Matthew 19:14 (NIV)

Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”

Four members of the Village Presbyterian Church of Rancho Santa Fe opened the Village Church Preschool on January 29, 1962 with 14 children. These 4 moms wanted to create a safe, nurturing place for their young preschool age children to play. Little did they know that the little preschool would grow to educate thousands of children and become a pillar in the RSF community and beyond!

Bella Coughlin was the first director to open the doors on January 29, 1962 with 14 children. Two years later Eleanor Heltzel became the director. After completing 8 years as the director, Mrs. Heltzel opened an on-campus lab school at Palomar College.

Carol Doughty, a teacher here at the time, was hired as director in February 1972. Over Carol’s appointment as the director, the school grew in leaps and bounds expanding to 180-230 children enrolled per year. As enrollment increased more classrooms were added including one classroom in the lower building for a total of 5 classrooms. In 1980 afternoon classes were added so the schedule was 8:30-11:30am and 12-3pm, with extended day on either end of the day. With very few nursery schools in the area the classes were full with a long waiting list.

In 1974 a new state of the art playground was built, sending the children into “playground heaven”! Large climbing structures, slides, trees to climb, large sand and water area, long bike path and lots of space to run. For many children their playground memories would follow them for life! For many “it was the best part of nursery school”!

In 1990 we began accepting children with special needs. So began our incredible journey of learning so much about making accommodations so all children would have the opportunity to engage in this rich learning environment. This has truly been one of our greatest achievements!

In 1994 the lower building was remodeled to house the nursery school. At this time Sandy Murphy revived our Parent/Toddler Program which has been one of our most popular programs ever since!

During the early 1990’s the Reinhardt family helped establish an endowment fund for the school. This fund has helped provide classrooms with new furniture and equipment as well as necessary supplies needed over the years. One can still donate to this fund by contacting the Rancho Santa Fe Community Foundation.

Our families come from all up and down the coast, inland as well as local. They have brought diversity as they move into the North County area from all parts of the U.S. and countries of the world looking for the best beginnings for their child. We now have former students returning as parents bringing the next generation to experience the “Village” at its best!

The teachers at the “Village” have been a consistent source of education, expertise, love and encouragement. Several teachers have been teaching here for 26-32 years and have formed life long friendships. All are highly educated in early childhood education and continue to gain information in this field. We are a close knit family committed and dedicated to providing the best possible preschool program! It is our life’s work!

Carol Doughty, the third director of VCP and brilliant visionary, brought the nursery school into the 21st century. In early 2000 the school began its journey to explore the Reggio Emilia approach to learning. This exploration brought depth and innovative meaning to new levels for both the children and teachers. In 2004 Carol retired after 32 years of caring for this school; nurturing families, children and staff. Pamela Miller, a long time teacher at the “Village”, was hired officially as the director in 2005.

We... continue to build a community of learners!

Our new playground was built in 2009 as the 1st phase of the building project of the Village Church. Today there is a new sanctuary and administration building as well as a newly remodeled “Kids Village”.

In our commitment to meet families where they are we realized the term “Nursery School” no longer carried the same meaning as it did in 1962. The new term “Preschool” was now universal to mean school for children ages 2-5 years. Accordingly, in anticipation of the celebration of our 50th birthday in 2012, the school name has been changed to “Village Church Preschool”.

Many teachers have been teaching at VCP for over 25+ years and are now seeing the next generation come through the school. Alumni have attended many different colleges and universities across the nation and world pursing numerous fields of study. Asked what their favorite memories are…friends, teachers and of course the playground.

Today the Village Church Preschool offers a high quality dynamic early childhood education program designed for the “Whole Child”; emphasizing the development of essential cognitive, social, emotional, physical and spiritual foundations. Our endeavor is to create and foster independent, critical and creative thinkers and problem solvers. We are exceptional at providing a well “balanced curriculum” where a child has the right amount of structure as well as abundant opportunity to explore, discover and engage in the world around them.

So, as we carry on our dedication and commitment to provide the best possible early childhood education, we embrace a new generation of families and children and continue to build a community of learners.

Contact Info

Village Church Preschool
6225 Paseo Delicias
PO Box 704
Rancho Santa Fe, CA  92067
Phone: (858) 756-2394
License #372000619
Tax ID # 95-6006164

Preschool Information

  • The Village Church Preschool is a program of the Village Community Presbyterian Church and is licensed by the state of California.
  • Our Preschool is operated on a non discriminatory basis: equal treatment and access to services without regard to race, color, religion, national origin or ancestry.
  • We believe as Christians in the worth of every individual and accept each child as he/she is.