Alphabet Academy, Hamden
Ages: 6 weeks to Kindergarten (6 weeks to age 3 at the Nest) Hours: 7 am to 6 pm
October 2013. I could easily write a lengthy review listing all of the pros you will find at Alphabet Academy. Instead, let me just say this: My son never wants to go home when I pick him up at the end of the day. I don’t think there is anything more to say! Cass G., parent
July 2013. My son has been at the Alphabet Academy North Campus for almost 10 months and he absolutely loves it!! The teachers are absolutely wonderful; caring and nurturing yet provide structured play and behavioral guidance. The food is another strength! It is almost all organic, some home-grown in the Alphabet Academy’s own garden (!), conscientiousness chosen, and served in varied nutritious and delicious recipes (my son will eat things there he refuses at home). The philosophy fits our philosophy of play where children play outside daly in a HUGE play area in almost all but the most inclement weather. We LOVE this “home away from home” for our son and even stayed there despite moving to another town and requiring a 40 minute detour to continue attendance! Linda, parent
October 2012. My son has been at Alphabet Academy North Campus since he was four months old, and I could not be happier to have found this school! It is a lovely inviting space that exudes warmth. The teachers are dedicated caring professionals, and my son is happy to see them everyday so I know without a doubt that he is being well cared for. I truly feel that his teachers are like an extended family. SOC, parent
October 2012. Alphabet Academy continues to exceed my expectations. In every category. I don’t know if there is room here for me to express my happiness with the owner/director and her incredibly warm, intelligent, gifted, compassionate staff. My son has been there for seven months since he turned two. He has blossomed in so many ways. He is empathetic (can identify the feelings in others), compassionate (hugs, helps, shares, helps his friends when they are sad), happy (always telling me how wonderful his day at school was). He is challenged and pushes himself as well to quickly acquires new skills at his own pace. He spends much of the day outdoors, even in “bad” weather. He participates in music, movement, reading and art every day. He is fed three (organic/local/grown-on-
My husband and I practice our own version of Attachment Parenting, and we feel this school is the best fit because of the nurturing, loving, educated teachers who see that each child’s needs are fulfilled and nourished.
Most nights at bedtime, we talk to our son about the people in our lives who love us, and who we love…our community. Most nights he includes his friends and teachers at school.
I can’t imagine a better fit for us anywhere else. Cass, parent
October 2012. My family is new to Alphabet Academy (North)this year. I am an educator and have been working in the CT public school system for 14 years. When searching for a preschool for my daughter, I was looking for a safe, warm & friendly learning environment. Alphabet Academyis proving to be much more than that.
I was immediately impressed with this school the minute I walked through the door for our tour. It is a bright, clean and welcoming building. When we saw the set up of the classrooms, met the teachers and learned about their philosophy/curriculum, I knew this was more than we had hoped for. There was no doubt in our minds that we would be sending our child toAlphabet Academy. Since that day, I am continuously impressed with the level of communication and wonderful things that go on in this school.
Like many children, my daughter was a little nervous before the start of the school year. These feelings were put to rest when her two classroom teachers came to our house to meet her in August! They sat with us and answered any questions we had and asked questions to get to know our daughter. By the end of the visit, she was giving them a tour of her playroom and a level of comfort developed which made transitioning on the first day of school such a success.
My daughter absolutely adores her teachers and looks forward to going to school each day. We could not be happier with her teachers & the school as a whole. We highly recommend this school to all. We love Alphabet Academy! KF, parent
October 2012. Why you chose the Alphabet Academy South Campus: Progressive child-centered curriculum, energetic and engaged teachers
•Any special information about getting in: We were fortunate to find Alphabet during their transition to a 2-campus school, which opened up several spots at once, so we did not have any problems getting in. However there may now be a waiting list, so apply early.
•My child’s experience at the school is: My toddler has had a great experience. After a short adjustment period to being away from home/parents all day she has been very happy with her teachers and new friends. Sometimes when we’re home she asks to go to school! I love hearing about the games, art projects, and other new experiences she has each day.
