Family Preschool's mission statement says it all: “How children feel about and see themselves is the basis upon which they build all other relationships and take on the tasks of childhood. Family Preschool (FPS) is committed to offering a preschool experience that builds a child's self-confidence and independence, thus enhancing self-esteem. Our program recognizes the individual differences in needs and development among children. Through a carefully structured and flexible environment, the program encourages the unique social, emotional, physical and intellectual development of each child.”
the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) and is a member of Parent Cooperative Preschool International. In 2007 Family Preschool moved from their previous church location to the Eno River Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (ERUUF) campus. (While the school has always been located in church facilities, it is non-sectarian and retains autonomy over curriculum choices and their approach to education.) The campus is a combination of rooms for the different ages, who engage with their peers but also have chances to play and learn with other ages.
The children are separated into several classes, lovingly renamed each year after animals and bugs that kids adore. The classes are gender-balanced to ensure a proper amount of socialization, behavioral growth, and peer modeling. The FPS school day is from 9am - Noon for ages 2-5. The school year runs from September through May, with many opportunities for socialization throughout the summer months.
Family Preschool is a true community for the 21st century, connecting families and forging lasting friendships and support networks.
* Children bond with not only their parents but caring adults working alongside them in the classroom.
* Parents get a special chance to observe and interact with their child and their peers during the school day. This was invaluable to me, to get to see my child at play, learning and growing, and to be part of that experience.
* Parents can see firsthand their children’s daily growth and development at school.
* Co-ops are able to have a low adult-to-child ratio.
* Parents get opportunities to learn valuable parenting techniques firsthand from experienced teachers.
What are the responsibilities of a co-op?
* Parents assist in the classroom as a Helping Parent 1 to 2 times a month
* Each family works on an ongoing co-op project
* Participation in work days for school maintenance and cleaning
* Assisting with and contributing to fundraising events
The Parents Morning Out "Duckling" program for one year olds is a one, two, or three day option for the youngest set. The littlest ones should be 1 year old by the start of the year but not yet 2 years old. Only six children are enrolled for each day, and the ratio is 1:3, as the FPS teacher is present, but also a parent co-op volunteer. The low ratios and individualized attention is something hard to find in larger schools, speaking from personal experience as my kids have been in former schools where they disappeared into large groups.
The program gets even more fun for 2 year olds in the "Treefrog" program, just as they’re exploring their independence. One group of 8 children meet on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays (3-day program), and a separate group of 8 children on Tuesdays and Thursdays (2-day program). Each group has the same teacher, who is assisted each day by a helping parent, making the ratio 1:4.
FPS is very proud of the unique theme-based curriculums that the 1 and 2 year old classes follow. "Family Preschool follows the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s (NAEYC) recommendations for curriculum, which supports an approach to learning based on the constructivist theories of Piaget and Vygotsky. In this model, teachers plan activities designed to promote children’s reasoning and problem solving skills. The children are also encouraged to design their own activities where the teachers are active participants."
- Teachers establish what children already know about a topic and the children share their experiences through personal narratives. During this time, children’s questions and wonderings are recorded.
- The class investigates the topic using books, art projects, manipulatives, experiments, guest experts, and field work. Throughout the project, children and teachers record observations, collect data, and represent what they learn by posting it in the classroom.
- Teachers and students prepare for a culminating event during which the children become experts and share with others what they have learned. This usually involves guiding parents on a classroom tour of their project work, performing a song or play for a parent audience, and/or inviting parents to a project-related community event."
FPS is currently accepting applications for the 2018-19 school year. Applications should be submitted electronically here (where you can also find additional information on the lottery).
Where they are:
Phone: 919.402 .1500
Family Preschool, 4907 Garrett Rd, Durham, NC 27707
You can find out the latest happenings at FPS on their facebook page here.
We truly treasured our time there, in the early years that are gone before you know it.
Please stop by for a tour to meet the amazing teachers
and see firsthand the learning and growing that they foster in this special place.