Founded in 1967 as Charlottesville's first parent-run cooperative preschool, as well as the City's first integrated preschool, Molly Michie Preschool is committed to supporting the natural and wondrous development of each child. We strive to bring together families from all backgrounds in a nurturing, play-based environment, where children and parents learn together with guidance from professional teachers. We seek to create a community in which our children grow and flourish as individuals and friends, learning to trust themselves and the people who care for them, as we support one another, share our gifts and honor our differences.
Community. Our school builds a true community of parents and children who are in similar life stages. Many best-friends get their start here - both kids and parents.
Transition. The parental participation required by our co-op makes the transition to the classroom easier on your child and ensures you are actively involved in what they are experiencing and how their social skills are developing. Many co-op parents stay involved in their children's education after Molly Michie. We've sprouted many PTA officers.
Parenting. Parents pick up new communication tools from our professional teachers, as well as from other parents, as we assist in the classroom and observe experienced caregivers at work. We've found these tools lead to more connection and fewer tantrums at home.
Affordability. Tuition is lower than other non-religious preschools because parents serve as both school administrators and assistants to the teacher. Scholarships help out even more.
Our teachers plan developmentally appropriate routines and experiences to support the social/emotional, physical, cognitive, and language development of the children in our program. When you visit MMP's classrooms, you see children playing. You may wonder what we are doing to help children learn. As children play, we watch how they use materials. We talk with them to find out what they are thinking and trying to do. We help the children become aware of their actions and offer suggestions. Then we challenge them to think further. This is how we encourage the development of skills at a rate and in a manner appropriate for each individual child. We also seek to create a classroom community that promotes positive relationships and where the children make friends and learn social problem-solving skills.
CATERPILLAR CLASS (Age 2.25 to 4)
Our two and three year olds in the Caterpillar Class are engaged in playing with toys, imitating and pretending, enjoying stories and books, connecting with music and movement, creating with art, tasting and preparing food, exploring wet and dry materials, and playing outdoors. Children are supported as they begin to master the skills of separation from their primary caregivers and participation with other members of a peer group. We work to establish a daily routine including choice time, circle time, snack time, and outdoor time for the children. We also begin to incorporate some elements from the Butterfly Class so that the transition between classes is smooth, and skills are supported and extended from one year to the next.
BUTTERFLY CLASS (Age 4 to 6)
Our four and five year olds in the Butterfly Class are busy learning and growing in many ways as they prepare for Kindergarten! Maintaining a similar daily routine to the Caterpillar Class, children will work with increasingly complex materials that promote learning and motor skills, listening to and reading a wide variety of texts, creating rich and unique dramatic play scenarios, building with small and large blocks, designing and creating works of literature and art, exploring the natural world, dancing, singing, discovering relationships, traveling to interesting places, and cooking tasty and healthy foods. Materials available in the classroom are always evolving as the children's interests and the units of study change. Children are supported as they grow socially and emotionally, learning to solve their own problems and establish lasting friendships. As they become increasingly ready for elementary school, the Butterflies enjoy and value reading, demonstrate knowledge of the alphabet, understand the purpose of writing, and are encouraged to write letters and words on their own.
Our teachers and co-opping parents/grandparents/guardians strive to use positive discipline at school. Generally, the positive discipline approach eliminates punishments and rewards (external locus of control) while providing many alternative communication tools that teach kids skills for self-discipline, responsibility, resiliency, and problem-solving (inner locus of control) in a climate of caring based on connection before correction, as well as kindness, firmness, dignity, and respect. Here are a few examples of what this looks like at school:
We aim to phrase directions positively, as in “Keep the sand in the sandbox,” rather than “Don’t throw sand.”
We honor the feeling/impulse and set the limit (e.g., “I see you are feeling angry, but I will not let you hit your friend”).
We strive to prevent most behavior escalations with consistent attention to the child from a calm adult.
We use conflict resolution: 1) observe the situation; 2) calmly intervene by sportscasting (unemotionally stating what you observed) or having older kids tell you the “what” and “why” of their conflict; 3) suggest options for solutions or ask older kids to come up with solutions; 4) monitor the agreed upon solution, and repeat as necessary.
We stop harmful behaviors by getting on the children’s level and preventing further harm. We acknowledge the feelings of both children - without shame - and suggest ways the child who made the mistake can help the hurt child feel better; we model but do not force apologies.