Spring is in the Air

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Apr 202016

kaymbu-image1-20160419-0834Spring is here, although some days you can’t tell with this crazy weather!  We’ve already been celebrating the season around here with Holi, which was right before the Spring Equinox.  The kids loved welcoming in Spring by learning about this festival, eating Indian snacks, and of course, tossing bright colors all over sheets, teachers and each other!  We also have tons of other exciting events coming up before the end of the year.

The Wylde Center Earth Day Celebration is April 24th.  The Green Committee will have an OCP table there making biodegradable seed pots.  So make sure to visit from 12:00-4:00.

Pete 5kPete the Cat Days will be the 28th and 29th this month right before our annual 5k.  The kids love hearing their favorite Pete books and racing the track like Pete in “I Love my White Shoes”.  It’s also great hype for our 5k, which is the next day.  This is an awesome morning that brings together all our families and the community for fun and fundraising!  Bring the whole family, one adult to volunteer and one to race or hang with the kids in the kid zone.  Don’t forget to sign your kids up for the Tot Trot!

transportation dayLikely, our most popular event among the students is Transportation Day.  This year it will be held May 11th and 12th.  Everyone brings their favorite mode of transportation (bike, trike or scooter) and their helmet to school that day. Each class gets to enjoy the track all to themselves, among other fun outdoor activities.  Thank you Green Committee for teaming up with us this year to incorporate another Bike/Ride to School that day.

Finally our end of the year Fiesta will be May 14th at OCP.  The Co-op Community puts on great parties!  This year we’ll have an Ambassador from Barefoot Books here for a pop up book fair where you can purchase some of these incredible books, games and puzzles.   You may recognize some of these items in classrooms and around OCP already.  They are beautifully diverse books that compliment our curriculum here at our amazing Co-op!  With your purchases, we’ll be earning free items for our school.  What a wonderful way to celebrate our school year together!

Everything you need to know about the 2016/2017 school year!

 General Information  Comments Off on Everything you need to know about the 2016/2017 school year!
Feb 192016

OCP_QandA_Card_4by6We are currently accepting applications for the 2016/2017 school year. With that in mind, here is a list of Frequently Asked Questions. Email us at admissions@oakhurstcoop.com to set up a tour or with any questions about our school.

Q: How is a cooperative preschool different from a traditional preschool?

A: Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool (OCP) is a non-profit parent cooperative overseen by a board of parent volunteers. The school is operated by the parents and staffed by a director and professional teachers. Co-op members serve on the board of directors and on committees. They make budget decisions, hire staff, and set policies. Members also help out in day-to-day ways. Parents rotate certain daily responsibilities. For example, parent-teachers assist in the classrooms and rotate the responsibility of bringing a daily snack.

Q: Is there more work involved in a cooperative preschool?

A: For parents, the time commitment is significant but not burdensome. Parents report that they enjoy their work within the co-op because they make a meaningful contribution to their child’s education, form lasting friendships with other families and have the opportunity to learn new skills.

Q: What are the responsibilities of each family?

A: Each family is responsible for four things: tuition, serving as a parent-teacher, serving on a committee, and completing three work days per year. The current year’s tuition schedule is located here: http://oakhurstcoop.com/admissions/tuition-schedule. Your parent-teacher days are divided among the other parents in your class; for example, if there are 8 students in your class, you will be the parent-teacher (PT) every 8 class sessions. Our committees run the operations of the school and are listed out here: http://oakhurstcoop.com/co-op/committees. Each committee meets once per month and assigns tasks to each member. Our work days are how we keep our school running. Work day opportunities consist of working booths at neighborhood events, maintaining the grounds, setting up our family events, working a book fair, and volunteering for our annual 5K road race, Beat the Street for Little Feet held in May.

Q: What is the makeup of each class?

A: Each class has a professional teacher, a parent teacher, and a number of students based on the age of the class. Our 2-year old classes have 6-7 students. Our 3-year-old classes have 8 students. Our 4-year-old/Pre-K class has a professional teacher, a professional teacher’s assistant 4 days per week, and parent teachers fill 1-2 days per week. This class has less parental involvement in order to help better prepare our students for their next school experience…kindergarten!  We offer 2-day (Tuesdays and Fridays) and 3-day (Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays) class options for 2 year old applicants.  We offer 3, 4, or 5-day programs for 3- and 4-year old applicants.

