About Us
A Child-Focused, Whole-Family 
Approach to Preschool

The Gingham Giraffe Preschool opened its doors in 1990. Director Gail Smith, a Chatham native and local public school teacher for years, cultivated a progressive program based on the answers to the following questions: What is best for our children? How can we nurture and educate them in today's changing world? How can we balance the flexibility needs of parents with the structural needs of our little ones? The Gingham Giraffe is the manifestation of Gail's answers.

Alison Jackson, Gail's daughter, joined the staff as Assistant Director in 2015. As a certified Positive Discipline Instructor and mother of three young children (pictured below with her oldest son), Alison brings the evolving perspective of today's parent to a school that prides itself on serving the ever-changing needs of our community's families. 

Gingham's staff makes us truly shine! Our dedicated team of teachers return year after year; most have been at Gingham for over a decade - many since our inception! By implementing a six-month age span in each classroom, the talented team at Gingham are able to hone language, speech and motor skills through developmentally appropriate academics and play-based learning while remaining focused on each individual child's strengths.

Our Mission 

Our primary goal is to ensure that each child develops confidence in his/her abilities and is prepared for Kindergarten and beyond. Positive self-esteem enables children to explore and experiment. With guidance and encouragement, a strong link to learning will result.

We continue to evolve our programs to meet the needs of parents and children. Whether you need an early drop off due to your work schedule, or an after school activity for your active child, Gingham works to ensure each student's needs are met and parental expectations are exceeded.

Gingham At A Glance... 

  • Private, not-for-profit early childhood education program for ages 2 - K

  • Nonsectarian program welcoming families of all denominations

  • Team teaching with 2-3 teachers per class and fantastic student/teacher ratio 8:1 for older students, 5:1 for our little ones 

  • Average age span in each class is six months. 

  • Spacious sunlit classroom, large shaded playground and full-sized gymnasium

  • Curb service and snacks provided daily

  • We are a nut free school. ALL food allergies are handled seriously and sensitively 

  • Every teacher and staff member CPR and First Aid certified

  • Weekly Science and Music classes by special teachers

  • Flexible program provides options for early drop off and extended day options until 2:30 daily 


Why are you called The Gingham Giraffe? 

The whimsical Gingham Giraffe represents the happy, child-oriented atmosphere that can be found in each classroom. We believe that the first school experience should be a positive one, with parents, children and teachers working together. 

When should I send in my application? 

At The Gingham Giraffe, enrollment is rolling. This means that while most students begin in September or January, you can enroll your child at any time. Priority is given to siblings of current students beginning in January for the following school year, and we begin accepting new applications shortly after. Many classes fill up quickly. When you contact us, we will let you know if there is a wait list. 

 What's makes Gingham different?

  • Comprehensive curriculum designed by certified teachers for children's developmental stages with a six month age span in each classroom

  • Experienced in identifying developmental delays and assisting parents with finding necessary support 

  • Morning sessions available for all ages; flexible afternoon options until 2:30 PM for more learning/fun - no advanced notice required! 

  • Early Start offered daily for 8:15 AM arrival 

  • Spacious, clean, exciting classrooms with all facilities on one level

  • Safe, time-saving drop off and pick up, no need to park. Teachers walk children to their car and buckle into car seats.

  • Special "Theme Days" designed for parental involvement including Cookie Cutter Day, Breakfast At School, Native American Pow-Wow, and more! 

  • Frequent newsletters to keep you informed about daily projects and events

  • Specialty class segments taught weekly by Science and Music teachers 

  • A committed, professionally-trained teaching staff that returns year after year

How is the curriculum developed?


  • Theme-oriented curriculum, with units lasting one to two weeks
  • Activities are selected to be creative, age-appropriate and success-oriented, while providing opportunities for individual, small and large group instruction
  • Children's immediate needs stimulate topics of study, i.e.new sibling
  • Seasons, holidays, and community events are used to strengthen concepts

More Questions? 
Get in touch! 
Email us for more info or to arrange a private tour.