Our son attended Little Rascals as a Bear Cub and a Pre-K student. The structure, independence, love, guidance, ad excitement that was provided each and every day by Vickie and Dirk allowed our son to grow into a responsible little person. He has a thirst for learning and a craving for adventure that was fueled each and every day at preschool. This is not typical of a preschool and is a unique attribute of Little Rascals - how often do 3-year-olds dissect owl pellets! As he has transitioned to kindergarten, he is exceptionally prepared both academically and socially to handle the daily challenges of a bigger school with more responsibilities.
On top of our son's experience, our family has been positively influenced and touched by Vickie and Dirk. We love the Little Rascals family and are proud to be a part of it. We would highly recommend this amazing preschool for families with children who want to learn, be challenged, engage in adventures and most importantly, HAVE FUN!
Conrad & Lisa Snover
I am writing this letter to wholeheartedly recommend Little Rascals Playskool and Dirk and Vickie Hooser to any parents searching for a preschool. My twin girls have attended Little Rascals for the last two years, and I could not have imagined a better preschool experience.
Vickie’s knowledge about brain development, learning styles and early childhood education is nothing short of amazing, and she incorporates her knowledge into every aspect of the program. Individual differences in both learning style and personality are honored and nurtured, so that every child achieves his or her personal best.
Dirk is a shining light, providing a constant source of love, happiness, humor and laughter. He makes each day a joy for both parent and child. Both Dirk and Vickie shower the kids daily with hugs and words of encouragement and affection.
Because Dirk and Vickie treat each child with respect, the kids learn to treat each other with respect. They are held accountable for their actions and also learn how to stand up for themselves. There are no bullies and there are no victims at Little Rascals.
Learning is all hands-on and experiential, as it should be in any preschool. What makes Little Rascals even more special is the emphasis on the outdoor environment. Dirk and Vickie have a beautiful forested backyard, backing up to greenbelt and hiking trails, with a climbing wall, rope swing, play structure, sandbox and more. The kids spend a significant amount of time outdoors, all year round. Dirk and Vickie utilize their outdoor classroom to the fullest, and share their extensive knowledge of the local environment.
Most impressive, however, has been the kids’ remarkable progress with reading. When I volunteered in my older daughter’s kindergarten class, I learned just how hard it was for many kids to put together 3 letter words. They might know the letter sounds for D, O and G but putting them together into “DOG” is quite a leap. At Little Rascals, nearly every kid can sound out 3 letter words by the end of their pre-K year. My twins are reading their “Bob books” (early readers) every night. They are reading at this level nearly a year earlier than my older daughter, and not because of any difference in intelligence. Vickie just took advantage of the window of opportunity to teach this concept.
Sincerely, Gayle McAmis
~This is a letter we received from Rich Wilkinson - alumni dad of Savannah Wilkinson~
Dear Dirk & Vickie
I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to help with Little Rascals last week. It was delightful, educational, and thoroughly entertaining. You have a great current group of kids. I could see looking forward to working with them everyday. You're blessed people.
I also wanted to thank you for the wonderful job you did with my Savannah. She is an exceptional young lady and I'm humble enough to recognize the huge role you played in her early development. Thank you for sending her home each day not only safe but smarter.
Watching Vickie in action again reinforced what I've long observed - it's not a coincidence that year after year the Distinguished Scholar & Honor Rolls at Alder Creek Middle School are full of Little Rascals Graduates. Thanks for being who you are.
Sincerely yours, Rich
This is a letter we received from Maggie Paxson ~ an Alumni Little Rascal
Dear Vickie & Dirk,
Hey, it's Maggie Paxson! I am so happy to have had you as my preschool teachers! You helped me grow as a person, with many great memories. I am in 8th grade now, at Gateway Middle School, and will be turning 14 in February. I moved to Washington when I was 9, and was homeschooled until 5th grade after we moved. I am writing a letter to you because you were my favorite teachers.
So far, 8th grade has been great! I have all A's, one B. My favorite part of 8th grade has been being a T.A. (teachers assistant) for the "under privileged" students in 7th grade science. Helping them to learn is an amazing feeling that makes my day.
I have so many fun memories from my time at Little Rascals! For example, playing in the snow, going into the woods, being a "chef", and most importantly, just having fun! Let me tell you something, 8th graders need naps just as much as preschoolers do! It feels like just yesterday that I was walking through the doors of Little Rascals.
