Innovative, “green” preschool planned for Windermere Road


Windermere, Fla. – 03-05-2019 ( — A preschool where children will learn organic gardening and ecological awareness through a Montessori-inspired approach is proposed for Windermere Road, south of Lake Whitney Elementary School, in Windermere. 

The Wondermere Garden Preschool will enroll up to 200 children ages 18 months through 6 years. 

The preschool will offer music, art and language programs rooted in a nurturing environment that emphasizes mindfulness and experiential learning. The teaching methods are inspired by Montessori, Reggio and Piaget philosophies, which blend to ensure each child engages in hands-on learning, reflection and play. 

“I wish when my children were young, they had an option like this, right in our community,” said Ray Coudriet, a longtime Windermere resident who is the developer and builder for the project. “As a small town, we can make a big difference with learning centers like this one.”

The preschool will be built on three acres of the 22-acre property, which is owned by Ocoee-based Certi-Fine Fruit Co. The preschool and its infrastructure—including a retention pond, paved parking, a playground and an organic garden—will sit in front of 16 acres that will be preserved as wetlands. Two acres—one on each side of the preschool—will remain slated for single-family residential of a “rural country estate” style. 

“This site is perfect because we want the kids to be nestled in a natural environment that also is located near the neighborhoods in which they live,” said Bryan Potts, an engineer with Tannath Design, Inc., who has prepared the land and site plan. 

A rendering of the proposed Wondermere Garden Preschool, planned for Windermere Road at McKinnon Road, about a half-mile south of Lake Whitney Elementary School in Windermere. 

During an Orange County Board of Zoning Adjustment meeting this month to consider an application for a special exception to allow the preschool to be built, several nearby residents expressed concerns about noise from the preschool’s playground creating a nuisance for homes across the wetlands. The designers agreed to add a barrier behind the preschool to minimize the noise impact. The design team also committed to working with the county’s transportation department to mitigate traffic impacts. 

The Board voted 6-1 to recommend approval to the full Orange County Board of County Commissioners. If the special exception is approved by commissioners, a complete traffic study will be required before the preschool can operate. 

The team designing and planning for the preschool includes: 

  • Land Owner: Certi-Fine Fruit Co.
  • Land and Site Plan: Bryan Potts, P.E., Tannath Design, Inc.
  • Architect: Terry Irwin
  • Developer and Builder: Ray Coudriet
  • Environmental Consultant: Michael Howe, Howe Ecological, LLC
  • Traffic Planning: Mohammed Abdallah, P.E., PTOE, Traffic & Mobility Consultants, LLC
  • Land Owners’ Representative: Dianna Desboyaux
    For more information, please email [email protected]

Media Contacts:

Company Name: Certi-Fine Fruit Co.
Full Name: Dianna Desboyaux Owners’ Representative
Email Address: Send Email
Website: (407) 920-4601

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