Registration for the 2018-2019 school is year is now open! To sign up or for more information, please go to our registration page.
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.
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.
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 was a substitute teacher.
Janine Marks is the Assistant Teacher for the MWF 4s. Janine earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications at Fordham University. After a very successful but too long career in advertising, she has shifted to her dream job of working in a preschool classroom. Janine lives in Maplewood with her husband, two children, two cats and one dog, which sometimes makes the 4s class feel calm. And yes her children also attended Prospect Preschool!
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.
Sara Knutsen is the assistant teacher of the M-Th afternoon 3-4’s. 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.
Katie Rumley is very excited to be teaching the Monday, Wednesday, Friday 3’s class! Katie graduated with a BFA in Music and Theater from the University of Buffalo and is currently completing a CDA from Penn State University. She is also a certified Music Together teacher. Katie is a Maplewood resident whose children both attended Prospect. She has served on various local PTA boards and has acted as a school liaison to the Special Education Parent Advisory Committee.
Lauren Doyle – is the assistant teacher of the MWF 3’s class – Lauren and her husband Chris, moved to Maplewood with their two daughters (Juliet & Stella) in August 2016 from NYC. Lauren graduated from American University with a Bachelor’s degree in Public Communications and, after several years working in Public Relations, decided to get her Masters’s degree in Childhood Education from Hunter.
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 and 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.. 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.
Emily Lawton, is the teacher of the 2’s class - Emily received her Master’s degree in Infant and Parent Development and Early Intervention from Bank Street College in New York City. She has worked in a variety of school and clinical settings with young children and their families. Emily moved to Maplewood 3 years ago from Halifax, Nova Scotia, which – she says - is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Emily enjoys running, reading, writing, traveling and being with babies and young children. She is privileged to be the mom of Ellie (age 10) and Theo (age 6).
Ally Cherins, the assistant teacher of the 2’s class, earned her masters degree in Special Education from Hunter College in NYC. She has worked with infants and children of all abilities in a variety of settings. In addition, she was a Bar Method teacher and completed the Integrative Health Coaching Program at Duke Integrative Medicine. Ally has lived in Maplewood for almost 16 years. She and her husband Jon have three children Maya, 18 (incoming Freshman at University of Wisconsin, Madison), Jesse, 15 (incoming Freshman at Columbia High School) and Sam, 11 (incoming 6th grader at Maplewood Middle School). She also has two fur-babies, Rufus, an eight year old English Mastiff and Zoe, a 4 month old Bernedoodle puppy. She is looking forward to returning to her teaching roots and getting back in the classroom.
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.