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Posted on Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 5:59 a.m.

Allen Creek Preschool in Ann Arbor looking to expand

By Danielle Arndt

An Ann Arbor preschool will be doubling its capacity if it gets approval for a proposed addition.

Allen Creek Preschool, located at 2350 Miller Ave., submitted a special exception use (SEU) application and site plan to the city of Ann Arbor this week for a 929-square-foot, single-story classroom addition to the west side of its building.


Allen Creek Preschool wants to build an addition on the west side (rear) of its building.

Angela J. Cesere |

The new classroom would be dedicated for Allen Creek’s early Fives program.

The extra space would allow the school to safely have up to 50 students in the building at once, according to documents filed with Ann Arbor Planning Services. This would double the number of students that the building currently can accommodate.

No changes would be made to the school’s parking lot. Additional street parking is available on Franklin Street with sidewalk access to the school.

Allen Creek also has an agreement with the Korean United Methodist Church, at 1536 Franklin St., for parking.

The school’s SEU application states all preschool staff currently park at the church. Additional off-street parking along church property also is available for Allen Creek to use.

The preschool staggers its class times to provide for smooth traffic flow on school grounds and Miller Avenue.

The school's classes also start after Ann Arbor Public Schools’ classes, so traffic does not overlap with Ann Arbor buses or parents dropping children off at school.

Margy Long, director of Washtenaw County’s Success by 6 Great Start Collaborative, said Washtenaw County’s free and publically funded early-childhood education programs, such as Head Start and Great Start Readiness, are always "maxed out."

She said 90 percent of all brain development occurs within the first few years of life and not enrolling children in a preschool program can cause serious delays, especially in vocabulary growth.

Allen Creek was established in 1994 and enrolled its first class in 1996, according to its website. The private preschool now offers nine different tuition-based programs for children through second grade.

Parents can attend classes with their infant or toddler. Tuition for those programs ranges from $1,550 to $3,850 per year.

The cost of the traditional 3- and 4-year-olds preschool program at Allen Creek is $6,150 per year. Early Fives costs $7,450.

Allen Creek also partners with local professionals — psychologists, psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and social workers — who volunteer at the school as family consultants to help ensure “the healthy growth of children in an environment that promotes emotional, intellectual and interpersonal understanding,” its website says.

School officials with Allen Creek Preschool did not return phone calls seeking comment about the expansion.

Staff reporter Danielle Arndt covers K-12 education for Follow her on Twitter @DanielleArndt or email her at



Tue, Mar 6, 2012 : 5:36 p.m.

This is great news. As a long standing alumni mom, I can attest to the fact that my 3 children thoroughly enjoyed every single day at this school. Parenting does not come with a handbook. Even for those of us who think we are highly educated or well versed in parenting or consider ourselves creative teachers, having the access to not only experts in the field of early childhood education but also to the opportunity to discuss with a community of devoted parents wanting to learn more about their child, this institution provides this unique opportunity to truly live the notion that it "takes a village" to raise a child. Teachers, Parents, and the Volunteer Consultants support each other throughout this process. It is true that most of us turned out "just fine" without pre-school, but our children are faced with increased pressures to perform academically as soon as they enter Kindergarten. This school not only helps to navigate academic development within an emerging curriculum for each individual child but it most importantly gives children and parents the confidence to understand emotional and social development. I can personally attest that my children came out of that school incredibly confident kids ready to face any challenge put forth in front of them. As parents, we also gained confidence in our parenting abilities to guide our children through any challenge we have faced. It was the combination of mutual respect and willingness to learn among child, parent, teachers and consultants that makes this school incredibly special. Kudos to the board and supporters for moving forward to expand its services to others!

Anne R.

Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 4:55 p.m.

It's well established by respected scientific studies that much crucial brain development occurs in the early years of life. Children's brain's abilities expand greatly when they are engaged in active communication back and forth with parents, sibs, and carers. An active, supportive pre-school environment can help a lot. Plunking toddlers to sit passively in front of a TV set at home does very little to help that child prepare for an active high-functioning life. We need to provide ways for children to explore, to find things out, to discover how things work in their environment. Curiosity and the urge to discover--those are perhaps the most important aspects of a human mind that will take a person far in later life. So delays in "vocabulary growth" are accompanied by crucial delays in nurturing a sense of agency, of being able and interested in doing things and learning things.

Anne R.

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:35 a.m.

I agree. I didn't mean to imply that it's either pre-school or the TV set. I meant to say that such "discovery learning" can be strongly provided at home, as well as in a good pre-school. Some pre-schools these days in fact are succumbing to the "sit still and memorize" approach that undermines curiosity and eagerness to learn.


Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 1:32 a.m.

All of those things can be done outside of an institutional setting. It is highly insulting to suggest that parents who stay home with their kids instead of placing them in the care of others at two, three, or four years old are "plunking" them in front of a tv. Many people don't need analysts guiding their child rearing. If it helps you, great, but don't judge those who choose to parent and educate their kids through other methods.


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 5:39 p.m.

I agree, but do take offense that you assume kids who do not attend preschool are sitting in front of a TV.


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 1:52 p.m.

I wonder if they are expecting to see increased enrollment due to the lack of half-day kindergarten options available in the surrounding areas. Honestly, what are families to do who believe half-day kindergarten is a better option for their kid?

Constance Colthorp Amrine

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 11:13 p.m.

My son did the Fives program in at Allen Creek, and we loved it. (Girls in the class loved it too.) From here some went on to 1st and some went on to Kindergarten. It's nice to have that choice. We chose take it slowly and give him room to be more confident and comfortable and ready to learn more. He was academically ready for K, but it felt like he needed something smaller and more nurturing to start. I'm really pleased we did this, and he's truly excelling now, two years later . I encourage anyone with the slightest inclination to wait to trust your instincts. Take small steps. They might be "fine" but if "fine" isn't good enough, then there's time to wait. Plus you'll have an extra year to save for college. :)

Ann English

Sun, Mar 4, 2012 : 12:40 a.m.

The idea of offering classes to Early Fives gives me the impression that they're seeking boys who aren't ready for kindergarten when they turn five years old in the fall months. Parents find out by experience if their sons aren't ready for kindergarten at age 4 years 10 months and then pull them out and re-enroll them the following year.


Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 1:34 p.m.

The school is not looking to do anything. The school cannot see. It has no eyes. The school cannot look at or look to do anything. The phase "looking to do" doesn't make grammatical sense and should be banned from everyone's, particularly journalists, vocabulary. The school seeks to expand. The school wants to expand. The school plans to expand. Please, please, please annarbordotcom, please teach your writers some common sense communication skills instead of lowering the bar to teenage street slanguage. Then proofread their copy like real editors do.

Richard Wickboldt

Sat, Mar 3, 2012 : 1:23 p.m.

"She said 90 percent of all brain development occurs within the first few years of life and not enrolling children in a preschool program can cause serious delays, especially in vocabulary growth." Gosh when I was young decades ago. Parents didn't send their children to pre - pre school. We all seemed to develop just fine. The results of all the attention to development " within the first few years of life" these past couple of decades doesn't seem to bear fruit. On the other end of the educational track. College students are now taking five and six years to complete their undergraduate degree. Some reports indicate the reason is the students want to enjoy the experience. Make the time more of a social experience. Looks like the play time deprived during the "the first few years of life" is being recaptured when in college and free from their parents shackles. Ironic. Pay thousands when very young and then have to pay extra tens of thousands to get the college degree. I bet if you invested the cost as noted above; at college age the savings would pay for most of college costs.