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ED U CATION

Upscale

preschool opens in Granite Bay BY GRAHAM WOMACK

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t’s little wonder why Little Sunshine’s Preschool & Playhouse chose Granite Bay for its first California location. The Springfield, Missouri-based franchise, with 20 sites around the United States, isn’t a one-size-fits-all model of days of preschool yore, with juice, naptime, maybe some games and not much else. This school — which had a ribbon-cutting Nov. 18 for its $5-million campus at 5370 Douglas Blvd. — features red carpet drop-off, yoga and cameras for parents to check in on their kids. It’s a high-end school for a high-end area like Granite Bay, where the average annual household income is roughly $110,000. For Little Sunshine’s CEO Rochette Dahler, who founded the system’s first

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school in 2002, the enterprise grew out of her desire to provide the right kind of preschool for her first child, with whom she was pregnant at the time. “I think it’s the same thing that motivates any parent: you just want the best for your child, and if you don’t see it available in the market, sometimes you’re willing to go to extreme lengths to provide that.” Employing the “Reggio Emilia” philosophy of preschool education, Little Sunshine’s takes a bit of a different approach to preschool. For one thing, Dahler said, the classroom is considered a third teacher, with an ever-changing environment and 24 different themes depending on what the children are being taught. “The children, for the most part, are given very open-ended activities, very

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