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Friday, April 12, 2013

Local Love: Spotlight on a Perfectly Playful Education, the South County Preschool Co-op

Learning through play has proven to be the simple yet wonderfully successful motto of the South County Preschool Co-op in Davidsonville, Maryland. I have two children that are graduates of the preschool and my twins are current students. To say that this preschool has been a gift for them and for me is a gigantic understatement. It has surpassed my every expectation. I have had the privilege of meeting some of the most inspiring parents that I am honored to call dear friends. We are brought together by our children but more than that we support one another without judgement on this roller coaster ride of parenthood.  I know that I am a better parent because I have these fabulous beings in my corner.

Perhaps the greatest asset to the school are its teachers. Ms. Barbara and Ms. Ann, as they are affectionally referred to by both children and adults, hold over twenty years of experience in the classroom. They provide a rewarding and nurturing without smothering environment where children have room to express themselves and engage in imaginative play, completely unaware of how much learning they are absorbing. But I know. I can see the transformation in my children and their friends in this period of two years that go by just a bit too fast. It is a place where they learn to socialize in a world where that feels like a dying art. Being a child is not only encouraged but celebrated. There is no rush to grow up faster but to be present in the moment, play with homemade playdough, build castles with wooden blocks and paint with every color of the rainbow. No batteries, no computers, no fast forwarding, just being three and four year olds, laughing all the while.

A school of celebration of teacher, parent and child.

Please don't just take my word for it. Watch this incredible (and I personally can not watch without tearing up) video by my friend and co-op alumni, Maggie Peterson. Read the comments below provided by parents, students and alumni. There are openings for the 2013-2014 school year. Please visit for more details.

I like the opportunity to see and be a part of what he is learning and did not want Keon to go to a daycare type setting school . South county has a unique setting that gives my son and others the chance to grow and learn with the parents being apart of that in whatever capacity they choose. -Denise

I liked the books and the teachers the best. -Niko, age 6

I'm so glad my sister-in-law is going to get a taste of what I think is the best part... the moms. Talking with her reminds me how lucky I am to have stumbled onto the Co-Op... instant network of amazing people. -Carrie

I like the playground at my school. -Sophia, age 3
Me too. And the trucks. -Micah, age 3

I couldn't have asked for a better first school experience for my daughter than the fun and enriching one she received from the SCPC. The preschool years are so special and the SCPC allows me to really take an active and fun role in my daughter's first school experience. I'll always cherish the time I've spent with my daughter volunteering in the classroom and going on field trips with her. - Heather

The thing I miss the most about the Co-op is the teachers. -Lucy, age 8

When Cori was younger, everyone asked if my husband and I were going to put her into preschool, but I shied away from the idea.  We only have the one child, and the idea of sending her away from us at such an early age was unappealing.
I was an elementary school teacher for 15 years, so I made sure our daughter got academic training appropriate for her age, and I provided lots of extra-curricular activities like gymnastics and martial arts which allowed her to socialize with other children her age.  However, to be truly well-rounded and thrive, I knew our child would have to play with other children and develop her social skills more frequently and in a more structured environment.
I was depressed at the thought of my daughter being away from home even though I knew she would be much better off for the experience.  I was torn and reluctant to even look at preschools.
Once I did start shopping around, I was either disappointed with the traditional programs I saw or completely dumbfounded by the tuition or both.  I had just about given up the search when an acquaintance mentioned the South County Pre-Kindergarten Co-op.
It was like finding an oasis in the middle of a desert!  Here was a program that combined the two things our daughter required most – socialization in a structured environment and plenty of hands-on time with other children – with the one thing I, myself, needed most – parental involvement.
To know that I would be a vital and welcome part of my child’s preschool program was a huge relief.  The school was founded by mothers just like me who wanted to give their children a strong head start without losing the precious gift of time spent playing and learning together.
Barbara Freeman and Ann Collins certainly do make it seem like play!  There is plenty of academic grooming taking place, but it is cleverly concealed as fun and play.  And they are not only teaching my daughter, they are also teaching me.  I have learned how to be more patient and more creative.  I didn’t know I’d be learning so much right along beside my daughter!
As I write this, I am amazed at how quickly our two years at SCPC have passed.  I’ve had the opportunity to watch my child learn and wade the social waters of childhood, and I have been witness to her personal development.  What a priceless experience!
This August my daughter will attend kindergarten at a public school, and most of her SCPC friends will be attending that same school.  In fact, she and I have both built strong relationships which will last well beyond our last day at SCPC.  You can’t work side by side toward a common goal with other people without bonding.
I am so glad I chose SCPC.  I know it’s not for everyone, but you get out of an experience what you put into it.  I know now that I am ready to let go and watch my child walk into kindergarten without me.  I know now that she can handle herself socially and will be among friends.  I know now I’ll be standing there with another SCPC mother’s shoulder to cry on as we watch our children go…and then we’ll go have a coffee to celebrate! -Donna

1 comment:

  1. I love this Katie!! And of course it made me tear up... imagine that!!!

    It's Laura, by the way... if I can't figure out how comment as me it'll be anonymous! :)