•Pros: Great outdoor/playground area, emphasis on outdoor learning, creative play, art, music, etc. Both snacks and lunch included so less prep for you. Engaged staff cares about the kids.
•Cons: It’s expensive. But you get what you pay for.
Sara B., parent
October 2012. My son started Alphabet Academy in September and we have been thrilled with his experience so far. The teachers are outstanding-really impressive. We also love the food program, gigantic natural outdoor space and focus on letting kids follow their personal interests in the work they do. We looked at several schools in Hamden and NH and this was our favorite. I recommend it highly! Meghan O., parent
October 2012. I have two children at Alphabet Academy’s North Campus. They were both at the south campus before the new site opened. My almost 5 year old is in the kindergarten class and she loves her new teacher. I also have a two year old there. Unlike [a previous] reviewer, I have always found the teachers responsive to my concerns and questions. The teachers frequently provide feedback about my children’s struggles and achievements. The curriculum and programs at the North Campus enrich my children’s lives and I know they are well cared for while they are there. Christine, parent
October 2012. Alphabet Academy is a great school- BOTH LOCATIONS. Never had trouble with teachers and I have an 8 year old who is doing great in school and was well-prepared for kindergaretn. Now my 3 yr old is doing great there!!! Michele B., parent
October 2012. Our daughter turned 4 in October and first began at Alphabet Academy (North Campus) in October of 2011. She had been home with a nanny for almost three years and we were nervous and excited about her first experience in the “real world.” We met with the owner and instantly knew that Alphabet Academy was the place for our daughter. Her first “year” in preschool was amazing. The teachers were warm, loving, assertive and taught her everything she needed to know to be independent, happy and social. Our daughter is now in Pre-K and comes home telling us everyday about something new. We learned all about habitats from our daughter the other day! Finally, the families and parents are wonderful. We just hosted our daughter’s first birthday party for all of her friends at school. It was simply adorable. I have made wonderful friends and my daughter has as well! Heidi C., parent
September 2012. Why you chose the school: Superb teachers (little turn-over) and strong program. Lots of outdoor play and art projects. Good hours.
Any special information about getting in? Plan ahead for the infant room. There is a waiting list.
August 2011. We love AlphabetAcademy. Our almost 4-year-old daughter has been there since 10 months of age and our 15 month old son started when he was 5 months old. The facility is beautiful, the curriculum is developmentally appropriate; the activities are engaging and creative. However, all of these things would be meaningless if not for the amazing teachers.
The teachers are dedicated, sensitive, patient, communicative, and happy. When we first visited the school and I saw the teachers interacting with the children, I knew immediately that this was the place for us. Each teacher we’ve had has worked hard to know and understand our children’s strengths and needs. They eagerly share our children’s accomplishments. It sounds so cliché to say that the school is really a family, but it really is! Every teacher cares about our children’s well-being and growth. Anytime I’ve needed to talk about an issue they’ve made themselves available. I really feel like the partnership we have has made me a better parent.
When recently asked what the best thing about being three is, our daughter thought for a few moments and replied, “My teachers.” She also told me that she doesn’t want to go to any high school, she wants to stay at AlphabetAcademy.
Christine T., parent
July 2011. My wife and I chose Alphabet Academy for our son after visiting it while looking for daycares. We were very impressed by the structure and curriculum that we observed. The children we observed were happy and engaged in educational and fun activities. The curriculum is creative leading the children to want to learn while having fun. I can’t say enough about our son’s experience as well as our daughter’s. My daughter was able to attend their summer camp last year and will attend this year as well. Staff are caring and committed. I feel at ease leaving my kids with anyone of them. -Pat G.
