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In the fall of 2006, a handful of Charlestown parents banded together to explore creating an independent, community-based cooperative preschool. The very next year, CNS was founded as a parent/educator partnership.

Modeling Clay


We are still very much a dynamic and growing institution, with new milestones achieved every year. Our accomplished teaching staff is second to none, our inviting facility is beautiful and functional, and we have partnered with many esteemed educational institutions. We look forward to writing the next part of our history with new families.

We began our program with eight students. Interest in the school grew quickly. In an effort to accommodate as many families as possible, we moved into a larger space. With the help of private and public grants, donated salaries, and the generosity and vision of community members and school families, we grew from serving 16 preschoolers to 48 in just one year.

In 2009 – only two short years after our opening – we welcomed 62 children. We also joined a Lesley-NAREA study group that culminated in a dialogue with Lella Gandini, one of the leaders in Reggio Emilia. Soon after, we added a 3-day lunch program, an extended-day program, and Friday Explorers, and formed many new community partnerships.

In 2012-2013, we also welcomed leaders in the field, including Ellen Hall, Lelia Gandini, Ben Mardell, Ann Lewin-Benham as well as visiting educators from Europe, South America, and Asia and over 200 educators from schools within the US to see our practice. In 2013-2014, we opened an afternoon strand of our core program to accommodate the growing number of children on our waitlist. In 2015, we had over 90 children and welcomed over 1,000 visitors a year to share innovative practices. In 2020, during the pandemic, we took all our learning outside. In 2022, we opened our 20-month-old program.


In 2023-24, we expanded our 20-month program, added specialists to our 4-year-old program, and grew our teacher training program. We have been highlighted in academic circles for offering the most comprehensive and innovative education.

We depend on our partnerships for our continued success – most importantly, those with our member parents. Parents provide the vital guidance and resources that enable us to provide exceptional education opportunities and set ourselves apart.

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