The Early Learning Program provides part-time care for children from 1-3 years old at 6935 Columbia Pike, Annandale VA 22003. In addition to the regular T-W-Th classes which run from 9:30-2:30, Interim Morning (9-9:30 a.m.) and Late Day (2:30-5:30 p.m.) class options are offered. Our school year runs from September to mid-June.
Upcoming Open Houses
If you’d like to learn more about our programs, meet our staff and visit our classrooms, come to an upcoming Open House! We’ll begin in the Weekday Preschool/Early Learning Program office at 10 a.m., then continue the tour from there.
The upcoming Open House dates are Jan. 16, Jan. 23, Feb. 13, and Feb. 21. All tours begin at 10 a.m.
The AUMC Early Learning Program is state licensed and regulated by the Virginia Department of Social Services and accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children [NAEYC]. This is a prestigious recognition, achieved by only seven percent of early childhood programs nationwide, which demonstrates the commitment to early childhood education. For more information on the standards maintained by nationally accredited programs, visit their website at www.naeyc.org.
The Weekday Preschool and Early Learning Program is proud to have been chosen twice as a top preschool by Northern Virginia Magazine in their last ratings of area preschools.
- Children meet with a music teacher daily.
- Two and three year old classes meet with a science teacher regularly.
- Three year old classes attend monthly yoga classes.
- Throughout the year, enrichment visitors come to the school. Children enjoy guests such as firefighters, puppeteers, storytellers, children’s bands, doctors, dentists, jugglers, Under the Sea show, Reptiles Alive show, and a petting zoo with pony rides.
Click here for our newsletter, called The Parent Connection, which informs families of upcoming school activities as well as community and AUMC events.
Click here for our current snack menu. Due to the high incidence of severe peanut allergies, all ELP classes are peanut-free. Snacks served are verified to contain no peanuts, peanut products, or to be prepared in a facility where peanut products were prepared. Accommodations and special provisions are made for all children with allergies or special dietary needs.
The Details of the Early Learning Program
The ELP philosophy of learning through play, exploration, and experimentation is based on the theory that play is the most effective method of learning for young children. The program gives each child the opportunity to experience and socialize through a diverse variety of activities. Teachers treat each child with respect and with an understanding of children’s unique individual abilities and development. They create classrooms that foster social skills, self-confidence, and self-esteem. ELP is designed to provide an atmosphere where children are happy, secure, and excited to learn under the guidance of a trained, qualified, and nurturing staff.
Children are encouraged, but never forced, to participate in the various activities and interest areas throughout the classroom. They progress at their own pace and according to individual needs and abilities. Click here for information on developmental appropriateness and here for the NAEYC’s position statement.[/expand/
Our Curriculum and Assessment System
All ELP teachers use the Second Edition of The Creative Curriculum as a guideline for writing their lesson plans. This research-based curriculum emphasizes a large variety of experiential and hands-on activities which are developmentally appropriate for the individual children within each classroom. Through content and classroom interest areas, children are offered a variety of experiences daily to include art, music & creative movement, science & discovery, technology, sign language, sensory activities, language, early literacy, early math, cooking activities, gross motor activities, fine motor activities, and dramatic play. Learning occurs one-on-one, in large groups, and in small groups.
In conjunction with our curriculum, an ongoing assessment of children’s individual development is key to planning appropriate classroom learning experiences and helping all children to succeed. Our teachers use Teaching Strategies GOLD Assessment System, which is a comprehensive assessment tool based on the latest early childhood research that follows a child’s unique development from birth through Kindergarten. This assessment system is fully aligned with the Virginia Foundation Blocks for Early Learning as well as the Head Start Child Development and Early Learning Framework. Children are formally assessed in Language, Cognitive, Physical, and Social-Emotional areas of development. Assessed skills and goals for their child are shared with parents through two written reports and two parent-teacher conferences throughout the school year.
In addition to meeting national accreditation standards by their education level, experience, and teaching skills, ELP teachers are carefully chosen for their warmth and understanding of young children and their development. Lead teachers are degreed and draw from their expertise and experience to engage children in the adventure of learning. All staff are certified in CPR and First Aid. Each classroom maintains a safe and age-appropriate child-to-staff ratio which meets NAEYC standards.
Security checks are performed on each staff member. Hiring practices are non-discriminatory. Continuing education training in early childhood development is required annually and made available to all teachers.
The ELP is located on the main campus of AUMC at 6935 Columbia Pike in Annandale. Classrooms are arranged to accommodate children individually as well as in small groups and large groups. Large rooms are available for enrichment events which occur outside the classroom. There are four outdoor playgrounds. Classes are assigned to the playground(s) appropriate for the age of the children in the class. Indoor play spaces are available when outdoor play is not possible which is furnished with equipment that meets the daily gross motor needs of young children, and is safe and age-appropriate.
ELP is fully licensed and regulated by the Virginia Department of Social Services and is nationally accredited by the NAEYC, and abides by all health and safety standards therein. Fairfax County Health Department regulations require that new and updated health forms and releases be on file for every child by the beginning of each school year. A packet of health forms are given upon enrollment.
