Francesca had a wonderful experience at Allen Creek. She learned to express her feelings in a very positive way. The environment was very nurturing and gave her the confidence to immerse herself in a bigger world. She has an October birthday so the 5 year old program was a perfect fit. She now is a thriving Kindergartener at Emerson School.
- Anna Weller, Allen Creek alumni parent
Allen Creek has been a tremendous resource and collaborator for our early childhood program, The Discovery Center. Our staff have greatly benefited from the trainings and involvement with the Allen Creek staff. Their insight and expertise have given our staff the confidence and validation to meet many of the everyday issues in early childhood education.
- Debbie Belcher, Director, The Discovery Center
We could not be more grateful that we found Allen Creek for our son. The developmental leaps he has made since attending (3s and 4s program) have been astounding. The parent groups and the support from the family consultants are invaluable. We feel so much more confident as parents and are amazed at how well our 4 year-old can express his feelings, work to resolve conflict and act with compassion.
- Becky Winkler and Binod Dhakal, Allen Creek current parents
This is a story about a girl who was “different” – very tiny physically, with a disability and black skin. At first, Harrison didn't know how to relate to her. But things changed and he applied what he learned at Allen Creek and at home. For example, Harrison defended her when kids made fun of her speech. He told a friend at school that she couldn't help that she had a hearing problem. Recently, she was waiting in line at the cafeteria and got sick. She was embarrassed. She went to the nurse’s office. Harrison happened to be in the nurse’s office at that moment (because he lost one of his baby teeth). He walked up to her, looked her in the eyes, and said, “I hope you feel better soon! Sorry you are sick.”
- Wayne and Cheryl Baker, Allen Creek alumni parents
XX My daughter started at Allen Creek this year. I am so grateful for the kind attention to the children and the parents. Decisions are made with conscientious foresight and a clear desire to give the best to the children. I’m happy (and relieved!) my daughter gets to start school in such a gentle way. The classroom is calm and fun and filled with opportunities for the kids to learn, play and express themselves. At the same time, Allen Creek builds community among the parents and supports the parent-child relationship in a real and tangible way. Also, I deeply appreciate the scholarship program that makes it possible for us to participate. Thank you to the creative people who make up this truly unique school!
“We have certainly benefitted from the family consultant program. In addition to the Parent Groups, which offer a wonderful opportunity to connect to other parents and learn from them, the one-on-one time with our family consultant has been really helpful for us. We received invaluable support during a significant transition in our family, and it helped us to insure that we were offering our daughter everything we could to help her with the transition as well.” – Andrea Hill, Allen Creek parent
Our kids, besides developing learning skills, and a solid foundation in academics, learned about their rich emotional lives. They learned how to recognize their feelings, and learned appropriate things to do with their feelings. They practiced empathy and worked on the skills needed to be part of a community. These skills are easiest to learn in childhood and form the foundation of emotionally healthy adulthood.
Our children's teachers were very sophisticated in their understanding of early childhood development. They were incredibly effective in supporting the children in forming a safe, vibrant, emotionally healthy community within the classroom. This is an ideal learning environment.
We loved the twice monthly Wednesday night meetings with the other parents in our child's classroom. Having child development specialists who were observing weekly in our child's classroom present at these parent meetings meant we had a supportive environment for airing our concerns about our kids and sharing our successes.
As parents at the school, you have to be willing to take a chance and examine your parenting style, which most likely came from your parents, and which probably has strong points and weak points. All these ideas are based on the most current understanding of early childhood development, which is profoundly compassionate in its outlook. Allen Creek Preschool is an amazing school and a unique learning environment. It's one of the gems of Ann Arbor.
- Daryl and Cathy Weinert, Allen Creek alumni parents
“The parent meetings at Allen Creek were an unexpected treasure of our family's experience at Allen Creek. They offered us the opportunity to step back and reflect on how our children were developing, and to share the joys and struggles of each new phase of their development with other parents. Collectively, the four years we spent at Allen Creek parent meetings helped us to approach our parenting with an intentionality that continues to influence our parenting today. We are grateful to the family consultants who provided the structure and appropriate insight at these meetings. Their presence and comments continually strengthened our understanding of our children both as individuals and as members of a school and the greater community.”
– Karen and Mike Thomas
“The Parent Group Wednesday night meetings have been invaluable to our family. They have helped me become a better parent and a better listener, as well as more patient with everyone. I have received guidance from the Family Consultants that I wouldn't have sought out otherwise. Maybe even more importantly, the support between parents during the meetings inspires me and reminds me that my 4 year old isn't the only one going through a certain stage. We draw strength from each other and learn from each other’s experiences. I am so thankful for this program!” – Sara Robins
“It seems like we are always going through some sort of change in our family, whether it be sibling dynamics, kids learning new skills, growth spurts (mental, physical, or emotional), changing jobs, a new baby brother on the way, holidays & extended family visits--just to name a few. I'm so glad I've had the opportunity to bring my issues to the meetings and really feel heard. I find it important not only to be able to bounce ideas off other parents with kids at similar stages, but also to receive feedback from the psychoanalytic perspective of the family consultants. One meeting that stands out was when someone brought up the topic of “helping my kids move towards independence in self-care (toileting, showering/bathing, dressing, etc.).” All of the parents had been dealing with this on some level, and the discussion was lively. I gained useful tips from other parents, and I was able to share some of the things that had been working for us, like buying our daughter an alarm clock so she could be in charge of waking up in the mornings. The family consultants went a bit deeper into the subject, saying that the more self-care responsibility the child takes on, the more willing and motivated they are to take care of their surroundings, such as cleaning up toys and their room. This has certainly been true with our daughter, and it was very interesting to understand the correlation since it’s not something I would have put together on my own. These meetings provide me with a sense of empowerment and a renewed excitement for trying fresh parenting approaches. And it's a great way to build a deeper connection with the parents of my child's classmates!”
– Amy McKenna
“I think of the many Wednesday evenings when I felt understood in my struggles as a parent. The things I learned in these Wednesday evenings I brought home to my children. I felt resourceful and compassionate towards them (and towards myself).”– Cathy Weinert
“My teaching experience at Allen Creek has been greatly enhanced by the valuable information the family consultants share about the inner world of children. Their refreshing and informed perspective has improved my understanding of, and my interactions with children and their parents. As an added bonus their insights have helped me become a better parent to my two teen aged sons.” – Michelle Graves, Allen Creek Teacher since 2002. "The family consultants have enriched my teaching life immeasurably. Their years of experience in child development have informed every aspect of my role. I am inspired, affirmed, guided and encouraged as a teacher and as a human being deeply involved in the creative process. Feedback is generous, immediate and compelling. The in-services both intrigue and educate. Our Friday meetings provide an open forum where the needs of the children and their families take a place of prominence and our voices are all heard and acknowledged. The unique environment at Allen Creek is all that I could wish for as a teacher." – Lesley Criscenti, Allen Creek Creative Arts Teacher since 2007.