Welcome to
Meadowlark Preschool

in Hollister, California


Our learning environment reflects our belief that children are inherently curious, seek relationships with others, and construct their knowledge and understanding of the world through their active engagement with their environment and the people, materials, and experiences within it.


For more information on our summer program please contact us.

Our Philosophy

Inherent in our beliefs and values is the conviction that as citizens of a community, children and their families have a right to high-quality educational programs. A child enters the world as a curious, capable human being who seeks relationships and connection with others. Schools should be places where the innate strengths of young children are nurtured. Schools should be places where children are supported in growing to their full potential within an environment that is interesting, engaging, responsive, warm, and loving. Schools should be places where professional educators are happy, receive satisfaction from their jobs, and are viewed as valuable contributing members of the community in which they work. Schools should be places where families feel welcomed, involved, and respected for their individuality and unique points of view.

As educators, our vision for the possibilities for schools is strongly influenced by best practices and experiences of many preschool programs. We look to the beauty and fostering creative play seen in Waldorf programs, the sense of community and connection to nature in Reggio Emilia programs, and child driven exploration seen in Montessori programs. Wrapping the best of each program together and sprinkling in the extra ingredients our children will need for further schooling success in our community encompasses our approach to educating the young child. Our vision is of helping children and families to become strong, competent, and capable while respecting the inherent beauty of childhood.


Our learning environment reflects our belief that children are inherently curious, seek relationships with others, and construct their knowledge and understanding of the world through their active engagement with their environment and the people, materials, and experiences within it.

As a reflection of our educational philosophy, we provide a learning environment rich in materials and possibilities. Of the utmost importance are children's active explorations in the environment and learning through doing. Children's formation of ideas through experiences and processes of inquiry are of valued. Rich and varied materials are provided for the purpose of experimentation and creative expression. Children are challenged to research their theories of how things work and are encouraged to engage in a wide variety of experiences. Children are frequently engaged in small group interactions where each voice can be heard and various ideas explored and results negotiated. Each child builds skills not only in traditional cognitive, gross motor and social categories, but also in the areas of problem solving, original ideas and strength of conviction.

A primary task of the educator is to provide an environment that is filled with unlimited possibilities – possibilities that encourage children to make discoveries, to experiment with their own ideas, and to interact in meaningful ways with other people. Educators are constantly engaged in a process of observation and documentation in order to develop the best possible educational environment for children. The environment is intended to be responsive to the interests and needs of children while simultaneously encouraging children to develop in ways that are projected by educators.

Meadowlark Preschool strives to provide an environment that supports the following early childhood development areas:

  • Practical life skills and abilities through building, cooking, baking, gardening, cleaning, sorting and other activities experienced in the home.
  • Lifelong literacy and language skills through nursery rhymes, seasonal verses/songs, repetitive finger/gesture games during morning circle and transition activities, and rich literature experiences.
  • Imaginative and creative play, problem solving skills, small and large motor skills through a variety of experiential and sensorial opportunities with natural and age appropriate indoor and outdoor toys.
  • Reverence for nature through outdoor play and gardening provides opportunities to experience "nature's toys" such as sand, water, seeds, plants and animals. Awareness of seasons through celebrations, festivals, food, arts, crafts, and nature table.
  • Social skills and care for others through awareness of others' feelings, abilities, and uniqueness and opportunities to take turns, share and help each other in our daily activities.
  • Healthy habits through the experience of a balance rhythm of play, cleanup, eating and nutrition.
  • A lifelong love of learning, discovery, exploration, invention, wonder and joy for purposeful work and play in our daily lives.

Meadowlark Preschool offers and supports a Media Free environment in all its programs and at all times.

