Sue Daniels

Posted on 27 March 2009

The director of the Rainbow Preschool, which recently moved from the former Methodist Church in Sag Harbor to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the South Fork Meetinghouse on planning a school, the pleasure of four-year-olds and fun with the letter “T”


You’ve gone through a lot of changes in recent years — first moving from Tuller School at Maycroft when the North Haven property was sold and the affiliation with Tuller ended. In fall 2004, you opened the Rainbow School and moved into the Methodist Church. But that building was also sold and in December, moved again, this time to the meetinghouse. How have the staff, students and parents adapted to these changes?

“Wonderfully. The parents are so helpful. We moved the whole school in one afternoon. Parents, students, formers students, board members — everyone helped. Then we had an open house so the kids could come in and see that their favorite dolls, puzzles and blocks are still here.”


Despite the changes, it seems families have stayed loyal to the school by sending younger siblings when the time comes. What is it about the Rainbow School that keeps them coming back?

“We nurture the kids. After 50 plus combined years of teaching, my nursery teacher Donna Cosgrove and I have come to understand the best way to relate to kids. The consistency of Donna in nursery and me in pre-K and having wonderful assistants has continued to reassure the parents. Donna has a fourth child from one family in her class, and this year I have the fifth child of another family.”


How did the collaboration with the UUs come about?

“When we were back at Tuller, the UUs were thinking of building a space and had come to me to perhaps rent space there. But they hadn’t yet built their building so I realized the time frame would not work. Then when I learned the Methodist Church would be sold, I immediately thought of them again knowing they now had a building. It was mutually beneficial for both of us to be there. We love our new spot.”


What do you like about your new location?  

“It’s fresh, clean, bright and cheerful. Because it’s a new building, it’s all state of the art equipment. Parents have said ‘it feels like a school’ with real classrooms and bathrooms at the end of the hall. We also have a really nice playground and it backs right up to the Greenbelt where we can take nature walks.”


Although you always loved taking the children on field trip walks in Sag Harbor Village, it seems there are now new opportunities for outings nearby.

“We have the trails, we like the nearness of SoFo [South Fork Natural History Museum] and CMEE [Children’s Museum of the East End], which are both a short car ride away. Susan Ferrell ,the children’s librarian at John Jermain, comes to us for story time once a month.”


You’ve been teaching preschoolers for 26 years. What do you like most about your job?

“I just love the 4 year olds. They’re so different from each other and yet they’re able to share their ideas. They’re so cooperative at that age, very open and creative. It’s amazing what they can do….and they’re toilet trained!”


What book did you read to the students for story time today?

“It’s ‘T’ week, so we read ‘Little Rabbit’s Loose Tooth.’ We also made Tissue paper letter T’s and Talked about our Train Trip. It was a Terrific day!”


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