, have the best preschool experience possible. They have fostered relationships with volunteer organizations and other non-profits, and have partnerships with businesses and the city which will ensure future growth. They chose their location, facilities and staff on the basis of ensuring their clients will have access to the best Tucson has to offer, and they hope you take the time to visit their school and spend some time getting to know the staff and invite you, and your child, to become members of their learning community.

Now you know Jack: like him, great beginnings come from taking one small step at a time!

Our Team


Melissa Callahan

The director of Small Marvels, Melissa Callahan, received her Bachelor of Music Education degree in 2005 from the University of Arizona with an emphasis on voice.  For over a decade, Melissa was employed by Tucson Unified for the Opening Minds through the Arts (OMA) program as an Elementary Arts Integration Specialist, a Smart Art Summer School coordinator, and as an Exploratory Residence teacher, serving over 10 schools throughout Tucson. 


Jeremy Thompson

Partner and Co-founder, Jeremy Thompson brings over 25 years of experience working with young children in the gifted, talented and charter school fields, emphasizing children-centered, hands on/minds on learning models.  With his background in studio art, and a Master’s Degree in Designing for Children, Jeremy brings his broad experience in the visual arts and enrichment education to the Small Marvels curriculum.