So, how have you been? Is there anything exciting happening down there? One of my favorite things about you guys is that you always made everything exciting! How are the "Little Rascals"? I really hope that you are all happy and in good health. Do you remember Savannah, Eliza, and me playing together Those were the good days.
Love, Maggie Paxson
I was lucky enough to have stumbled upon Little Rascals two years ago when my son was 3. Although I do not live in Tahoe Donner, I had heard about Little Rascals through good friends who were already attending, as well as friends whose kids were older and had gone through Little Rascals years ago. Vickie and Dirk Hooser are not only outstanding individuals, they are teachers, parents, grandparents and friends. The pre-school program is so much more than a place you drop your children off to and pick them up from. What the children learn is self-confidence, self-respect, respect for their peers and the LOVE for the outdoors. The best part about Little Rascals is their LOVE for the OUTDOORS and the emphasis on outdoor play. They play outdoors come snow or shine and it is what our high energy kids needed each and every single day. The phrase we all use in our adult lives of "working hard and playing hard" applies to Little Rascals and pretty much sums up our experience. They PLAY SO hard during the day and have such a blast they don't want to leave, but they also work really hard as well in a fun environment. All the work is FUN and playful where the children do not even know they are learning b/c they are having so much fun. The proof is in their incredible ability to nurture the growth of each child as they develop differently and miraculously pull them all together to be reading and writing before their kindergarten year. My son barely knew his letters at the beginning of his pre-Kindergarten year, couldn't sit still to do a puzzle or art project and by March Vickie had him linking letters together to make words and my son was actually reading the basic words: cat, dog, sun, fun, etc., etc. It was something I will NEVER forget. He also became excited to do puzzles and art projects - again miraculous for a boy who only cares about things that are round and bounce:) That is LITTLE RASCALS. They nuture each child until they are ready to take the step and then they encourage the growth day in and day out. Both of our kids felt SO proud of their accomplishments and we owe it all to Vickie and Dirk.
We also need to emphasize their ability to understand each and every individual "Rascal." Each child is so wonderful and special in their own way and they have the ability in a small program to embrace and nurture and emphasize the positive in each and every single child who attends Little Rascals. We just cannot say enough about how well they were able to read both of our children and hone in on their positive attributes to make them feel confident, proud and safe under their care. They make them feel safe in their arms and in their home which enabled them both to thrive. Hands down the best pre-school out there!
With Love, Amanda & Woody Woodruff
I honestly feel as though this was divine intervention. We had recently left another preschool in town that did not fit my son’s needs; he is high energy, very creative, and also very strong-willed. He would rather stay outside, no matter the weather, than come in and work on letters and numbers.
Thankfully, this is Dirk and Vickie’s specialty; high energy, creative kids who love the outdoors. Sounds easy, but really is not easy at all. My son has learned conflict resolution skills that he otherwise would not have known. He now attempts to work out conflicts with his peers instead of tattling or getting rewarded for whining. He also is praised for the individual child that he is, and nurtured under Little Rascals care rather than formed into a certain preschool template. I have learned more about my child through Dirk and Vickie’s eyes than I was able to learn on my own.
Activity and play is very high on the curriculum, which is so important to the children that live here in Truckee. I am not sure how they do it, but Little Rascals are well prepared for kindergarten too. My son is reading words and short sentences and recognizing mathematical problems and sequences, all from school.
Many preschools will teach your child, keep them safe, feed them, and send them home with all of their arts and crafts. I cannot emphasize enough how far beyond the norm Dirk and Vickie go. They make an effort to teach to the entire family how to support in helping your child become the best child he is striving to be.
I would highly recommend Little Rascals to any parent seeking an outdoor, adventure-based learning. This preschool is not just a job to Dirk and Vickie, and they take the responsibility of their children very seriously. This is where kids belong; outside, exploring and getting dirty.
