Rose Rock School began as The Purple House in 2007 in the home of Shanah Ahmadi. Recently enrolled in the LifeWays North America Early Childhood Training, she found the principles and practices of their approach to greatly resonate with her own observations and instincts that:
- Childcare programs can closely resemble a warm family setting.
- Children benefit from forming strong bonds with consistent caregivers, rather than caregivers changing sporadically.
- Children are best prepared for academic schooling by creating an environment and daily rhythm that inspires a sense of wonder, and protects unstructured play and freedom of movement essential to optimal brain development.
As the only LifeWays oriented childcare available in Oklahoma at the time, The Purple House sought to provide an alternative to the institutional environment of many childcare facilities. The goal was to create a comforting atmosphere providing many natural opportunities for learning. Some of the basic tenets included daily interaction with the natural world, meals prepared with whole organic foods, and the inclusion of the children in the daily tasks of gardening, meal preparation, and care for their learning space.
The following several years were a time of tremendous growth and expansion due to the increasing desire and work of the community surrounding The Purple House. A Kindergarten building was added to the property with a curriculum based on our founding values and naturalistic approach. The school was incorporated into a non-profit organization, Rose Rock School Foundation, with a board of enthusiastic parents and teachers formed to envision the next phase of the school and assist with outreach and fundraising.
In January 2012, Rose Rock School purchased “The White House”, a large house on four acres of land in the center of Norman (1515 West Main Street). The tireless dedication of the school community and neighbors shone through with a collaborated effort to fund (raising over $24,000 towards expansion) and work towards rezoning. After an arduous two years, Rose Rock was successfully rezoned and permitted an expansion to eventually include 59 children at the school.
Faculty-in-residence, Acacia Moore, came to live at The White House with her family in 2013. She began child care there with past faculty member Frances Whalen, as rezoning came to a close and construction commenced. As the school prepared for combining both locations under one roof in Spring 2015, the faculty and staff continued to grow and came to include Abbie Broughton (lead teacher), Rachel Brown (early childhood assistant teacher), Alicia Collins (chef and substitute) and Ann Robertson (assistant chef and substitute).
We are now entering our second fully established school year with 25 children in our care. We work dynamically with the principles and practices of LifeWays, striving to reach a deeper understanding of how to meet each individual child in more finite ways. We continue to have an active community life between board, staff and parent body supporting and guiding the children to develop capacities needed for academic schooling and life.
Rose Rock stands out as a quality of care that has become highly respected and valued by the local and wider communities, and with continued support we make steps towards full expansion to a school of 59 children.