June 2011. We interviewed nearly eight different childcare centers in the New Haven area. We finally decided on Alphabet Academy because of the academic program, the teachers and the facility itself. They had a curriculum in place for every age level that promoted learning without being rigid and still allowing the kids to be kids. The teachers and staff are excellent with the children, and do an outstanding job in communicating and working with parents to provide a nurturing environment. The facility itself is spacious, with the latest educational toys, a huge playground, and a very warm and welcoming atmosphere. The admission process was very straightforward. We were given a tour of the facility during operating hours and were able to see the children in all the classrooms as well as ask questions of the teachers. Everyone was very willing to answer any questions that we had and the staff walked us through all the admission paperwork.
As far as our son’s experience at Alphabet Academy, we couldn’t be more pleased and we currently have our two younger sons enrolled there as well. All of the boys have received so much love and attention from the teachers and staff. Academically, by the end of pre-K, our oldest son could add, subtract and spell simple words. He was very well prepared for kindergarten, which he started this past fall. He has had the opportunity to return to Alphabet Academy during the year when his school is closed for professional days as well as when it is closed due to inclement weather. He will be attending the Alphabet Academy summer camp program again this year. This is a wonderful program that includes lots of arts and crafts, outdoor play and weekly field trips to places such as the Yale Peabody Museum, the Eli Whitney Museum, and Sleeping Giant
State Park. We cannot say enough good things about Alphabet Academy. We highly recommend Alphabet Academy as an outstanding daycare and preschool.
Hester D. and Tim Q., parents
June 2011. My perspective of Alphabet Academy is a unique one. I have two children enrolled at Alphabet Academy however, I am also one of the school’s Preschool teachers. My thoughts and observations are coming as both a teacher and a parent.
I came to Alphabet Academy two years ago after working in the public school system. I was a bit apprehensive about switching from public to a small private school. My worries quickly diminished as soon as I was introduced to the staff. I’ve never worked in an environment with such support and camaraderie. All of my co-workers were quick to accept me as a new piece to their already fabulous puzzle, and I was immediately calmed to realize that turn over is non existent here.
Here is why: Our director not only has her own passionate visions which she enthusiastically shares with all of her teachers and staff but also supports all of her teachers visions with full-on gusto. Why is this important to prospective parents? It’s because she understands and has stated many times that the most direct avenue to the success of a school and happiness on the part of the children and their families is teacher satisfaction.
Another aspect of our school that has amazed me is the constant home-school connection. Both the parents and teachers are not just encouraged but are given tools to keep communication continuously moving back and forth. We often have parents visit the classroom, offer their expertise, attend family events and champion each others struggles and accomplishments. It has been a great blessing as a teacher to feel so close to the families of the children that I spend my day with. I adore all of the families from Alphabet and am so thankful that they open up their lives to us.
I am a mom to three children, ages 9, 2, and 4 months. My 9 year old is finishing up 4th grade and my 2 little ones join me everyday at Alphabet Academy. The comfort level I have leaving my babies in the care of people I trust and respect is off the charts. I know that my little ones are receiving all the love and care that they would be if they were home with me everyday. Seeing my 2 year old light up every time he sees one of his teachers is heartwarming. The role of the teacher is to be nurturing, supportive and provide many outlets for learning and expression. It is in many different ways a very difficult vocation, certainly not for everyone in the field, but my kids’ teachers do it with such ease and grace. I have seen my toddler grow by leaps and bounds and my husband and I look at each other in amazement each time he surprises us with something new.
I enjoy going to work and look forward to doing my best every day. My co-workers, students and families make my job the best anyone could ask for. I am doubly grateful for the opportunity for my children to attend a school which sets such high goals and standards for everyone; the teachers the children and their families.
Andrea M., parent and teacher
June 2011. My daughter is currently attending the Alphabet Academy, she is in the two year olds group. She started at a different daycare as a toddler because the Alphabet Academy did not have the availability but we kept looking for an opening and as soon as there was availability we moved her. The Alphabet Academy crew took time to open the daycare center after hours so that we can visit the facility. The difference in care was huge, unlike the first place in the Alphabet Academy the kids are viewed as individuals and have schedule of activities developed for their age which helps them learn through games the best possible way. We see Emma develop her abilities and language skills every day and she loves it, she cannot wait in the morning to go and visit her friends and teachers!
