At The Starting Gate Preschool, we aim to give each child that comes through our doors a preschool experience they will never forget and one that they will benefit from long after they’ve gone. We create a safe, fun, and loving atmosphere where children can explore, play, learn, and grow while experiencing the joy that comes from knowing Christ and being known. Our goal is to prepare our students for the school career that lies ahead of them by providing each one with the foundational learning and social skills that will help them to be confident and successful along the way.  We believe that every child is a gift from God, and we’d love your family to be part of our family! 



 The Starting Gate provides education for children ages 2, 3, and 4 years old. We are located outside of Charlottesville, Virginia in Palmyra at 3 & 4 Centre Court near the Rescue Squad at Lake Monticello.

We offer full-day, half-day, part-time, and full-time options beginning at 7:00 AM through 6:00 PM Monday through Friday.

     Our classes follow the same cutoff date of September 30th as the Fluvanna County School System. Students who are 2 by the cutoff date will be enrolled in a Play and Learn classroom. Students who are 3 by the cutoff date will be enrolled in a Preschool classroom. Students who are 4 by the cutoff date will be enrolled in a Pre-K classroom.


Who We Are

Nikki Tardiff

Preschool Director


Nikki is the Preschool Director at The Starting Gate. Her mission is to provide opportunities for children to encounter Christ in a joyful and engaging atmosphere. She aims to pour her love that comes from Christ into the lives of children, encouraging them to truly understand their own value and the precious worth they have in God’s eyes. She joins with children on the journey of discovering and living out God’s unique and creative calling in their own lives.

June Clifford


juneJune Clifford is the pastor of Beautiful Gate Ministries. She has been passionately pursuing the call God placed on her life to serve Him in ministry for over twenty-two years in Fluvanna County and on mission fields around the world. Reverend June purposes to equip and empower others to answer the call God has placed upon their lives and to use the talents and gifts that God has given them in order to recognize and respond to the brokenness in the lives of individuals and families in our local and global community.