Maura Mack (Declan Mack’s mom)
Little Rascals is an amazing preschool program run by Vickie and Dirk Hooser. With my second child graduating, I feel very confident that she will enter elementary school well prepared both academically and socially as did her older brother. However to limit the description of Little Rascals as a fantastic elementary prep program would not do justice to the impact that Vickie and Dirk have had on our family. With two very different children having gone through the program and one more coming, I can now see how their love and wealth of knowledge has brought out the best in each of my children and us as parents. My children constantly astound adults with their wealth of knowledge in all aspects of our world. Recently on a family trip my daughter had an involved discussion about germs with her retired grandpa, which much impressed micro-bacteriologist great grandmother. Five minutes later she went on to explain to grandpa why it would be impossible to grant his request that she stay four forever because we cannot stop our planet from making a complete revolution around the sun and thus having a birthday. All this learned while doing art projects, making extreme snow slides and having adventure hikes in the woods. So needless to say, it has been our great fortune to have been able to attend Little Rascals preschool. I know the early foundation that has been set for our family at Little Rascals will provide a life time of good memories and solid building blocks for whatever my kids decide to pursue in life.
Buff Wendt & Nick Pullen Tahoe Donner
Vickie & Dirk Hooser provide an environment of love, attention & countless years of experience...Little Rascal’s Playskool truly is like none other in this area. The attention that they are able to give to our children is so individual and so personal to the child’s personality & needs. Our son thrived for two years at Little Rascals and he is now such a well-prepared, self-confident & happy boy heading off to kindergarten. Now, our daughter is 3 and so very ready to be a Rascal like her big brother! Take the time to know these special people…they truly do possess the exceptional talents required for such remarkable care.
Betsy & Paul Crandell
Vickie and Dirk,
I know you've heard this before, but it's now our turn to remind you how special you are to so many families. Vickie and Dirk-"isms" have worked their way into our daily lives and most importantly our parenting. Your Zest for life, fun, adventure and knowledge are part of what make you both so special. You have meant the world to our family and have served as such an inspiration to us over the past six years, Wow! Six Years!
Your love and devotion to all of your Little Rascals both past and present make you extraordinary and I know I'm not alone in thanking my lucky stars for you both and for starting my boys off on the right path, a path that started at Little Rascals. We will miss you and are relieved to know this isn't our end as Asher will be a Rascal soon enough !
Big Love, Adrienne, Mark, Jacob, Miles & Asher Durgin
Our daughter Lucy, attended Pre-K at Little Rascals. We moved up from the Bay Area because a spot opened up at the preschool, and it was the best decision ever! She blossomed in Vickie and Dirk's care, learning social skills, self-confidence, and how to navigate the Sierra outdoor environment.
My biggest surprise was that our daughter was a fluent reader in Kindergarten because of the prep work Little Rascals had done with her in preschool. Vickie, Dirk, and all the families we met there became like family.
The Marthalers - Tahoe Donner
Little Rascals Playskool has been a 110% percent positive experience for both my children! Vickie and Dirk offer a rich, active, nurturing and educational preschool program unique to the area, unmatched by none. Both of my children enjoyed the diverse art projects, cultural teachings, and interesting field trips. Most importantly, they love Vickie and Dirk, felt comfortable and safe, which allowed them to interact with the other children and learn to make friends! Little Rascals has been an amazing stepping stone to Kindergarten and has truly played a part in both of my boys happiness and success! Hats off to Vickie and Dirk for all the fun!
With Utmost Gratitude - Jerusha and Jason Hall
We have had two kids go through Little Rascals Playschool, and they both love Vicki and "Dirkie!" What I love as a parent is how the curriculum is set up in such a way that the kids are having so much fun they don't even realize they are learning. We were watching the Tour de France on TV the other day, and my four year old blurted out "...that's the Eiffel Tower in Paris, France!" - just one of the wonderful tidbits of knowledge he picked up at Little Rascals.
Shelly & Jeremy Purdy
My husband and I bought our home in Truckee in 1995. Back then we had no idea how fortunate we were to have chosen this particular home on a quiet street in wooded surroundings with wonderful neighbors. We proceeded to have three children who all attended Little Rascals Preschool, which is located only a few homes away from ours. Our girls experience at Little Rascals was phenomenal. Dirk and Vickie are exceptional teachers and absolutely love their job. When you walk past the school the sounds that come from the backyard are full of joy, happiness and excitement. The students get to explore and play outside every day. My children couldn't wait to go to pre-school in the morning and at the end of the day they didn't want to leave. Dirk & Vickie provide the perfect environment for children to begin their formal education; Little Rascals is a safe, loving, fun, and engaging home for children to learn and thrive.