Meadowlark Preschool serves preschool children ages 2 - 6 and is open year round; however, the school year begins in mid August and ends shortly after the Memorial Day Holiday. The school will have advance registration for the following school year in March of each year after a family attends an open house/tour date and attends an interview with an administrator. Families wishing to place their name on the wait list should fill out the Wait List Application and submit it to the Director. There is no fee for the wait list application. Enrollment and wait list applications will be accepted on a first come, first serve basis. The non-refundable Registration Fee ($120) must be paid at the time of registration in order to secure a spot for the upcoming fall or current school year.

Currently enrolled children and their siblings will have first priority for available spots for the following school year in all programs. There are a limited number of extended care preschool spots set aside each year and they will be filled from the wait list should they become available. Preschool families will have the option of choosing either a 5-day, 3-day (M, W, F), or a 2-day (T, TH) schedule. We will do our best to accommodate families' needs, but we reserve the right to choose which days children attend based on space available. The school retains the right to make decisions regarding enrollment and classroom makeup and placement based on the needs of individual children and/or the larger school community.

Tuition & Fees

  • MORNING PRESCHOOL (8:30 A.M – 12:00 noon)

  • Morning Snack Provided

  • 3-6 yrs.
  • 5 Days – $420/month
  • 3 Days (M/W/F) – $320/month
  • 2 Days (T/TH) – $265/month
  • 2-3 yrs.
  • 5 Days – $470/month
  • 3 Days (M/W/F) – $370/month
  • 2 Days (T/TH) – $315/month
  • FULL DAY PRESCHOOL (7:30 A.M. – 4:30 P.M.)

  • Lunch From Home, Afternoon Snack Provided

  • 3-6 yrs.
  • 5 Days – $680/month
  • 3 Days (M/W/F) – $590/month
  • 2 Days (T/TH) – $520/month
  • 2-3 yrs.
  • 5 Days – $750/month
  • 3 Days (M/W/F) – $650/month
  • 2 Days (T/TH) – $600/month

*NOTE: Additional $50.00 per month potty training fee for students still in diapers or pull-ups

Meet the Staff


Marisa Duran

Marisa began her career in early childhood as an infant/toddler teacher, working at UCLA's Infant Development Program for nearly a decade. She then taught at Reggio Emilia-inspired preschools for two years before beginning her work as Site Supervisor/Curriculum Coordinator at Loyola Marymount University Children's Center.

Marisa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from UCLA, and has pursued graduate studies in Educational Psychology. She has co-presented many training workshops for adult educators at several educational conferences at both the national and state level, and has appeared in teacher training demonstration videos and books for the California Department of Education's WestEd.

"My personal passion in early education is providing support for educators in developing classroom curriculum. I believe that children learn best when they have a strong foundation of relationships with their teachers and peers. Within those relationships, children can securely learn through interesting play opportunities, and construct knowledge about the world around them."


Joy Urtnowski

Joy began her career in education working with elementary age students at schools in Campbell, San Diego, and Gilroy as a classroom teacher. She taught in grades 1, 4, and 5, but her passion were the years spent at the Kindergarten level. After a decade in the grades, Joy founded Meadowlark Preschool as a home program for children ages 2-6. The program quickly grew and the need for more space and a larger capacity was evident so a new site was secured at the Mansfield Rd. location. Family and friends helped with large renovations and Meadowlark became a free standing Early Education Facility with not only a preschool but an infant program as well.

Joy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Instructional Technology from California State University Chico, and has pursued graduate studies in Educational Administration and Literacy. She is also a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential Holder with a CLAD emphasis and program concentration in the Arts and a certified Lifeway's Teacher. She has co-presented in training workshops for adult educators, presented curriculum and philosophy for classes at the local community college, and consulted for individuals opening or transitioning a business as a sole proprietor in the early education field. In addition Joy serves on the Gavilan College Early Childhood Advisory Board and works closely with the college as a master teacher hosting student teachers at Meadowlark.

Preschool Teachers

Christina Castaneda

Evelia Iniguez-Martinez

Denise Carter

Robin Gessell

Contact Us

10 Mansfield Rd., Hollister, CA 95023

(831) 801-0033

Marisa Duran, Director