Who We Are

Teacher with studentCommunity Nursery School is a state-licensed preschool offering non-denominational classes, 2 or 4 sessions per week. It does not offer a Day Care program or provide transportation. CNS is open to children ages 3-5 and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, national origin, sex, political persuasion, handicap, or ancestry.

CNS is a nonprofit organization, governed by a Board of Directors, composed of volunteer parents. We provide 4K (4-5 year olds) instruction as a Community Partner of the Appleton Area School District.

It is our intent to provide your child with a warm, positive, "first school" experience. We want him or her to form a positive self-image, learn how to get along with others, and be exposed to many new and varied experiences.

There are two 3K (3-4 year olds) classes offered. One meeting Monday and Wednesday mornings and another meeting Tuesday and Thursday mornings. The classes meet for 2 hours and 30 minutes twice a week. Children must be three on or before September 1st of that school year. The maximum class size is 14 students and is taught by one teacher and an aide.

There are two 4K (4-5 year olds) classes offered. One class meeting in the morning and another meeting in the afternoon. The classes meet for 3 hours 10 minutes, Monday through Thursday. Children must be four on or before September 1st of that school year. The maximum class size is 17 students and is taught by one teacher and an aide.

Staff Bios

**All teachers meet WI Department of Health and Family Services licensing requirements and complete at least 20 hours of continuing education per year. Our staff is also certified in First Aid and Infant/Child CPR.

3K Teacher
Carrie Schuh has been the 3K (3-4 year olds) head teacher since 1997. Mrs. Schuh is the mother of three active children who have grown up way too fast. Her children started their educational journey at CNS and are now in middle school, high school and college. Mrs. Schuh spends her time away from CNS volunteering various places and keeping up with her family’s busy lifestyle. Her education background includes attending UW-River Falls majoring in Education and Psychology and Early Childhood courses at UW-Oshkosh. She encourages all children to feel comfortable and excited about learning and playing with their new friends at CNS.

CNS 3K Teacher's Aide (Morning Class)
Katie Loken has been a member of the CNS school board since 2013, when her oldest child started here. Now that the youngest of her three children is starting his elementary school journey, Mrs. Loken is thrilled to be the aide for both 3K classes. She has a Master of Physical Therapy degree from Marquette University but is a teacher at heart. Mrs. Loken loves to explore the world through the eyes of little ones, and is excited to help our new friends play, learn, and grow throughout the year.

4K Teacher
Amy Dugan has been the 4K (4-5 year olds) head teacher since 2010. She is a St. Norbert College graduate with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary and Early Childhood education with an emphasis in Adaptive Education (PK-9). Mrs. Dugan is the mother of three children and enjoys volunteering in their classrooms and cheering them on in their many activities. Mrs. Dugan is devoted to truly getting to know each student, and strives to create a warm and inviting classroom where children love to learn.

CNS 4K Teacher's Aide (Morning Class)
Jodi Hurley is the aide for the afternoon 4K classroom. She is the mother of three boys- all former or current CNS students. She has a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Language Arts from UW-Eau Claire. Mrs. Hurley is an active volunteer at her children’s school and loves supporting her boys is their various activities outside the classroom as well. She is dedicated to providing an environment where each little one feels special, cared for, and truly happy to be at CNS.

CNS 4K Teacher's Aide (Afternoon Class)
Leah Mineau is the aide for the morning 4K classroom. She has three children, ranging in age from elementary to middle school, who keep her busy with school and extra-curricular activities. Her youngest is a proud graduate of CNS. Mrs. Mineau is a former first grade teacher and received her elementary education degree from the University of Wisconsin Madison. She is thrilled to be working in 4K at CNS and strives to provide a caring, nurturing classroom where all children feel loved and valued.

**We all strongly believe in the philosophy of our school. To quote Fred Rogers, "Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is the real work of childhood."


