Loomis preschool celebrates 30 years

Generations of local students pass through Penryn Oaks
By: Steve Archer, Reporter
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Three decades of educating and caring for Loomis-area children…

Penryn Oaks Preschool and Daycare owner Lily Gallagher opened her Loomis preschool after running an Elk Grove preschool for 10 years.

“I wanted to move my children to a more natural setting and I came across this property in Loomis,” Gallagher said. “I said, ‘Oh my gosh, what a magnificent yard for kids.’ And I say it still.”

“The property sits on four acres with natural oak trees, granite croppings, grass and lots of room,” Gallagher added. “This is the land I wanted for my children. I took a gamble and said, ‘I know I can do it.’ It was slow at first but here I am 30 years later. There’s been a waiting list for the preschool for the last five years. I am blessed.”

Penryn Oaks is at 3415 Penryn Road, Loomis.

Gallagher was a substitute kindergarten teacher for a time but wanted more control.

“I’ve always been an entrepreneur at heart,” Gallagher said. “My father was a Russian immigrant and made a success with an antique furniture store. He gave me that spirit. I didn’t like the conformity of public schools.”

Gallagher, also an artist, said it is important for students to have a creative outlet.

“I love art for kids. I just wanted to do it my way,” Gallagher said. “Art, music, movement; I call it the creative curriculum. We have play and structure. I run it like a mini-kindergarten but with more freedom.”

Hours are 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday year round. Gallagher has a large number of students whose parents work.

“It’s not a daycare, it’s a quality program with quality people who have been with me for years,” Gallagher said. “It’s a whole circle of love. I don’t get tired of it and I’m learning all the time.”

Penryn Oaks is a place where children get a break from electronic devices, according to Gallagher.

“There are no computers. That’s something parents can do at home one-on-one,” Gallagher said. “Every Friday, we do a little bit of electronics. The younger years are for playing outside; I don’t see a real need for technology. I believe now that educators realize playing in the dirt is important for kids.”

Former student Emily Knisley, 21, said she loved the outdoor area at the preschool.

“I remember playing on the rocks and there was a huge swing set I loved to play on,” Knisley said. “It had a great, natural open area with lots of room to run around.”

“It was a fun experience for me,” Knisley added. “I went there when I was three to when I was five.”

Also important to Gallagher are field trips and healthy meals.

 Field trips for Penryn Oaks students might be to a local pumpkin patch, the Folsom Zoo, a local apple orchard or Raley’s Supermarket.

“Behind the scenes at Raley’s is a big deal for the kids,” Gallagher said. “Their bakery and meat department go all out.”

 “Another thing we do is hot lunch,” Gallagher added. “I think it’s important; parents are busy. I guess I do it all; I couldn’t live with myself if I didn’t. It needs to be the way I would want it for my children.”

Currently, Penryn Oaks has 50 students.