Our Education Philosophy
The program provides an environment where children feel safe, secure, respected and recognized as individuals. A positive self-image affects each child’s ability to get along with others, to explore and to create. We find ways to help children feel good about themselves in all aspects of their learning. The nursery school space is set up with a variety of materials and activities from which children can choose. The materials in the room are stimulating, challenging and adaptable for children of varying developmental levels.
The children are offered a selection of activities each day. There is time for free play, small group activities, art, movement, dramatic play, story time, outdoor play, field trips, singing, reading, and snack. An important goal of Ashmont Nursery School is to draw upon the racial and cultural diversity of the families and our world to enrich all of the children, parents and staff.
Finally, the school believes that the relationship between the preschool aged child and their parents is the single most important part of their lives. It therefore asks that parents assist the teacher in the classroom on a regularly scheduled basis and help in the administration of the school as well.
ANS is a parent-led cooperative.
So...what is a parent-led cooperative nursery school?
It's a place where parents are involved in the everyday aspects of our school. One parent works at the school each day along with the certified teachers during the regular hours of the program. Parents are scheduled to be “teacher helpers” on a rotating basis which is approximately once per month, per family. In addition to teaching-helping, parents are also required to serve on a committee or take on a job that contributes to the running of the nursery school. These committees include Personnel, Admissions, Fundraising, Facilities, and others. For a full list, see the current ANS Family Handbook.
There are also several general meetings, a school maintenance work day, and one or more fund raising events in which all families participate. A parent board of directors, including an elected Executive Committee, work with the school’s Director to provide structure and guidance for the operation of the school.
Originally from southern MA, Abbie Wanamaker has been working with young children for over 15 years now. She has taught at schools in NC, CA and in Newton & Cambridge, MA. Abbie arrived at Ashmont Nursery School, along with her daughter Abra in 2014, to help kickstart the toddler program. Abbie has both a Bachelors and Masters of Fine Art from UMass Amherst and the University of Southern California respectively. Abbie first started teaching during her year between undergrad and grad school. Upon receiving her MFA, she realized how much she missed teaching young children and immediately returned to school at LACC to earn her early education units and has never looked back. Abbie continues to challenge herself through professional development, attending conferences on the Reggio Emilia approach at Lesley University and at the Sabot School in Richmond, VA, attending the 100 Languages of Children in NYC and reading, reading, always reading about everything from the larger themes in children’s play, documentation in the classroom, anti-bias curriculum, classroom design and more. Abbie continues to make art and her work as an artist heavily inspires her in the classroom and contributes to her great respect for children’s play and the deep creativity they possess. Abbie is a mother to a wonderful 4 year old and is married to her college sweetheart. She is active in her community and takes pride in her adopted city of Boston. Outside of the classroom Abbie spends her time bicycling, taking photographs on her walks, making art with her daughter and on her own, reading, watching movies, eating out with friends, swimming, ice skating and eating popcorn.
A native of Dorchester, Edna Speller has been a steady presence at ANS since 1997. She is the proud mother of Brandon and Yolanda, now adults. Edna has attended lead teacher classes at Wheelock College. Prior to working with young children, Edna was employed at Polaroid Corporation, but she is pleased to say that ANS has been her favorite place to work. Edna's interests include writing short stories, plays and gardening. She always looks forward to spending time with her large extended family here in the city. Edna always dreamed of working with young children. She finds her colleagues, the children and the entire ANS community to be this dream come-true!
Yolanda was introduced into the ANS community back in 1997 when her mom Edna started here as a teacher. She says it has always been like a second family full of people who are excited to see you walk through the door. She was excited to have the opportunity to work here in the summers and after school program while she was in high school. Although she attended Lincoln Tech and Bay State College and got her degree in Criminal Justice, she says it's great to come back and be part of this wonderful community.
Born and raised in Boston, Daunasia Yancey comes to early childhood education from a lifetime of social justice organizing and activism. Her teaching philosophy is informed by a decade of experience in youth development, LGBTQ rights, sexual health education, and Black liberation work. Daunasia believes fully in the ability of young, even very young, people to be engaged in the creation of a safer, healthier, and more just world. She finds immense joy in supporting children to pursue their own learning and interests while fostering an environment that encourages exploration, experimentation, and collaboration. Outside of the classroom, Daunasia continues her activism as well as expanding her amazing earring collection.