"We were searching for the perfect preschool for our first child. We loved that Community Nursery School had a consistent, experienced and loving teaching staff. We liked the small class size and fact that our son would have the same classmates each day. Most of all, we appreciated the love and care our child felt, from the very first day. Now, nearly ten years later, all five of our children have been so fortunate to have been part of this simply outstanding program. We feel they've had a great foundation for starting school, especially the emotional and social development. As two pediatricians, we are convinced it is social and emotional nurturing that is most important during these years. We can't say enough how much we cherish the special care each child (and family) receives at Community Nursery School. We recommend it without hesitation."

Jill Edwards, MD and John Edwards MD, Appleton WI

"Community Nursery School has truly been a gift to our family. Our daughter began her time in nursery school feeling very shy and unsure of herself. Through her teacher’s kindness and gentle approach, she gradually began engaging more and more. After some time at CNS the teachers noted how much she enjoyed music and singing and tried to incorporate more into the program. They really took the time to get to know her and understand the most effective way to help her learn and be involved. She feels so much more confident now, my hesitancies about her transitioning onto to kindergarten have truly been minimized by how much she's grown in social confidence during her two years there. The play-based learning format of the program truly helped facilitate her progress too. She is a confident learner with a strong skill base. We owe a debt of gratitude to the wonderful staff at Community Nursery School. Thank you very much!"

Nancy Van Der Loop
Mom of Four/AASD School Psychologist

"When I decided to enroll my first child in preschool, I investigated many preschool programs. I believe young children learn best through play, and many preschool programs in our area focused on academics. I was searching for a program that focused on a young child's need to socialize and play while learning in the process. I found it at Community Nursery School. The moment I stepped into the classroom and met Mrs. Schuh and Mrs. Troy, I new this was the perfect place for my child; a true play-based preschool. The curriculum is based on a theme each week. The children work on letters, colors, numbers, fine/gross motor and social skills all while playing. It is very social based, but not like a free-for-all. They have centers, art projects, circle time, sharing, music and movement and more. My son loved it as well, and begs to visit now that he is in Kindergarten and his sister is in the three year old class at Community Nursery School. My family is so pleased with Community Nursery School, I have joined the Board, and plan to remain a member as long as I have preschoolers in the program."

Christine deBoer

"We are so pleased with our decision to send our two boys to Community Nursery School. CNS offered the perfect blend of socialization and creative exploration amidst a very caring, nurturing environment. We have extremely fond memories of our years as part of the CNS family, and will be forever grateful to the special teachers there for all they have done for our children. CNS will always be near and dear to our hearts!"

Curt and Jean Detjen

"It was fun! They had really good toys there, and the teachers were nice. I liked going there."

Eric Detjen, 3rd Grade
CNS Graduate

"I visited a diverse selection of preschools in the Appleton area when looking for a school for my daughter. I was struggling to make a decision until I visited CNS and met the warm, dedicated and highly-qualified teachers on their staff. CNS has been everything that I had hoped for and expected and more for my daughter's first-school experience. The staff and curriculum foster a play-based approach that supports children's creativity and their natural curiosity about the world around them. They do an excellent job of building up the children's self-esteem and giving them the tools to handle a wide variety of social situations. CNS is an excellent preschool choice for any child, no matter their strengths or background knowledge."

Meghan Brzozowski
Former AASD 4th Grade Teacher

"As an educator, I hold high expectations for anyone interacting with my children. From the first day I stepped foot into the classroom at Community Nursery School, I knew that it was the preschool for our family. It truly is a family of parents, children, and teachers working together for the emotional, social, physical, and intellectual growth of the students. The teachers have such a nurturing way of interacting with the students it's as if the children were their own. All three of my children have grown immensely through the "play-based" program that CNS provides. I would highly recommend CNS to anyone searching for the perfect preschool."

Krista DeRidder

"I like Community Nursery School because I made tons of new friends. The teachers are wonderful! They do awesome projects like "It Looked Like Spilt Milk". I even played a real violin! I would choose CNS out of all the other preschools."

Maria DeRidder
Fourth Grader and former CNS student

"Community Nursery School (or CNS) is a wonderful place for children to get on the road through education. The boys and girls who go there look forward to creative activities planned, as well as the chance to learn new and interesting things."

Sophia Angst
6th Grader and CNS Graduate