Mother of 3 Little Rascals Graduates attending 2000-2008
Greetings to all interested in Little Rascals!
Do you have a 3 or 4 year old that is on their way to pre-school? There really is only one place to go..... Little Rascals in Tahoe Donner.
I have 2 kids and we went to see " Dirkie and Vickie" (the owners of Little Rascals) 2x week for 5 years. What a fantastic 5 years! Your kids are so happy that when they arrive at Little Rascals they forget to say good bye to you! Their days consisted of learning and playing in a safe and loving environment. Outside snow play was a favorite for my kids. Dirk snow blows the back yard into a sledding paradise!
Let's talk academics. My children entered kindergarten with no issues at all. They never fell behind or felt any pressure of school. They were more than ready for school and continue to have a love and respect for learning. To this day they are a still getting great report cards!
Honestly I can't imagine putting children anywhere else. Little Rascals is the "happiest place"for kids and it is right here in Truckee. How lucky we are.....not only have Dirk and Vickie taught my kids, they also taught me to be a better parent. Which of course makes me a better person. Love you guys!!! Go Little Rascals!!
Rachel and Crash Davis
My son, Rider attended Little Rascals Playskool for a year and a half before we moved from Truckee. It was during a time when my husband was working out of town during the week. I couldn't have asked for a better outside support system during this period. It was absolutely comforting to know when I was dropping my little boy off for the day, that not only was he going to be kept safe, but also really loved. They completely open their home to you--and always have a personal experience or anecdote to share. It is obvious that they really love what they do and it is apparent to the children as well.
We miss Dirkie, Vickie, Scratchy and Corny!
Karen, Jonathan and Rider McCormick Santa Cruz, CA
Thank you Dirk and Vickie for providing such a wonderful place for our children. We truly appreciate the love and nurturing that you show our kids. As parents, we are so happy to leave our children in the warm, caring and stimulating environment that you create. We couldn't ask for more and now our third child is experiencing your wonderful school!
Erica & Jared Stein
We love Little Rascals Playskool It is by far the best pre-school in Truckee. We love that the children spend so much time outside. All throughout the day the children are learning math, science, reading, and social life skills and they are having so much fun doing it. Dirk and Vickie are the best at what they do. They are highly organized and have perfected their program over the many years they have been doing this. Vickie is continually studying new information on child development and behavior. As a parent I have learned so many positive parenting techniques from her. Dirk is a big teddy bear and I have never seen him sit on the ground without at least one child sitting with him. It is obvious how much the children love him and both he and Vickie love the children as if they were their own family. We feel so fortunate that our children are able to be a part of this very special program.
The Gallagher Family: Seamus, Carolyn, Bella, Kellen and Brennan
To all future Little Rascals,
After many months of searching high and low for the best preschool in the area I was lucky enough to find Little Rascals. Along the way I found out how stressful and time consuming the search can be and quite frankly scary. Sending your child off to school for the first time by themselves with strangers is not easy but I found Dirk and Vickie to be warm, friendly and kind every single day. Gavin had a hard time adjusting at first but at the end of the day I would always ask if he had fun and every day he would say "yes!" I find Dirk to be the warm and friendly teddie bear and Vickie to be the ultimate teacher filled with all the facts. The two of them make a great pair and provide the kids with everything they need. I also appreciate all the outdoor fun and didn't find anywhere else that had so much outdoor hikes, walks, field trips, etc. We live in Tahoe for a reason and that's to be outside and to enjoy nature and that's exactly what Dirk and Vickie provide.
Heather, David, Gavin and Lyla Spear
Our son and daughter have attended Little Rascals pre-school in Tahoe Donner, Truckee, California. Across the board, our experience with LR has been very positive for our children's educational and emotional development and our interaction with Vickie and Dirk. Additionally, we believe strongly that our children were well cared for and in a safe, secure and clean environment.
Based on our experience over these four years, we believe our kids are well prepared to enter Kindergarten from both an educational and emotional perspective. Importantly, not only do we feel like the experience has been a positive one, we hear it loud and clear from our kids who have formed many friendships while at Little Rascals.
One area we believe sets Little Rascals apart is the commitment to teaching and developing children in conjunction with outdoor activities – taking advantage of the unique “backyard” offered at the TD location.
Jill and Shawn Milne