Raina P., parent
June 2011. I recently enrolled my three year old son in the preschool program at the Alphabet Academy in Hamden. He had been in another daycare since he was an infant and I was nervous about the transition. After meeting the director and his teachers and seeing the school, I knew that Alphabet Academy was a special place and that he would love it. It is about a month later now, and I can say that I have not been disappointed!
The most important thing I look for in a preschool is a dedicated and caring staff. The staff at Alphabet Academy has been, to a person, so sweet and welcoming to my son. He loves his new school. At his other school, I often worried that there were not enough learning opportunities/activities happening and that my son was bored. I don’t worry about that here. There is a good mix of academics, art, play, and movement. Every month the class has a general theme and many of the lessons and projects are based on the month’s theme. During station play time, many of the stations fit into the monthly theme. My son has made some great projects and he is excited to go to school every day. Other daily highlights include time outside playing and circle time. There are also weekly yoga classes, provided by Full of Joy yoga, which my son loves.
The classrooms are all beautiful and clean. There is a homey atmosphere to each room and the spaces are artfully decorated and designed. The work of the children is prominently displayed, as well as items related to the monthly theme. The outdoor space at Alphabet Academy is also an inviting area; incorporating many trees, shrubs, and flowers among the play equipment.
During the summer months, the Alphabet Academy changes into camp mode. The activities during camp sound wonderful: water play, yoga, pottery, cooking, taekwondo, square dancing, field trips, etc… I can’t wait to see what this summer brings for my son at Alphabet Academy. It makes me want to be a kid again.
Lauren K., parent
June 2011. At the beginning of the 2010 summer, I got a job up in New Haven. We live in Fairfield and I realized that I would have to find my youngest son a new preschool program that was close to where I was working. We were devastated to leave our Fairfield preschool and I was daunted by the prospect of doing yet another search for a new place. When I came to Alphabet Academy for a visit, my concerns immediately evaporated. Just the building itself is so welcoming; from playground to classrooms, I could tell that this was a very special, child-centered place. I received a very thorough introduction to the school that day as well as a very thorough but uncomplicated application process. When it was all said and done, I felt that Alphabet Academy really knew me and my son, I really knew them. However, it wasn’t until school actually started that I realized how my job allowed for an amazing opportunity for my son that we never would have had being so far away in Fairfield. The learning environment at Alphabet Academy is unlike any preschool I’ve seen, and with my three children I’ve experienced three other different schools. I wish all of my sons could have come to Alphabet Academy. The class tackles a particular topic each week that covers a range of disciplines from space to bees to vegetable sample week to traveling to other countries. Every day I am astonished by something my son has learned at school: “Mom, did you know your nose and ears are made of cartilage?” is one of my favorites. They work on letter recognition, calendar months, numbers, and basic math. They go outside often for exploratory hikes as well as play in the playground. The teachers are all incredibly gifted and caring; they all clearly know my son and always have something interesting to tell me about his day. My son absolutely loves it there and I love him there as well. I only wish that we had discovered it sooner.
Michelle M., parent
June 2011. When we had to send our preschool-age daughter to school for full days, we looked for a school that would complement our family’s educational journey. We regard preschool age as a valuable “window of opportunity” for learning, as was increasingly reflected in our daughter, whose curiosity shot up quickly. She was constantly experimenting and was overtly happy with new stimulations. In Alphabet Academy we found everything we were looking for and more. The list is long- I chose to bring here the Alphabet attributes that are most important for our family:
First and foremost- continuous home-school connection. We love Alphabet’s wholistic approach (I would call it a “familistic approach” :), which recognizes that each child is part of a wider family circle. Our daughter spends many hours at school, but the Alphabet staff makes sure this does not mean that she spends many hours away from home. Her school experiences constantly communicate with her home experiences and the school provides ample opportunities to bring her home into the classroom. Everyone benefits!