Q: What are your hours? Are you a full-day program?

A: Our school hours are 9am-12:45pm. We offer enrichment classes periodically throughout the school year from 12:45 p.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Enrichment classes are open to potty-trained 3- and 4-year-olds.

Q: What is the youngest age you accept?

A: Our youngest 2-year-old class requires students to be age 2 by September 1st.

Q: Where are you located?

A: We are located in the Oakhurst neighborhood in Decatur, GA. Our building is right behind Thankful Baptist Church located on West College Avenue.

Q: What sort of outside play space do you have?

A: We have a lovely play area located adjacent to our school, affectionately known as the Play Garden. It is a fully enclosed space designed by a landscape architect to uphold our core values – a cooperative, green, learning environment. We spend a good amount of time each class day outside (rain or shine!) where the students can ride tricycles, play in the sand area or play house, race around the sidewalk, stroll through our natural garden, or help water their class’s garden plots.

Q: What curriculum do you use?

A: We carefully selected the open and flexible framework of the Creative Curriculum and integrated key elements of other well-known curricula (Reggio-Emilia, Waldorf, Montessori) to create a unique learning experience for young children.

Q: Sounds great! How do I apply?

A: Complete the application (http://oakhurstcoop.com/admissions/new-family-applications) and send in a non-refundable application fee of $75. For a list of our upcoming tours, please visit our admissions page (http://oakhurstcoop.com/admissions/admissions-overview). Email admissions@oakhurstcoop.com with any questions, as we are all very excited to talk about our school!

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool, Part 2: “OCP Kids Then & Now”

 Community, General Information  Comments Off on Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool, Part 2: “OCP Kids Then & Now”
Jan 052016

Following up on Part 1 of this blog, “A Brief History of OCP,” we’d like to introduce a few of the pioneering OCP students from those early days and learn a little bit about their OCP experience and what they are up to today. OCP kids are the best!

Noah in Preschool
Noah was a student at the Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool before it was officially a preschool. At that time, we were meeting in the basement of Laura LeDuc. His father was the teacher and would often bring toys from home to supplement what little we had in the classroom. It was sometimes a little tough on Noah having to share his dad and his toys. His friend Conrad, on the other hand, could not understand why he wasn’t allowed to go upstairs in his own house. It was a tricky time as we all got the preschool thing figured out.

In fall 2005 we moved to Church of the Epiphany, Noah and his classmates had their first real classroom, and Kate Reese became their first official teacher. She was strong, kind, loving, and just what they needed. By this time, the growing body of parent volunteers had collected books, puzzles, toys, and a play kitchen. The Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool was off and running.

When asked what he remembers from preschool, Noah says he mostly remembers friends like Olivia, Aria, Esme, and Ellie. He also recalls his teacher, Ms. Kate, who helped him with so many things. Oddly enough, he also remembers the cardboard bricks.Noah and Daisy

Noah is now a mature and confident 12 year old. He attends grade 6 at the Waldorf School of Atlanta and plays viola in the middle school orchestra. Noah is good at math and plans to study science in high school and college. He loves to play strategy games, spend time with friends, and hang out with his little brother, Eli. He also loves his cat, Daisy, who sometimes feels the need to lick his head.


Aria started at OCP before it was a fully formed cooperative in the late spring of 2005. Class was held at OCP founder Laura LeDuc’s house or at the Wylde Center. Paul McClendon was the teacher, gently guiding them though a morning of songs, stories, and snacks. Aria remembers Paul playing his guitar. Once OCP found a space at Church of the Epiphany in Decatur, and Kate Reese as the teacher, Aria attended the first class of OCP. She attended twice a week, on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Class names had not yet been determined, only that the children were Twos. Aria remembers the pillows in the cozy corner, where she would “read” books. She moved upstairs with Kate the following year, in the Sparrows class, attending twice a week. Occasionally, Aria would also attend on Fridays, since life was busier at home with baby brother Justin. After Aria moved on to pre-K in 2007, Justin attended OCP as a Chickadee the following year, and mom Wendy later taught at OCP for three years, including two as the Owls class tAria_noweacher. The family remained very closely connected to OCP, even when the children weren’t in school there!

Aria’s family moved to Woodinville, WA, in the summer of 2014. Aria is in the 7th grade now, and attends Leota Junior High. She loves everything about school, especially science. New to her this year include playing clarinet in Cadet Band and participating in Drama. Outside of school, she practices capoeira, takes piano, learns coding and electrical engineering, and goes to Chinese language school. In her free time, she likes to read or play with the family’s five chickens, or read while hanging out with the chickens.


