In Route One Fun’s latest Spotlight, local parent Emily Pyenson puts College Park’s University Church Nursery School (UCNS) on our radar, giving us the inside scoop on this half-day preschool program for children ages two to four. As a parent with a child currently in UCNS’s program (and as a beloved teacher at the school), Emily knows a thing or two about UCNS. Read on for the inside scoop just for Route One Fun readers!
And if you’re new to Route One Fun – Welcome! Route One Fun’s Spotlight on Schools series is where local parents share their insight on local schools (including preschools, daycare, public schools and private schools) in the Route 1 communities of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
University Church Nursery School (UCNS)
Q & A with Emily Pyenson, current parent and UCNS teacher
I started out at UCNS as a parent when my oldest son (now 10) was 3 years old. He had a fabulous experience and I knew that I wanted to send my daughter to the school as soon as she was old enough (she started at 2 years old).
We have been so happy with the community and the classroom experience for our kids so when a teaching position opened up at the school, I jumped at the chance to join the teaching staff. Now both my daughter and I spend our days at UCNS and we couldn’t be happier. We feel lucky to have found a supportive community that is truly child-centered. My kids, who have completely different personalities, were both welcomed and guided to bloom in their own ways.
The curriculum is play-based and hands-on, so kids get all the opportunities to learn through play that they need. At the same time, the staff expertly guide the kids in developing important pre-academic and social skills that will serve them well in kindergarten and beyond.
Community at UCNS
Parents are welcomed into all of the classrooms at the school for social events, as guest readers and presenters and for spring picnics. Parents often volunteer in various capacities but there is no requirement to co-op or volunteer – which is a relief for busy parents!
Teachers at UCNS
As a parent, I was amazed by the caring, welcoming teachers. They truly saw and understood my kids and helped them become their best selves during the critical developmental period of preschool. Now that I am a teacher, I am in awe of my colleagues who care deeply, plan thoughtfully, and support unconditionally. We all consider it a privilege to care for and learn from your little ones.
Outdoor Play, Enrichment and More
We also have a variety of visiting special teachers, including Sara Nelkin of Impulse City who leads storytelling and acting activities, Farmer Sharon who brings animals from her farm and teaches us about the natural world once a month, and more.
Play is Profound
I love that UCNS uses a play-based curriculum that is grounded in what is most meaningful and important to kids in this age group. We weave in pre-academic activities for our older preschool groups; this helps put them on a path of loving school and loving to learn, but we know that play is the way kids of this age group make sense of their world, build social skills and practice being part of a community. Play is profound!
More About UCNS Preschool, College Park
4 year olds: T/W/Th/F
As part of the Spotlight on Schools series, we ask parent authors to make themselves available to readers who may have some questions about the school. Emily Pyenson graciously agreed to do so and can be reached at: epyenson at gmail dot com
UCNS is located at 3621 Campus Drive, College Park, MD 20740
Visit the school’s website at: http://www.ucnskids.org/
More Spotlight on Schools
Curiosity piqued? Check out our full Spotlight on Schools series to read what local parents are saying about local schools (including preschools, daycare, public schools and private schools) near the Route 1 corridor of Prince George’s County, Maryland.
- Hyattsville Elementary School
- Greenbelt Elementary School
- Dora Kennedy French Immersion School
- University Park Elementary School
- Riverdale Elementary School
- Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School
- Robert Goddard Montessori School
- Mt. Rainier Elementary School
- Holy Redeemer School
- College Park Nursery School
- Greenbelt Nursery School
Interested in sharing a little bit about your local Prince George’s County school?
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