116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — The owners of Kinderfarm Preschool are searching for a new owner for the business and property to continue a 50-year tradition of offering nature-based preschool.
Kinderfarm Preschool, 5048B Hwy. 6 SE, Iowa City, was established in 1973 as a developmentally appropriate early childhood learning center for children 3 to 6 years old.
Owner Heather Norman purchased the business and property — 20 acres of land — almost 30 years ago from the original owners.
“It is time to pass the reins on to the next generation,” Norman said.
Children who attend Kinderfarm have the opportunity to ride a horse, feed chickens, tend pigs and cultivate a garden.
At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic during the 2020-21 school year, Kinderfarm opened its doors to kindergarten through fourth grade students enrolled in virtual learning to provide them a temporary classroom.
In the afternoons, these children also were able to take part in Kinderfarm activities by learning about farm life.
“Animals are our curriculum,” Norman said. “The boys and girls help take care of them, feed them, and collect the chicken’s eggs.”
The property includes a child care center with an apartment above it and a house.
Norman said this could be a great opportunity for someone with experience with elementary students to expand the business.
Norman will continue to run the business until June 2022.
“It’s time to pass the reins on,” Norman said. “Kinderfarm is not just a business, it’s a lifestyle.”
Norman said what she will miss most are the glorious sunrises and sunsets that can be viewed from the property and the “teachable moments” that happen naturally.
“I’ll miss that,” Norman said. “And kids getting on a horse for the first time or tasting a vegetable straight from the garden.”
Norman is offering to continue working with Kinderfarm to help any new owners get acclimated, she said.
The center is licensed for 39 children.
“Kinderfarm is a unique opportunity for children to learn,” said Diana Helling, who has worked at Kinderfarm as a teacher’s associate for 26 years. “It takes an innovative and passionate person who loves children, nature and exploring to build what Heather has built.
“Over the years it has been so heartwarming to watch the children's delight as they collect eggs, work in the garden, do chores, ride a pony for the first time, and explore the outdoors,” Helling continued. “In a time when so many children are on screens, the experience of seeing newborn kittens, bottle feeding baby lambs, and simply playing outdoors at Kinderfarm is much needed and so important.”
Calvin Medea-Kapp, 13, a graduate of Kinderfarm, recalls amazing experiences on the farm.
“Without Kinderfarm, I wouldn’t be who I am today,” Calvin said. “During my time on the farm I was able to learn how to follow directions, take responsibility for myself and the world around me, and the importance of teamwork, especially to get the chores done.”
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