Copyright 2016. Watchung Cooperative Preschool. All rights reserved.
A community learning through play:
connecting parents, teachers & children
The Co-op’s nurturing and skillful staff is regularly hailed by our parents as one of the strengths of our school. Many of our teachers and assistants have been part of the Watchung Co-op for more than 15 years and these dedicated professionals are committed to the children, parents, and philosophy of our school.
Our teachers have extensive professional experience and backgrounds in early childhood education, including certification, and they have all sent their own children to the Co-op, so they have experienced preschool from the perspective of both parent and teacher. Every day, they bring their knowledge, caring, creativity, and warmth to the benefit of our children and families.
Our assistant teachers serve in various roles at our school, which makes them familiar to all students. Whether it's assisting in the classrooms, supervising lunch, helping out in summer camp or greeting students at the door, our wonderful assistants are indispensable to the smooth operation of our school.
Christi Porter Johnson
Lead Teacher, Discovery Pre-K
Teacher, Creative Play
Christi was introduced to the Co-op in 1998, when she completed her practicum here for Montclair State University's M.A. in Teaching/Early Childhood. She has taught the Co-op's mixed-age summer camp (to rave reviews from students and parents alike) and works with many of those children again throughout the year, providing them with a comfortable transition from one class to the next.
Christi discovered her love for teaching preschoolers during her previous career as a dance instructor (her undergraduate degree is in Dance), and was inspired to return to school for her Masters in Teaching.
She looks forward to the Co-op parents' active involvement in her classrooms, having observed first-hand during her practicum the positive impact that their presence can have on a child's first school experience.
MaryAnne enjoys working with the children, and marvels at how much they learn. Her warmth and cheerfulness endears her to them and helps guide them through their day. She joined the staff in 1998.
Jennifer has been part of the co-op since 2010 when she enrolled her oldest child. Since then, she has seen her youngest child through the school and served on the Executive Board as Board Secretary for 3 years. She joined the staff during the 2015/16 school year and couldn't be happier spending time with all the kids at the Co-op. She can often be found at the play dough table taking sculpture requests or sitting on the carpet reading a favorite book to one or more kids.
Anneliese joined the Co-op’s teaching staff in 2012. As a former parent at the Co-op, Anneliese was always very involved in the school and embraced the cooperative philosophy wholeheartedly. Her enthusiasm and involvement in the school was motivating for the entire community.
Anneliese was also firmly committed to the philosophy of play-based learning, which made her a perfect fit for the Co-op. Her classes always reflect her enthusiasm for exploration and she frequently takes groups out for neighborhood walks to explore the local community and nature all around us.
Locally and professionally, Anneliese taught preschool at the Ben Samuels Children’s Center at Montclair State University and has teaching experience working with young children in schools throughout New York City. She has a Master’s Degree (with high honors) in early childhood education from Hunter College and is New Jersey State Certified.
Janet joined the staff in 2008 after seeing two daughters through the Co-op where she enjoyed her time co-oping and serving on the Board. A nurse who has previously worked in trauma/critical care, Janet enjoys reading just about anything (mostly limited to children's literature in recent years) and loves animals.
Marianne has been part of the Watchung Co-op since 2002, when she enrolled the first of her own three kids at the school and became committed to the philosophy of learning through play. As a Co-op parent, Marianne was an active member of the school and served on the Board as treasurer.
Marianne returned to the Co-op in 2009 as part of the staff as the maternity leave replacement teacher in our afternoon Pre-K class. She remained in our Pre-K class, going on to serve as an aide to a special-needs child and then as a class assistant before becoming the teacher of our Creative Play class in 2014.
A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology, Marianne brings all of her artistic talent and creativity to her classroom, developing imaginative projects to stimulate and engage our littlest Co-op kids. Her warm and caring nature is just what it takes to nurture their socialization and separation skills.