RESOURCE AIDE - Ms. Lora
RSCP is excited to welcome Lora Strott as a Resource Aide this year!
We are located in the campus-like setting of Rock Spring Congregational United Church of Christ. The classrooms are all on the first floor of a new wing built in 1995. Each classroom has specific areas for circle time and quiet reading, role-playing areas with dress-up props and kitchens, art project areas, and much more. Each child also has a “cubby” area labeled with his or her name or symbol to encourage independence. The older children’s classrooms have areas for class pets and science experiments. In addition to these facilities, the students regularly use two other special rooms–the Block Room and Big Muscle Room–and the Playground.
The Block Room
The Block Room is so named for its expansive inventory of blocks of all shapes and sizes. From huge wooden blocks, large enough to pose gross motor challenges for our youngest students, to small Duplo blocks, this room is all about building, imagination, and cooperation. It encourages individual artistry, conceptual thinking, quantitative analysis, physical development, language development, and social skills. In addition, the room also houses the school library for children and adults and other resources that allow children to extend their learning experiences beyond their classrooms. The students regularly visit the Block Room as part of their weekly routine.
Like the Block Room, the Playground is an extension of the classroom curriculum. Children most often engage in free-choice play that involves the use of the big muscles. The playground is adjacent to the classroom building and has a climbing and sliding structure, swings, sandbox, sidewalk area for riding and pushing toys, a garden, a large wooden playhouse, and a central grassy area. Well equipped with balls, bikes, and other outdoor toys, the Playground is a wonderful area not only to develop gross motor coordination but also to practice social skills in a different setting.
The Big Muscle Room
We are very fortunate to have access to a large multipurpose room located in Neighborhood House, across the grassy area from the classrooms. The Big Muscle Room provides a large area for the children to run, jump, ride, and climb on those days when the weather does not permit outside play. Equipped with a climbing/slide structure, riding toys, bikes, balls, parachutes, and more, the Big Muscle room provides yet an additional learning area for our students.
PONY ASSISTANT TEACHER - Ms. Ana
Ana Payne is new to RSCP this year and looking forward to returning to teaching after being a stay at home mom for the past 4 years. Her son William will be a Dino this fall, and when she's not teaching, she is a stay at home mom to Will (4 years), Claire (18 months) and Emma (3rd grader at Discovery Elementary). Ana was born and raised in nearby Falls Church and graduated with her Bachelor's in English from Christopher Newport University. She earned a Master's in Education from Marymount University and holds an active PK-6 teaching license from the state of Virginia. Ana has worked in elementary schools, a Primrose School, and most recently ran a local Arlington preschool playgroup with 20 families. Ana is married to Steven, an active duty Air Force pilot, and enjoys walking to RSCP with William from their house. The ability to be part of a close-knit community of families while being an involved mother and educator is a dream come true, and she's looking forward to making more connections with other families.
RESOURCE AIDE - Ms. Janice
Janice McCoy is returning to Rock Spring as a Teaching Assistant (filling in for co-opers, subbing as needed, helping out on the playground, etc) after being a Rock Spring parent for five years. Before having kids, who are now 6 and 8, she lived in New York City, working as a college writing instructor and museum educator. She has a degree in English and Cognitive Science from the University of Virginia, and grew up locally in Fairfax County, the daughter of a preschool teacher. She looks forward to a year of fun and learning with the Rock Spring community.
BEAR TEACHER - Ms. Maggi
Maggi Holloway will be teaching the Bear classes. This is her second year as a Rock Spring teacher. Before that, she served as Board Secretary while her children attended RSCP. Before getting involved with Rock Spring, she taught in Prince William County, then took a break to take care of her three kids, all of whom are Rock Spring graduates. She is looking forward to a great year!
Our teachers meet all qualifications of the Arlington County and State Licensing requirements and all hold certifications in First Aid, CPR, and Medication Administration. RSCP teachers have extensive experience teaching young learners and continue to grow in their knowledge through professional coursework each year. Our teachers are qualified, dedicated, and truly love teaching young children.
PONY TEACHER - Ms. Saira
Saira Smith is returning to Rock Spring to teach our Pony Class this year. Ms. Saira has been the lead teacher for both 2-year-old and 3-year-old classes at Rock Spring and was our Resource Teacher from 2017 - 2020. Prior to that, Saira's son, Parker, attended RSCP in the Bear and Bunny classes. She also served on the board as Secretary. Saira has an extensive work history in the service and restaurant industry. Saira grew up in Arlington and continues to live nearby with her husband and son Parker. Saira has a wealth of knowledge and experience that she will bring to another fun year with the Ponies!