To name a few activities: her teachers send a monthly Newsletter to announce each month’s class plans. We share this with her and watch how it prepares her for what’s coming and how it builds her excitement and motivation; Alphabet maintains a very active and informative blog and a FB page. Good for parent-school communication, but also for the underrated parent-parent communication, and an excellent tool to keep the wider family (aka “the grandparents”) informed of what’s happening at school; the school encourages parent participation year-round. The teachers have welcomed our own ideas into the classroom, and at the same time they constantly initiate events for potential parent participation (we have been asked to bring to the classroom family pictures, pet pictures, and different objects, according to learning themes throughout last year); preschoolers start their day at circle time, where they are encouraged to share experiences from home, which are often celebrated by the staff (e.g., the birth of siblings, visiting grandparents, etc). Our daughter was so proud when a picture of her and her new baby sister was attached to the parent-board at the entrance to class.
Second- Alphabet staff come up with the greatest ideas for playtime, storytime and outdoor-time. We have watched in awe how they have instilled a passion for cooking and gardening in our daughter over the past year (two things she would never had gotten from home :) The classroom environment/design is stimulating and constantly changes throughout the year, according to preplanned learning themes, keeping our daughter interested, curious, learning, and always looking for adjectives (when we ask her what’s new at school). The teachers work hard to innovate and recreate and this can only be attributed to the genuine satisfaction they draw from their work. It shows!
Last, but definitely not least- our daughter’s teachers make sure she perceives learning as a fun experience. The educational toys they choose to introduce to her, the book they read to her (so many!), and the activities they challenge her with, all appear as happy and fun stories that she tells us after school. Last month she learned how to do research (!) – as part of her classroom’s spring planting theme, the teachers planted pea seeds with the kids and followed up on the development of the roots, stem and leaves every few days, writing down the observations that the kids have made. The kids had lots of fun discovering the growth of the pea.
I can go on and on, but then no one will ever read this ;) To make a long story short- Alphabet has become our daughter’s home away from home- warm, welcoming, and intellectually nourishing. We can testify that Alphabet teachers take their work very seriously and are indeed on an educational mission to “change the world, one child at a time” – as declared to be the school’s vision on its website.
Noa K., parent
June 2011. I chose Alphabet Academy because I wanted my children in a family style, nurturing atmosphere but with the social and educational benefits of a formal childcare center. I am not only pleased with our experience, I have been overwhelmed by how both of my children thrived there. From basic respect for their friends and the environment to their factual knowledge of math, science, language and literature, my children surprise me every day with what the fabulous teachers at Alphabet Academy have taught them. It is a remarkable place. As a mother, I am peaceful when I leave my children there for the day knowing that they always enjoy themselves. As a pediatrician, I am consciously aware of the fact that Alphabet Academy is unconditionally dedicated to the social, emotional and intellectual development of every single child who attends. I recommend this program without a single hesitation.
May 2011. We choose Alphabet Academy after careful consideration of many different options. We were looking for childcare options for our infant when I returned to work after my maternity leave…We were impressed with the interview process. The Director made sure to meet with both myself and my husband. She made time to see us in the evening so that it would work well with our family. She not only worked hard to answer our questions, but she made sure that we met the teachers and toured the facility. The facility itself was extremely clean. It was also creative and clearly designed with children in mind. The teachers clearly have a passion for children and creating a magical environment for children to grow. We were impressed not only with the infant area, but with the entire facility. It was a place where we could envision our child thriving throughout her pre-school years. As we spoke with the Director of the center, it was clear that they were looking for a long term relationship with us as well. They were communicative and responsive throughout the process.
Our daughter has been at Alphabet Academy for six months. The experience has been extremely positive. Her teachers clearly care about her and her well being. From her first day, she has been happy during her time there. We receive lots of feedback daily about how she is doing so that our partnership in her care is positive and seamless. As first time parents, the teachers have been very helpful to us and given us lots of hints that have helped us be even stronger parents. The teachers have also been responsive to our plan for care. They respect our decisions and work with us to make sure her care is in alignment with our wishes. It truly feels like a partnership.
Tansley and Scott S., parents
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