Our School

AAUW Nursery School is a cooperative preschool where young children are respected, nurtured and encouraged. The school serves students from northern Lake County, Illinois, including Waukegan, Gurnee, Wadsworth, Beach Park and Zion, as well as southern Wisconsin. We offer a variety of half-day programs for three, four and five-year olds. Our curriculum and philosophy emphasize the importance of play.

We are one of the few schools in the area that is accredited by the National Academy of Early Childhood Programs, a division of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). This honor was earned by AAUW through its hard work and dedication to the education and well-being of children aged two through five, and is your assurance that at AAUW your child will have the best that early childhood education has to offer.

Our History

AAUW Nursery School was founded in 1953 by the American Association of University Women who realized a need for a quality preschool in the area. They formed a small, licensed, non-profit, parent-cooperative nursery school where young children could learn, grow, and thrive. As the school grew, we became independent of the parent organization, but retained our original name and purpose.

Our Purpose

Our mission is to provide a comfortable, yet stimulating learning environment which values each child as an individual. We challenge each to reach his or her potential by encouraging the development of social, emotional, intellectual, perceptual, language, and large and small motor skills.

Our Philosophy

We have spent more than 50 years developing and refining our goals for the children. We wish to nurture the children so that they will develop to their full potential by providing opportunities for the growth of their intellectual, social/emotional, language, perceptual, and motor development. This is implemented by a staff of educated and experienced teachers who build their program on the base of a firm understanding of child development.

We know that children learn most meaningfully through direct experience. Arousal of curiosity leads to search, search leads to discovery, and discovery leads to knowledge. Concepts strongly rooted in direct experience give accuracy and quality to a child's thought, and we at AAUW focus our classes on providing opportunities for experimentation.

We encourage an atmosphere where children can enter in free, creative play with a minimum amount of direction. Educational studies show that creative play, that which explores and invents, is the most valuable learning method available to the preschool child.

Each child needs the chance to grow and develop as an individual, at his or her own rate of speed. No child can reach his or her potential if made to grow in someone else's way; so to teach well, teachers must understand where in their development the children are, and expand lessons from there. Interest in our activities originates with the children but the opportunities to explore these interests in content and in depth are provided by the teachers. Materials are provided to encourage the children to experiment, question, reason, observe, investigate, negotiate, seek and discover knowledge themselves. The teachers create an atmosphere of ease, comfort, and security where the child's needs are anticipated and met with warm acceptance, understanding, support and encouragement.

We recognize the importance of providing an appealing, yet safe, environment for young children by providing space, equipment and materials which are developmentally appropriate. Play is a child's work.

And finally, we intend to teach our young children to live life with meaning, joy, purpose, satisfaction and fulfillment, realizing that children will develop firm educational roots by enjoying and succeeding in preschool. These first experiences influence the way children feel about themselves, other people and the world around them.

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AAUW Nursery School
2500 Northern Avenue, Waukegan, Illinois 60087