A Cooperative Preschool & Kindergarten


At Playschool, the outdoor environment is the foundation for our play-based, child-centered approach. Our morning classes take place both inside and outside, using our extensive wooded play yard and natural materials as the basis for learning. Children have access to our building and our open-air, semi-permanent structures for shelter.  


Charlestown Playhouse is a non-profit, parent-cooperative preschool that emphasizes learning through child-centered play, the importance of supporting social and emotional development in young children, the beauty and value of nature and a strong sense of community.  At Charlestown Playhouse, we believe that it is through play and active involvement with real materials that children learn best about themselves and their world. Founded in 1936, we are licensed by the Pennsylvania Department of Education as a private academic preschool and kindergarten, and hold a license with the PA Department for Human Services for childcare as well.

Founder's Day

We celebrate Founder's Day in March to honor Miss Betty and her vision for a school that uses play to bring out the best in children and the entire family.

Read Miss Betty's "philosophy" here.

View Our School - Virtual Tour


Support 85 Years of Play

Your contribution helps Playschool continue its mission of play based education for another 85 years!

We are very grateful to announce a generous endowment of $50,000 gifted in honor of Marilou Hyson by her husband John, and their sons Jeff and Dan, on the occasion of her 80th birthday. The fund honors Marilou's distinguished career and the transformational role of Playschool.

At Playschool I learned about my own children, about how to be a better parent, about what’s involved in being a great teacher, about how communities can nurture people, and about the lasting importance of early childhood development and education. - Marilou Hyson



We have been awarded a second round of funding from Schuylkill River Restoration Fund! This will allow us to complete our project. Thank you Aqua PA and SRRF!

The first round of raingarden and drainage installation was completed by Don Pell Gardens in December 2021. An additional drainage trench for the lower parking lot was added in December 2022. The raingardens are growing in well. A parent-led Garden Club began to care for them in the fall, and is excited to see the growth this spring.  The new amphitheater space in the middle will be a sunny gathering space for parents and children. We are looking forward to seeing all the ways we can use and learn from our new raingardens!

This project has been funded in part by AquaPA through the Schuylkill River Restoration Fund and the Delaware River Basin Commission. So many wonderful alumni including the Archie W. and Grace Berry Foundation and Dr. Bradley and Ann Dyer have been strong champions of this project.  We are so grateful for their support.

We would love YOU to be a supporter of this project too!