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”).

I believe I am a better parent because I am surrounded by people who know my child and who have been a wonderful source of information, suggestions,and reassurance.
– AUCP parent

Our play-based curriculum promotes:

  • Self-confidence and independence: Our goal is a sense of individual worth for each child. A child who has a positive self-image finds it easy to develop good relationships with others.
  • Physical and muscular development and coordination: We emphasize development of both large and small muscle control.
  • Social development: Our classrooms offer a variety of situations where children can interact with their peers, thereby learning to get along and share in groups.
  • Practical living: Practical life is the recognition of and reaction to everyday responsibilities (e.g., cleaning up at the end of an activity).
  • Cognitive development: Our purpose is to instill in each child the excitement of discovery and the incentive to explore.
  • Outdoor activity: Children spend roughly 30 minutes outside every day, throughout the school year on incredible playground equipment, tending their garden, and exploring the school’s grounds.
  • Free play: Children of all ages have a minimum of 45 minutes of free play time, where they choose their own activities, playmates and interest centers to explore.
  • Enrichment opportunities: Classes employ music, science, and art as ways to enrich the curriculum.

Cooperative Approach

Among area preschools that use a cooperative approach, AUCP is one of the most committed to parent participation. This concept facilitates the extension into the home of the methods and principles operating in the classroom. It allows parents to observe the class, to see their child in a classroom situation, and to see how their child gets along with his/her classmates. This cooperative approach between parents and teachers allows parents to learn from each other and the teaching staff, to gain experience, and to develop a strong parenting network.

Our concept of a participating parent is broader than most cooperative preschools. In addition to responsibility for many custodial duties, cooperating parents are teachers’ aides who are trained to function not as housekeepers but as dynamic, positive leaders in the classroom. The parent is the child’s most important teacher, and the cooperative experience has proven invaluable in improving parents’ relationships with their children.

From the child’s viewpoint, the parents’ participation reinforces the importance of the child’s preschool experience. By enabling parents to participate in the child’s education from the earliest years, the separation between school and home tends to be mitigated. We hope children will experience learning as a flowing process, not as a compartmentalized one. We also hope that parents will continue to remain active in the school systems their children attend in the future.

The AUCP community approach has greatly improved my parenting skills as I can learn from others.
– AUCP parent


At AUCP, staff, teachers, and parents emphasize positive statements in all of our interactions with children. We believe that reminding children what they should do, instead of always scolding them for what they shouldn’t do, is more effective. Here are some common phrases you will often here in the classrooms and hallways and on the playground at AUCP.

AUCPism Notes
Safe choice. When a child is not making a safe choice, such as climbing up the slide, remind him about safe choices. You might say, “Please make a safer choice!”
Gentle hands. Use as a reminder to friends not to hit. You might say, “Use gentle hands.”
Walking feet. Instead of “don’t run.” Often voiced as “Use your walking feet!”
Inside voices. Instead of “please be quiet!” or “shhhh!”
Chairs are for sitting. Instead of “don’t stand on the chairs.”
Use your words. When a child is taking something from another child or is frustrated with another child, encourage your friend to talk about it.
It hurts your friend. Used to explain the effect of a hurtful action on other children. Friends used to refer to a group of children to remind everyone that we are all friends together.
Our children work here. We refer to the child’s activities as work rather than play.
Your choice. You can either wash your hands by yourself or I can help you wash them—it is your choice.
Respect. We respect everyone.
Take turns. Instead of sharing, encourage the child with a toy to give it to the child who wants the toy when he or she is finished playing with the toy.
Clean up / Pack away song. We often use a song to remind our friends to clean up.
Tell me about it. Used when asking a child about his or her artwork.
Science eyes. used when you want your friends to not touch something or if you go for a nature walk and you want them to really concentrate on looking around.
Listening ears. Instead of “be quiet.” Often voiced as “Use your listening ears.”
Hands are for helping. Instead of “don’t push or hit.”
Gentle bodies. Instead of “don’t body slam your friends.”