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About Us


Prospect Cooperative Nursery School

Maplewood, New Jersey

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About Us


Prospect Cooperative Nursery School

Maplewood, New Jersey

About Us

Prospect Co-op is a unique preschool for children between the ages of two and five. Designed for families who wish to share in the early education of their young children, Prospect offers parents the rare opportunity to become an integral part of their child's crucial early learning experience. Here, parents assist in designing and implementing curriculum, share in administrative decision-making, and, above all, are an intrinsic part of the day-to-day classroom experience.

Our school, which is licensed by the State of New Jersey and the Township of Maplewood, provides a safe, warm, nurturing environment for children and parents. Your child begins his or her school years in a secure and positive atmosphere and you are there to see it happen. At the same time, mothers and fathers become part of the Prospect community of parents - a dynamic, caring group of individuals.

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Philosophy


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Philosophy


Philosophy

The first five years of a child's life are the most critical for future development. During this time a child learns about himself and the world around him. A child learns through his play experiences, developing intellectually, socially, physically, and emotionally. Therefore, a child's play experiences are very important.

Recognizing the individuality of each child is at the core of our curriculum. Through the combination of a thoughtfully conceived program and specially-selected classroom materials, our staff seeks to foster each student’s self-esteem, individuality, creativity, social, physical, and cognitive skills through the use of music, movement, art, creative play, and language.

Our students enjoy both structured and unstructured play periods, thus giving children a sense of both order and time, while it allows them the freedom to direct the flow of the learning experience.

 

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Staff


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Staff


Staff

Prospect Co-op is particularly proud of its devoted, dedicated and experienced staff.

Our teachers have many years experience working with young children and strong backgrounds in early childhood education and development. Our staff continues its commitment to early childhood education by taking additional courses and attending local and national seminars and conferences.
 

Dana Cavanaugh is our director and teacher of the 4 year-old classes.  Dana attended the University of Scranton receiving a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication with a minor in Studio Art.  She then earned a Master of Science in curriculum and teaching from Fordham University.  She has many years of experience teaching at both the preschool and elementary levels.

Melanie Sim is the assistant teacher of the M-F afternoon 4 year-old class. Melanie is a graduate of London University in History. She has served on the board of the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee for the Maplewood/South Orange District and the Tuscan School PTA.  Prior to becoming an assistant teacher at Prospect, Melanie served on the board, helped run our lunch bunch program and served as a substitute teacher.

Sara Knutsen is the assistant teacher of the MWF morning 4 year-old class.  Sara has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Education from Colgate University.  She has extensive experience with young children, has been a substitute teacher, tutor, and youth diving coach.  She is also a former Administrator of the Prospect Board.

Janie Ryan is the teacher of the M-Th afternoon 3 and 4 year-old class.  Janie has a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of Delaware.  She then received her Graduate Teacher Certification from Rider University.  Janie taught preschool, elementary and middle school in Princeton, NJ prior to moving to Maplewood.  Janie was a substitute teacher here at Prospect and helped coordinate the lunch program before taking the position of teacher last year. 

Rami Coleman is the teacher of the MWF morning 3 year-old class.  Rami obtained her Bachelors of Arts from Temple University and her Masters in Early Childhood Education from Lesley University.  She is a graduate of the Shady Hill School Teacher's Training Program in Cambridge, Massachusetts. She also taught at the Little Red School House in New York.

Andrea Erickson is the teacher of the T/Th morning 3 year-old class.  Andrea has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science from Lehigh University. She then received a Masters of Arts in Early Childhood Education from Johns Hopkins University. She has several years experience working with children of various ages and taught kindergarten at PS 321 in Park Slope before moving to Maplewood.

Liz Perlman is the assistant teacher of the Tu/Th 3 year-old class and MWF 3 year-old class.  Liz has a Bachelor of Science in International Relations from the University of Bridgeport.  Liz also runs our very popular Lunch Bunch program. She has been very involved at Prospect for many years, previously serving as administrator of our board.

Peggy Fein Tobin is the teacher of the 2 year-old Tu/Th class and director of the popular Prospect Camp. She is a graduate of Ohio University with a Bachelor of Arts in Education and has her Master's Degree in Early Childhood Education from Bank Street College.

Jenny Smith is assistant teacher of the 2 year-old Tu/Th class and the M-Th 3 and 4 year-old class.  Jenny was born and raised in Hong Kong and finished her High School education there at King George the Fifth School. She attended the Fryerning Secretarial College in England and worked in London until moving to America in 1995.  Jenny subbed for many years at Prospect before joining the as a full-time assistant. 

Katie Rumley is the assistant teacher in the 2-year-old class. Katie earned a bachelor's degree in Musical Theater from Buffalo University. She has also managed Prospect's lunch bunch program.

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Parents


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Parents


Parent Involvement

In joining a cooperative school, you have made a major commitment to the positive growth and development of your child. Here you have the unique opportunity to be with your child as exciting learning takes place and to participate in a community of people who are very supportive of the parenting process. At our Co-op, parents and teachers work together to create an environment in which children can discover and appreciate who they are and establish a firm foundation for learning.

In addition to participating in the classroom six or seven times per year, each Prospect parent serves on either the Co-op’s Board of Directors or on the school’s committees. In this way, parents are able to participate in all facets of their child’s preschool, including long-range and curriculum planning, fund raising, social events and maintenance. Most importantly, however, they are able to see first hand their child’s growth and expansion in a loving and secure environment. 

The Parent Support Center was created to assist parents of young children in whatever way possible. Parent workshops, including the STEP Program (Systematic Training for Effective Parenting), are offered throughout the school year. Also, a library for parents is constantly being expanded to assist them in the very important job of parenting preschoolers.