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Loft History

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The Loft School of Marion, Inc. was founded when a small group of parents recognized the need for a cooperative preschool in Marion. With one teacher and a handful of children, Loft began operations in the loft of an old barn on North Front Street in the fall of 1964. Within a couple of years, increasing class size demanded a more established location, and the program eventually moved to our present home at St. Gabriel’s Church. Times have changed over the years, but the foundation of Loft remains the same: dedicated professionals and parents working and playing together with wonderful children in a safe and nurturing environment. The cooperative aspect of the program is still a popular and important introduction to the school experience. The continuum of learning and play that exists throughout our programs will remain an important goal for years to come.


Play is an important part of childhood and children enjoy playing together. When children play they are working at processing information about themselves, other people and the world around them. The goals we have for our program help to guide the play experiences we plan for our students:

  • To provide a warm, caring and safe environment for children and their families

  • To foster the development of a positive self image

  • To provide an introduction to math, science, social studies, language, literacy, and music through a variety of activities and integrated learning experiences

  • To encourage the development of large muscle development and fine muscle coordination

  • To encourage freedom of self-expression through dramatic play and art

When children are given the time and opportunity to explore their surroundings they can more easily make sense of the world around them. When we provide materials that are relevant to their interests, they expand their play into directions most adults' imaginations could not dream of. When we ask them open-ended questions they consider all the possibilities. When we give them choices they feel empowered. When we present an environment full of interesting play opportunities, they are more likely to learn, and retain, important concepts. We know that the preschool years are the foundation of future success both in school and in life. We believe that the experiences children have at Loft contribute greatly towards that success.

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