It is the goal of ELP to keep the spread of germs and illness at a minimum. After an illness, children must be symptom-free for 24 hours prior to returning to classes. Virginia Licensing requires that all parents notify the office immediately if their child contracts a communicable disease so that other parents may be notified. Universal sanitary procedures are followed throughout each day in all classrooms.
Keeping Your Child Safe
Security measures and procedures are in place to ensure the safety of all our children while at AUMC. An Emergency Prepardeness Plan [EPP] has been instituted and teachers are trained to cover all emergency situations. This plan, along with blueprints of the entire building which contains highlighted rooms where children are located, is on file with the Fairfax County Police Department [Mason District Office] as well as with the Annandale Fire Department. Regular evacuation drills are practiced to prepare children for fires, tornadoes, earthquakes, shelter-in-place, and lock-down procedures. Primary, secondary, and tertiary evacuation routes are rehearsed, and primary and secondary evacuation locations established. Click here for an overview of the Emergency Preparedness plan. The full Emergency Preparedness Plan is available for parent review upon request in the office.
In case of an emergency, we would use the Remind messaging app to contact families via text or email, stating the emergency and any actions that needed to be taken. We are asking that anyone who may pick up your child from School during an emergency situation should join Remind. You may add as many mobile phone numbers or emails as are necessary. To join by text, send the message “@wps-elp” to 81010. A text message will prompt you to enter your name, then ask if you are a student, parent, or teacher. Enter P for Parent. To join by email, go to remind.com and click on Sign Up, then follow the steps on the screen. Our class code is “wps-elp”.
The building remains locked during school hours. All parents are asked to enter through Entrance #2 where someone will be posted to monitor who enters the building during start times and dismissal times only. At all other times, it will be necessary to use the intercom to be screened and buzzed in from the office. A picture ID may be required for entry.
No child will be released to anyone other than the parent, guardian, or a person who has been designated in writing on the required Child Release Form unless prior arrangements have been made with the Director. The designee must present a government issued photo ID.
Each year an opportunity is provided for parents to have safety identification cards made through Ident-a-Kid Services of America for their children which include the child’s photograph, fingerprints, and other identifying information that could assist police in the event the child was lost or missing. Participation is an optional service provided by the school.
A mid-morning snack is provided to all children. An afternoon snack is provided to children who are in the Late Day classes. Snacks include at least two food groups as determined by FDA guidelines. Click here for our current snack menu.
Due to the high incidence of severe peanut allergies, all ELP classes are peanut-free. Snacks served are verified to contain no peanuts, peanut products, or to be prepared in a facility where peanut products were prepared.
Accommodations and special provisions are made for all children with allergies or special dietary needs. Click here for our full snack policy.
Helping our schools through grocery shopping
AUMC WPS & ELP are proud to be part of Harris Teeter’s Together in Education program to help raise funds for our school. It’s easy and it’s FREE! Simply go online to link your VIC card to our school at https://www.harristeeter.com/user/login – or talk to your cashier next time you buy groceries at Harris Teeter. Our school’s code number is 1481. Once your card is linked, AUMC will receive a percentage of your Harris Teeter brand (Harris Teeter, Premier Selection, H.T. Traders, Harris Teeter Naturals, Your Pet, Hunter Farms, Highland Crest, and More Value) purchases credited back to our account. This program does not interfere with your VIC Savings or cost you any money.
Box tops for education: Did you know that you can earn money for our school with products you already buy every time you go shopping? Participation is easy: Clip the Box Top Labels from General Mills products you purchase or already have in your pantry. Bring them to school and drop them in the collection bin in the office or at Entrance #2. It’s that simple! …and it adds up quickly when everyone takes part! Box Tops are redeemable for 10¢ each, and we collect labels throughout the entire year. Click here for a list of participating products.
Director: Cherrie S. Welch, CWelch@annandale-umc.org
Asst. Director: Michelle M. Shepard, WPS@annandale-umc.org
Office Manager: Ann Marie Brown, ABrown@annandale-umc.org
Tours with the Director are available by appointment. Please call the office to schedule a time. When you arrive, enter the main parking lot by the LED sign. Go to Entrance #2 and use the intercom to be buzzed into the building. The WPS/ELP Office (room 122) is downstairs. There you will sign in and receive a visitor’s badge, and then be directed to a conference room where your tour will begin. Sessions generally last 1.5 to 2 hours.
ELP Enrollment Rates
|Monthly Costs||9:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. Classes||Interim Morning, 9-9:30 a.m.||Late Day, 2:30-5:30 p.m.|
|1 day per week||$242||$32||$181|
|2 days per week||$484||$64||$362|
|3 days per week||$726||$96||$543|
Each year, parents are issued a Parent Handbook which states the policies, procedures, and other school information. They sign and return the last page. We suggest that it be kept in an easily accessible location to be used as a source of reference throughout the school year.
Applications may be mailed, faxed, or dropped off at the WPS/ELP Office.
A packet of required forms is given upon enrollment.
If parents misplace or need additional forms, they may be downloaded here.
- ELP Application for Admission
- School Entrance Health Form
- Permission for Emergency Care
- Initial Information Form
- Emergency Info Card
- ID Verification Form
- Dismissal Release Form
- Emergency Medical Consent
- Topical Medicine Authorization
- Allergy Care Plan
- Authorization for Photography
- Release of Contact Information
- Volunteer Form
- Tuition Assistance Application