Stephen & William
Our family joined OCP in 2005, just as older brother Stephen turned one.  Stephen was not even walking when he started at OCP! He was part of the only Ones class in OCP’s history, known as the “Farm Team.”  Stephen was at OCP for four years – in addition to being a member of the “Farm Team”, he was a Chickadee, a Wren, and a Lark. His brother William joined OCP in October 2008, on the day he turned two. William couldn’t wait to be a part of the Chickadees class that year, and director Betty Wood lovingly called him “happy feet” from the moment he could walk with his brother into the building! William was at OCP for three years, as a Chickadee, a Wren, and an Owl.

Stephen&William2015Today Stephen is 11 years old and in the 5th grade at F.AVE, and William is 9 years old and in the 3rd grade at Oakhurst Elementary. They are in school and in sports with many OCP alumni, and it is incredible to see how much our OCP kids have grown and flourished. Stephen lives and breathes soccer. He also is learning to play the drums, which makes for a loud house sometimes. William plays soccer and lacrosse, and he has taken a liking to the keyboards, definitely a quieter instrument. The boys have always been the best of friends. While they may not remember all the details of their years at OCP, they certainly carry with them the love of old friends and a genuine appreciation for being part of a community. We have OCP to thank for such a wonderful start for Stephen and William and for our family. Happy Birthday OCP!!

Gigi was barely 16-months old when our family joined OCP. She was part of the little Farm Team that met at our family’s house initially and eventually moved to Epiphany. Gigi was tiny but a force to be reckoned with even at that age. She explored everything fearlessly and with abandon. If she had it in mind to do a puzzle, she would take out a whole stack of them and empty out all the pieces at once. Her teacher, Paul McClendon, fondly called her “Destructo.” Gigi moved on to the Chickadees class and then the Sparrows.

At OCP, no one stopped her from emptying out ALL of the wooden puzzles into a large pile. No one taught her the “right” or the “wrong” (i.e. the adult) way of doing things. There was only one way for her: Gigi’s way. When we designed our curriculum to be child-centered, and child-driven, we meant it.

Today, as a 6th grader at Cliff Valley School, Gigi remains bold and independent. She does not check one book out of the library, she checks out five or six, and reads them all simultaneously. She carries her school bag on her back and a separate “book bag” full of her library books to school EVERY DAY. She is self-confident in crowds of new people. She’ll walk up to anyone, push through any crowd, and express her opinion unabashedly (sometimes to a fault).

Gigi_nowGigi has always been petite in stature but it has never stopped her from playing with the big girls or boys. She may not be the best volleyball player on her team or the fastest in cross-country, but she’ll give it her all every time. She has a beautiful singing voice, and each year, she proudly gets up on stage by herself during the school’s talent show and belts out these amazingly difficult songs without breaking a sweat. She is righteously indignant about protecting our planet and has no qualms about expressing her disapproval when others fall short in that respect.

Gigi doesn’t take herself too seriously. She bounces back from disappointment, and vehemently refuses any help from Mom on school projects, protesting that it is her project and it does not have to be perfect! As Mom (also the first vice president of the OCP Board) says, “I obviously did not have the benefit of an OCP education. I was schooled in the OCD tradition instead!” She adds, “I am comforted in knowing that her OCP years taught her the value of community and interdependence. She is becoming a young lady (gulp) but she knows she is part of something greater than herself. She will venture out to find herself and explore this great big world, but she won’t wander far from our ‘nido.’”

Lily joined OCP in 2007 as a Chickadee with Ms. Becca back when OCP was still located at Epiphany. Lily moved up to the Owl class along with Ms. Becca for the next year and then topped off her OCP experience with Ms. Andi in the Larks class. Two of her strongest memories from her Lark year are performing as the Mouse in the story of The Mitten, and having “Show and Tell” in class every Tuesday.

Lily_nowLily is now a 5th grader at Mary Lin Elementary in Atlanta. She enjoys school (mostly) and has just been elected Student Council Treasurer. She is especially excited to be able to participate in the art club this year. She is also super busy with her extracurricular activities, such as ballet, tap and modern dance classes, gymnastics, and piano lessons.

Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool, Part 1: “A Brief History of OCP”

 Community, General Information  Comments Off on Celebrating the 10th Anniversary of Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool, Part 1: “A Brief History of OCP”
Nov 152015

OCP turns 10 this year! To commemorate that milestone, let’s take a look back…

Early Days in L LeDuc's basement

Early Days in L LeDuc’s basement

The Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool began as a drop-off playgroup with six children – Eleanor, Conrad, Poppi, Connor, Gaia, and Noah – who met at a different home each week with two parents assigned as the caregivers on a rotating basis. So four of the parents would get a few hours to themselves, and the six children would have some time to socialize with their young peers. Frustrated with a lack of quality preschools in the Decatur area at the time, these families shared a desire to create a new educational environment for their young children, based heavily on parental involvement.

The idea of turning this playgroup into a cooperative preschool was spearheaded by parent Laura LeDuc. Laura was trained as an attorney and was undaunted by the legal paperwork, creation of policies, and drafting of bylaws; she became OCP’s founding president. Michelle Davis-Watts tackled the research and creation of the curriculum guidelines. Paul McClendon had demonstrated an interest in developing activities for the children and engaging them with thoughtful and deliberate interactions, so he was asked to take on the role as the first teacher (he currently serves on OCP’s Advisory Council). Laura offered the finished basement of her home as an indoor classroom, and Stephanie Van Parys offered the Oakhurst Community Garden as an outdoor classroom. The other parents volunteered to serve on the founding board of directors and accepted key leadership roles. Two additional playgroups were formed. We were off and running. In the summer of 2005, the Oakhurst Cooperative Preschool was officially incorporated and recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.

Early Days at Oakhurst Garden with first teacher Paul McClendon

Early Days at Oakhurst Garden

The initial group’s early research into preschools confirmed their desire to create a cooperative educational setting, in which parents would participate in every aspect of the school’s operation: governance, finance, administration, assisting in classrooms, publicity, fundraising, maintenance, and housekeeping. It was decided the school should maintain a low teacher-to-child ratio, which along with parent involvement would help to foster an environment in which children feel secure. Security, we knew, was essential for developing sense of self, ability to relate to others, and capacity to express feelings – the building blocks of learning.

Farm Team

Farm Team

Fall 2005 launched OCP’s inaugural school year, with the first officially enrolled students coming from those three original playgroups. We moved into a rented space in the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany’s nursery, which was not in use during the week. We hired teacher Kate Reese to lead the “Twos” class, a group of 12 children who met on alternating mornings (not all simultaneously). Paul McClendon agreed to teach what we affectionately called the “Farm Team,” a class of six children turning two (“the Ones”). The 18 member families threw their collective skills and energies into the school – a true labor of love – and OCP blossomed rapidly during that first year. Many of the traditions that we proudly carry on to this day were conceived that year, including Harvest and Festivus. The board worked diligently to implement a curriculum based on OCP’s core philosophy: that young children learn primarily through play, where they can freely and actively explore their surroundings and construct their own knowledge, enhanced by a close connection to nature and a secure environment (the “nido”). By fall of 2006, OCP had enrolled enough students to rent three upstairs classrooms and hire three more teachers – thus inaugurating the Chickadees, Wrens, and Sparrows classes (these bird names winning out over Cedar Waxwings and Blue-Faced Boobies!).

First Fall Harvest Celebration

First Fall Harvest Celebration

In 2008, OCP officially hired Betty Wood as our first (and only) director; Betty had been instrumental “behind the scenes” since OCP’s founding, as an invaluable resource to the board during the first year and subsequently serving in an advisory role. Having grown out of the shared space at Epiphany, OCP underwent an exhaustive search for a new home, led by Meredith Struby and Michelle Krahe, among others, which in fall of 2011 brought us to our current building on W. College Avenue in Oakhurst that we lease from Thankful Missionary Baptist Church. That year, OCP designed and constructed our beloved play garden, dedicated in February 2012, transforming a barren outdoor area into one of the highlights of every OCP child’s day. Today OCP has grown to a membership of ±60 students and families in eight classes (two Chickadees classes, two Wrens classes, two Sparrows classes, Owls, and Larks) with a staff of six teachers and a director, in addition to a summer camp and after-school enrichment program. We continue to be run entirely by parent volunteers and strive to remain true to the original mission and values established by our founders, while evolving with the needs and talents of the current membership.