PENGUIN TEACHER - Ms. Stephanie
Stephanie Rivera will be teaching the Penguin class this year. This is her first year teaching at RSCP. Stephanie has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Michigan, and a Masters in Library Science from Wayne State University. She spent over 12 years working as a children's librarian in several public libraries around the country before taking time off to care for her three children. After substituting at RSCP last year, the timing felt right to join the staff in this role. Stephanie looks forward to creating a welcoming and engaging environment for the Penguins and their families.
DIRECTOR - Christine Ammirati
Christine Ammirati is very excited to return to the Rock Spring community for another year! She was a Dinosaur parent in the mid 90s and later served as RSCP Director from 2000-2009. Mrs. Ammirati graduated from the University of Pennsylvania with a Wharton School Bachelor of Science degree and a B.A. in Chinese. As a State Department spouse, Mrs. Ammirati has lived and taught in China, Taiwan, New York, San Francisco, and Hong Kong where she chaired the learning-through-play Preschool Playgroups Association for 2 years. Mrs. Ammirati left RSCP to accompany her husband Joe to Williamsburg, VA where she earned a Masters in Education from the College of William and Mary. She has taught 3rd and 1st grade in Williamsburg, 2nd grade in Marin County, California, and most recently taught kindergarten at Kent Gardens Elementary in McLean for 7 years. Christine and Joe live with their 2 dogs in Falls Church City and Warrenton. Their daughter and son both live nearby in Arlington.
ASSISTANT TO THE DIRECTOR - Amy Ruff
Ms. Amy serves as the Assistant to the Director. She earned a B.A. in Psychology and a B.A. in Elementary Education in 1999 at Clemson University. Following graduation, she taught 5th grade at Blessed Sacrament School in Washington, D.C., for six years. While raising her three children, Allison, Will & Finn, she served as a co-oping parent at Dulin Cooperative Preschool, as well as the Membership and Safety Board Member and a Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council Delegate. Amy served as the Events Lead and Membership Director for the state of Virginia for Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America from 2013 to 2017. Currently, she is a trained Orton-Gillingham practitioner as well as the Office Manager for an educational therapy practice, Prepped Learning LLC in Falls Church. Amy is a notary and happy to find a time to notarize school or personal documents for you (unless you're leaving her your vast fortune and in that case, the law says you will have to find a non-partial notary!). She has been working in the Director’s office on most Tuesdays and Wednesdays for the last 9 years!
DINOSAUR ASSISTANT TEACHER - Ms. Rkia
Rkia Raiq is returning this year as a the Dinosaur Class Assistant Teacher. Rkia has been involved with the RSCP community for over twenty years, first as a nanny for two former RSCP families where she actively participated in the classroom as both a co-oper and substitute teacher. Ms. Rkia has also led RSCP's Summer Camp for several years. Her many years of experience with young learners and her love of all children make her an excellent assistant in the classroom.
DINOSAUR TEACHER - Ms. Jennifer
Jennifer Wallace is looking forward to another year at RSCP as the Dinosaur teacher this fall. Ms. Jennifer earned a B.A. in Early Childhood Education from the University of South Carolina and a teaching certification for preschool through 4th grade. She taught a mixed age 3-5 year-old class at Higher Horizons Head Start in Falls Church for 9 years. From 2002-2014, Ms. Jennifer taught at Falls Church McLean Children's Center, teaching a 4-year-old preschool class. She joined RSCP in 2015. She uses an interactive, hands-on approach to play-based learning. She is looking forward to collaborating with families to create a warm, nurturing, stimulating environment where children feel free to create and explore.
BUNNY TEACHER - Ms. Svitlana
Svitlana Pimenov will be teaching our Bunny class this year. She's delighted to be a part of the RSCP team. With a wealth of experience as an AuPair and full time nanny, Svitlana has nurtured young minds and hearts, fostering learning and creativity through play. Her journey has led her from Ukraine, where she earned a master's degree in science, to the US where she embraces the joys of motherhood with one of our wonderful students. She's excited to bring her passion for art, cultural insights, and a mother's care to create an engaging and supportive environment for your children.
BEAVER TEACHER - Ms. Martha
Ms. Martha has been working at RSCP for the past 22 years as both the Bunny/Beaver Teacher and the Panda/Polar Bear teacher. Ms. Martha, who has a BS in Spanish from State University of New York at Brockport, began working with children in the 1990’s at Head Start in NY State, then moved to the DC area where she worked as a lead teacher for 2-year-olds at First Baptist in DC. She later worked for Arlington DHS as a resource mother for pregnant teens and as a lead teacher for Project Family. Ms. Martha has also worked as a second language tester and interpreter for APS. When not working at RSCP, Ms. Martha works for Westover Baptist as a lead teacher for 3-year-olds. Ms. Martha enjoys spending time with her family– her husband, her daughter, and son (an alum of RSCP Beaver class 2001).