Philosophy

Our commitment to each child and family in our community:

  • Provide a safe, nurturing, and developmentally appropriate environment.
  • Respect the individual needs of each child.
  • Foster a climate that encourages confidence, compassion, and curiosity.
  • Attract and retain outstanding teachers and staff with competitive wages and a collegial environment.
  • Support and encourage the professional development of teachers and staff.
  • Improve parenting skills through parent education and classroom participation.
  • Build community through active parent involvement in a parent-led cooperative.
  • Use positive statements in problem solving and discipline (e.g., “Please use gentle hands with your friend” instead of “No hitting”).
  • Provide an affordable education through parent participation in school activities, committees, maintenance, and fundraising.
  • Encourage open communication and problem solving between parents, teachers, and staff in the interest of the child.
  • Focus on the process (“How I did it”) versus product (“What I did”).

Curriculum

Originally established with a firm Montessori base, the AUCP curriculum has expanded to include not only those early Montessori roots but also concepts from current child development research and theory. The AUCP curriculum promotes the child’s physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development rather than focusing upon a body of knowledge that the child must acquire. The children are encouraged to express themselves imaginatively and creatively.

AUCP staff pays close attention to the individual – your child is considered a unique person with a unique rate of development.

Educational programs for all ages have specific objectives. At AUCP, our play-based curriculum promotes the following objectives:

  • Self-Confidence and Independence: Our goal is a sense of individual worth for each child. A child with a positive self-image can more easily develop positive relationships with others. When first entering school, children have had only limited experience with non-family members. The preschool experience is the first real thrust into the outside world, and it is important that it be warm, secure, and enjoyable. There should be opportunities to gain confidence, to test abilities, and to learn how to handle new situations. Our task in this area is mainly to help the children by observing as much as possible and by facilitating independence.
  • Physical and Muscular Development and Coordination: Emphasis is placed on development of both large and small muscle control. This helps develop both the body and the mind. Our program includes at least 1/2 hour of vigorous play, usually outside unless the weather is unusually harsh.
  • Social Development: Young children move through a series of adjustments before they can enjoy social contacts outside the home. The classroom offers the child a place where he can begin to learn to get along and share in a group. There are opportunities for the child to work alone, observe, or work with others. The first hour of each day is devoted to free choice, a fundamental part of AUCP’s curriculum. Free choice is “child directed”. The child can choose activities to develop his social self (games, blocks, dress up) or his independence (practical life, use of manipulatives, puzzles, art). This is an opportunity for children to explore and manipulate materials independently. Children learn to choose equipment from the shelves and to return it when finished. Sharing is not required. Teachers and coopers are there to provide guidance rather than direction. The goal of the first hour is to encourage self-motivation, independence, exploration, responsibility toward equipment, and the ability to focus.
  • Cognitive development: Our purpose is to instill in each child the excitement of discovery and the incentive to explore.

To encourage group identification and cooperation, children are expected to participate in group activities (such as circle time, snack, lunch, and going to the playground). These activities are introduced on a limited basis in the younger classes and more extensively in the older classes.

  • Circle Time: provides opportunities for children to participate in a group activity. As opposed to our “child directed” first hour, this teacher directed time is one of the few times that a child is encouraged to respond to a directed group activity.
  • Practical Life: This refers to everyday responsibilities such as putting away work, washing hands, pouring juice, and putting on coats. The tasks increase in number and difficulty as the child matures. Our goal is to provide the child with the tools to develop responsibility.

Our program covers the following areas:

  • Language Arts: Listening, conversation, emergent literacy activities, size, shape, sequence, spatial relationships and color.
  • Mathematics: Numbers, time and space relationships, and measurements.
  • Nature: Physical world, plant and animal life, geography and ecology.
  • Music: Singing, rhythms, action songs, instrumental music.
  • Art: Process-oriented experiences designed to foster creativity.