02 28 06 OCP bear hunt-2In the words of one of our alumni parents from OCP’s first years, “It has been a privilege to be a part of OCP as it has grown and flourished into the very special preschool community that it continues to be today – 10 years later! We are so happy that our family evolved within the nurturing and supportive OCP community, and we are thrilled that other families are able to experience the wonder that is OCP, 10 years after we started there. As a family, weare still very connected with our OCP friends, and it is always nice to meet other OCP families, whether past or present.” [Stephanie Roach]

In another founding parent’s perspective, “We owe so much to our OCP family. Back in 2005, we didn’t really know what we were doing. It’s hard to believe that OCP is in the double-digits! We were a set of like-minded parents, desperately wanting the very best for our children, all the while realizing that we were ill-equipped to deliver on those terms all by ourselves. Collectively and cooperatively, we shared the joys and pains of parenthood, and grew into something far greater than a preschool: we became, and still remain in our hearts, a family. Born out of that love and those values, I can see my children’s children attending OCP one day. I look forward to ‘grandparent-teacher days.’” [Marlyne Israelian]

Stay Tuned…In Part 2 of this blog, we will get to know some of those first OCP kids and find out where they are now!

[Credits: We are grateful to alums Paul McClendon, Laura LeDuc, Marlyne Israelian, and Stephanie Roach, who contributed to the above.]

Getting to Know the OCP Staff

 Education, General Information  Comments Off on Getting to Know the OCP Staff
Oct 112015
The teachers at OCP are many things—facilitators, co-explorers, models, guides. With their young students—our young children—they take to heart the idea that “the art of teaching is the art of assisting discovery.” We think of our staff at OCP as our best resource, while our kids think of them as grown-ups to play with, learn with, trust, love, and grow with. Take a few minutes to get to know Ms. Betty, Ms. Tova, Ms. CJ, Ms. Michelle, Ms. Susan, and Ms. Margie.

Betty Wood,
What is your OCP story?

While working as director of Inman Park Cooperative Preschool, I consulted with [OCP founders] Laura LeDuke and Michelle Davis-Watts about creating OCP. They continued to consult with me as they founded OCP in 2005. Having been on OCP’s Advisory Council and resigning from IPCP, I was invited to interview for director of OCP in March of 2008. Since I had experienced best practices and challenges at IPCP, I wanted to ensure that OCP and I were a good fit. When offered the position, I expected to begin work in August. The OCP board invited me to begin working with them in April and May to orient me to OCP and hire teachers for the 2008-09 school year.  It was definitely a good fit.

What is one thing you’re excited to explore with your kids this year?

The teachers and I have noticed that most of the children enrolled at OCP this year seem to have well-developed interpersonal skills. They are naturally kind and caring. I am excited about working with the teachers and parents in helping the children find the language to clearly express their emotions and communicate effectively with their peers. We already see many friendships forming. Hopefully this year will give the children a strong foundation for creating and strengthening friendships throughout their lives.

What is one of your favorite aspects of OCP’s curriculum, and why is it important to you?

I appreciate our nature-based curriculum. Spending time outdoors is naturally healing and grounding for children and adults. Some of the child’s first experiences are in nature with their parents. The child is curious in exploring nature and learning about their world. Our curriculum supports the child’s exploration and confirms their confidence in the world around them. Bonds established in nature are deeper and more enduring.

Tova Johnson, Chickadees (Younger 2’s)
What is your OCP story?kaymbu-image-20151010-1550(1)

I wanted to teach again, but it needed to be a very special place. OCP is an inspiration on so many levels, and the search for inspiration truly led me here! A simple online search led to an interview, and that led to being the Chickadee teacher.

What is one thing you are excited to explore with your kids this year?

I am excited to explore the spontaneity within the plans! Chickadees will tell you what is on their mind in very interesting ways. So being alert to the little phrases or the looks of wonder or the discoveries they make along the way is what I am excited to catch wind of and infuse into the planned learning!

What is one of your favorite aspects of OCP’s curriculum, and why is it important to you?

I love how OCP follows nature and her seasons for curriculum inspiration. That is definitely one of my favorite aspects of OCP’S curriculum, but there are so many!

CJ Evans, Wrens (Older 2’s)
What is your OCP story?

