Jean Lyle Childrens Center

A nonprofit organization

269 donors

Jean Lyle Children's Center has a 40 year history of nurturing young people and providing them with a meaningful educational experience that will positively affect them throughout their lives.

Our Mission:

At Jean Lyle Children's Center, we provide a safe and nurturing school environment for children three to six years old - to make friends and choices, to take joy in learning to be both independent and cooperative and to learn through play.

In a setting of respect and acceptance, we provide a transition from the family to the larger world. Our stable, experienced staff, in partnership with families, supports each child's stage of development, responds to individual needs, and offers guidance and opportunities for continued growth. 

Our Program:

At Jean Lyle Children's Center, we experience the world of childhood through an emergent curriculum and developmentally appropriate activities located in interest centers throughout the school.  These activities increase their curiosity, creative thinking abilities and confidence. 

Jean Lyle Children's Center is fully licensed by the State of Minnesota Department of Children, Families and Learning.  We are also a preferred site for area colleges and universities for student teachers and educational observation.

Our History:

The JLCC was an outgrowth of the Stella Louise Woods Children's Center & Lab School at Macalester College from 1948-1979 (part of the Education Department and serving the Macalester community).

When the College elected to discontinue funding the Lab School, three members of the Lab School's board, Betty Hills, Rica Van and Maxine Simon, decided to continue its mission and open their own school. They located the site at St. Mary's Church and named the new school in honor of Jean Lyle, the director of the Early Childhood Education Department at Macalaster for 16 years.  It was Jean Lyle who strengthened Macalaster's lab school and based its program on the British infant and preschool system of emergent curriculum.  

Jean Lyle's philosophy still guides these principles on which JLCC was founded.  She explained that a good preschool supplies things which may be difficult to provide at home (a group of children of the child's own age to play with, supervision by professionally qualified adults, and an environment in which furniture and equipment are scaled to the size and age of the child).

Objectives of JLCC:

-to encourage children to respond and communicate with other people

-help each child gain independence and adequacy in routine tasks

-enhance their skills in using and controlling the body

-increase comprehension of ideas and ability to express them

-help each child find and develop his or her own talents

-help each child grow in respect for self and others, including other cultures

-strengthen the transition from home care to school routine for parents and children

-help each child find satisfaction in learning to live with himself/herself and others.

Play is a very important part of this program. Play is the young child's way of reaching out to learn about the world.  In preschool the child finds simple toys and materials and has uninterrupted periods of free play time.

With paints, paper, modeling dough, and blocks the students are encouraged to work out ideas in their own way.  Stories, poems, finger puppet plays, music, science, and puzzles add to the interest of the day.  Part of the child's day is spent in out-of-door play. 

"It is our goal to provide a free and relaxed atmosphere in which the child can have creative and satisfying experiences in this child-sized world." - Jean Lyle

All children of the appropriate ages are welcome at Jean Lyle regardless of race, religion, gender, culture or socio-economic level. 

All JLCC Classes have the goals of nurturing social and emotional development; inspiring creativity and curiosity; providing opportunities for cognitive development and problem solving skills; and learning to initiate ideas, develop and reflect on them.  Children are challenged to develop language and math skills and take risks with beginning writing skills. 

JLCC has a 3-Day Morning Program, a 5-Day Morning Program, a 3-Day Afternoon Program, and 5-Day Kindergarten Program.

Organization Data


Organization name

Jean Lyle Childrens Center

Tax id (EIN)





130 Howell St N
Saint Paul, MN 55104



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