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.
DINO TEACHER - Ms. Julie
Julie Luncher returns to RSCP for another year as co-teacher for the Dino Class. Julie received her Bachelor’s Degree in Elementary Education from Gannon University and her Masters in Curriculum Instruction from McDaniel University. Early in her career she spent ten years teaching 3rd and 4th grade, as well as being a student teacher supervisor at St. Mary’s College. While caring for her three children she spent time tutoring, substituting, and working on the Early Childhood Advisory Committee for Arlington Public Schools. Ms. Julie returned to the classroom in 2009 at Faith Lutheran Preschool and fell in love with teaching on Early Childhood level. She has taught 4/5 year olds at Arlington Unitarian Cooperative Preschool, the Dino Class at RSCP and The Country Day. She is thrilled to be back at Rock Spring for her second year teaching the Tiger Class.
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 8 years!
DINO TEACHER - Ms. Debbie
Debbie McCrery is entering her fourth year as our Dino teacher at RSCP. Graduating from American University in 1992 with a BA in Elementary Education, Debbie brings over 25 years of experience in the education field. She taught Kindergarten for 10 years, including 7 years at Arlington Science Focus. She stepped away from classroom teaching to raise her 3 children, however, remained involved at her children’s schools volunteering in many ways. Debbie jumped back into classroom teaching at Westover Baptist Preschool, leading the 5-day, 4-year-old program for a few years and then taught The Science Seed- science enrichment classes- throughout many Arlington preschools.
She has found that Rock Spring Cooperative Preschool is a good fit, offering a balance of teaching, discovery, community, and outdoor experiences. Ms. Debbie’s family includes her husband, Marc, 3 children- two at Yorktown High School, and 1 in college-a sweet dog named Blue, a spunky, playful dog named Minnie, 2 snuggly cats, Murphy and Betty, and a mischievous cat, Aldi. The McCrerys are active in many sports, activities, and love to explore different hikes with their dogs. Ms. Debbie looks forward to another fabulous year exploring and learning with the Dinos.
TEACHER AIDE - Ms. Rkia
Rkia Raiq is returning this year as a Class Aide. Ms. 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.
PONY TEACHER - Ms. Saira
Saira Smith (Ms. Saira) returning to Rock Spring to teach our Pony Class this year. Ms. Saira previously 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!
BEAR TEACHER - Ms. Maggi
Maggi Holloway will be teaching the Bear classes. This is her first year as a Rock Spring teacher. For the past three years, she was Board secretary. Before getting involved with Rock Spring, she taught in Prince William County. She took a break to take care of her three kids, all of whom are Rock Springers (two have graduated, and Harry is a Dino this school year). She is excited to return to teaching and 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.
PENGUIN TEACHER - Ms. Jennifer
Jennifer Wallace is looking forward to another year at RSCP as the Penguin 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 Penguin parents to create a warm, nurturing, stimulating environment where children feel free to create and explore.
BEAVER TEACHER - Ms. Martha
Ms. Martha has been working at RSCP for the past 21 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).
DIRECTOR - Christine Ammirati
Christine Ammirati is very excited to return to the Rock Spring community having first been a Dinosaur parent in the mid 90s and later serving 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.