[Larks teacher] Margie Ashe has been one of my best friends for years. When she started teaching at OCP a few years ago, I thought she had found the perfect job. For a mom of elementary-age kids, the location and hours were ideal, and she always spoke so highly of the OCP community and culture. The following year, when Margie moved to the Larks class, the Wrens teaching job opened up, and I was so excited to apply for the job. OCP has lived up to its reputation. I really enjoy teaching the Wrens class and being surrounded by such fantastic people.

What is one thing you’re excited to explore with your kids this year?

I’m most excited for the fall and our Harvest festival. We just did a planting this week, so the kids are very enthusiastic about tending our garden. They have been watering the plants and seeds diligently. It will be so fun to see the plants grow and harvest them with the children in November! To prepare for the festival, we will work together to wash and chop the vegetables and make soup. I love being with the children through this process and helping them see what they are capable of doing.

What is one of your favorite aspects of OCP’s curriculum, and why is it important to you?   

The thing that I enjoy hearing the most from the children is “I did it!” Their faces are filled with such joy when they are able to accomplish difficult tasks, such as zipping their coat, putting on their shoes, or preparing banana bread for snack. The children are included in all of our daily tasks, and our focus is on the process instead of the end result. This allows the children to try hard things and to grow in confidence as they are able to do more for themselves and each other as we go through the year.

Michelle Bennett, Owls (3’s)
What is your OCP story?

I was working with Betty at Inman Park Co-op, and when OCP decided to start a pre-k program, I came and presented my ideas. They liked it, so I joined the staff in 2007 as the first pre-k (Larks) teacher. I left OCP for a time when my son, Jackson, was born. We came back in 2012 as a co-op family, and Jackson started as a Wren. During his three years at OCP, I subbed frequently, including some long-term subbing. I knew I always wanted to return to teaching, and this year the timing was right!

What is one thing you are excited to explore with your kids this year?

In my class of eight boys, I will be exploring conscious discipline, helping my kids become more assertive and use their “big boy” voices with their friends in the classroom.

What is one of your favorite aspects of OCP’s curriculum, and why is it important to you?

My favorite part of OCP’s curriculum is the idea that process is more important than product. We explore this in many ways in our classroom activities, but it also extends into daily life. I love that the kids are able to live in their own world at OCP, and don’t have to fit into our grown-up world like they do outside of school. We recently did splatter painting in class, and I documented the technique we used to splatter the paint. But then they had the freedom to play in the paint afterward and smear it on their paper, so it didn’t end up looking like a splatter painting. The point wasn’t the final product, but the process and fun we had getting there.

Susan Diamond, Sparrows (3’s)
kaymbu-image-20151010-1551(1)What is your OCP story?

Betty brought me to OCP. I first got to know her when she was the director of my daughter’s preschool, Inman Park Cooperative Preschool, and then I started working with her at Inman Park. When she came to OCP, I decided to join her.

What is one thing you are excited to explore with your kids this year?

This year I would like to focus on the natural world around us here in Georgia. We will learn about trees, the forest, and the creatures who make it their home.

What is one of your favorite aspects of OCP’s curriculum, and why is it important to you?

The aspect of our curriculum that is most important to me is right there in the name, cooperative. My daughter went to a cooperative preschool and I loved that the small size of the school and the parental involvement meant that she became familiar with the other teachers and the parents of her schoolmates as well as the other children. The presence of the parents truly creates a warm and safe community, which is a wonderful step into the wider world for children who have, until that time, been used to the small community of their family.

Margie Ashe, Larks (4’s)
What is your OCP story?

kaymbu-image-20151010-1551I came to OCP as a parent in 2006. We had just moved to Decatur from Cobb County and were so happy to find a like-minded community. I assumed the experience would be primarily for my daughter, but I wound up learning so much here as a parent and as a teacher. Lillian, now in middle school, is still close to many of the friends she made at OCP.

What is one thing you’re excited to explore with your kids this year?

I’ve spent the summer reading about making picture books with young children. My goal is for the Larks to see themselves as writers, even if their books only contain illustrations. Just because a child isn’t ready to transcribe a story doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of creating a story and thinking deeply about the craft of writing.

What is one of your favorite aspects of OCP’s curriculum, and why is it important to you?

I really appreciate our emphasis on process over end product. Making cute crafts that all look the same would not be very fulfilling. I’ve always been inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach, where the curriculum and projects emerge from the children’s interests. What makes my job as the Larks teacher fun and challenging is finding ways to implement the pre-K standards into our child-led curriculum.