Great Expectations Sets the Bar for Inclusive Preschools in Marin County, Beyond

For several years, Lifehouse President and CEO Nancy Dow Moody envisioned a setting where general
education and special education programs would work cohesively to promote an environment that
enabled young children of all abilities to flourish.

In this inclusive system, students with disabilities would learn, play and interact in classrooms alongside
their general education peers. An inclusive environment benefits typically developing students as well as
those with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Contrary to the concern that the inclusion of
students with disabilities would lower the overall academic achievement, typical students develop
empathy and leadership skills, and demonstrate higher levels of acceptance toward various kinds of

After many months of collaboration and planning, Lifehouse, in partnership with the Marin County
Office of Education
and Dominican University, opened Great Expectations Inclusive Preschool in Terra
Linda in the fall of 2018. The Lifehouse mission is to provide services to enable each individual,
regardless of disability, to live a full life and to be integrated into the community.

The preschool is a great place to begin the process of positive socialization and academic readiness for
young children (ages 3-5) with disabilities. At Great Expectations, a typical day includes time for
language, art, science, movement, gardening, free play and drama. The goal of Great Expectations
Inclusive Preschool is to continue to show how inclusiveness is beneficial for all parties involved and,
thus, to serve as a model for future inclusive preschool classrooms — both in Marin County and

Mary Jane Burke, the Marin County Superintendent of Schools, was “thrilled about this opportunity to
offer a positive, enriching preschool experience for children with and without disabilities.”

“It is our hope that this will develop into a best practices model and potentially become available to all
children,” Burke adds. “Research has shown that children with disabilities show greater academic and
social growth when they are in a welcoming, inclusive environment. Moreover, children with and
without disabilities will benefit from even greater opportunities for teacher collaboration, social skill
development and diversity within the classroom setting.”

Now in its fourth year, Great Expectations Inclusive Preschool is proud to be leading the way in Marin by
offering a safe and welcoming environment for children with all types of abilities, needs and learning

For more information, visit Great Expectations’ website or call (415) 499-5892.