Teachers inspire their students in many ways, and for Shannon Dickey-Bridgman, her decision to pursue a career in education was fueled by her fifth grade teacher who served as her mentor and fostered a positive learning environment and sense of belonging. Being raised by a hard-working single mom only furthered her commitment to give back and inspire future generations of leaders through education. As the first student to get to school and the last to leave, she had more time to spend with her teachers building strong, meaningful relationships. She even had the opportunity to experience firsthand the responsibilities of teachers once students leave for the day. From helping build bulletin boards to preparing the next day’s lessons, Dickey-Bridgman was offered a glimpse into the world of teaching at an early age.
Preschool (18 Months - 4 Years Old)
The NSU University School Preschool provides early care and education for children 18 months through 4 years in a safe, structured, and supportive environment. Teachers use the 5C Curriculum Framework to help children reach challenging but achievable goals in the domains of critical thinking, concept development, communication, cooperation, and creativity.
- Teachers plan age-appropriate experiences that focus on language development, math concepts, letter recognition, phonemic awareness, and handwriting.
- Children’s inventive ideas and interests inspire in-depth projects and investigations that engage their critical thinking and curiosity.
- Open-ended questions are used to invite children’s participation in rich discussion with peers and adults.
- Indoor and outdoor materials and equipment support the development of fine- and gross-motor skills.
- Children participate in activities that foster independence and encourage positive social interactions with others.
- A range of assessment tools are used for planning, decision-making, and communicating with families.
All teachers have a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and participate in ongoing, targeted professional development throughout the academic year where they are supported, challenged and inspired to design and introduce intellectually stimulating curriculum experiences. Teachers also develop respectful relationships with families and encourage two-way communication using interactive applications such as Class Dojo.
NSU University School is accredited by Cognia and the Florida Council of Independent Schools (FCIS). NSU University School’s Preschool programs are also accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). Our programs are among less than six percent of early childhood programs nationally that have achieved NAEYC accreditation, which represents the mark of quality in education. As the only university-based NAEYC accredited early learning center in Broward County, the faculty and staff of NSU University School Preschool continually work to ensure all children receive the highest quality early care and education.
NSU University School is also a member of the National Association of Independent Schools, the Educational Records Bureau, The College Board, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the Association of College Counselors in Independent Schools, the National Association of Laboratory Schools, the Independent School Experiential Educational Network, the National Coalition of Campus Children’s Centers, and the American Camp Association.
NSU Connection and Visionary Founder:
NSU University School’s Preschool, located on the campus of Nova Southeastern University, provides our students and teachers with a wide range of resources and opportunities. Preschool staff work closely with the NSU School of Psychology who offer occupational therapy, physical therapy, and speech and language therapy to children who may benefit from these services. Our administrative staff is continually researching best practices in the area of child development and early education in an effort to bring those ideas to the forefront in the Preschool classrooms. Our connection to NSU also provides a number of hands-on learning experiences for students and as they move on to the Lower, Middle, and Upper Schools. There’s much for them to look forward to including visits to the Alvin Sherman Library, hearing from guest speakers, and taking virtual field trips to places on campus like the Oceanography Center and campus gardens, internships and fellowships with NSU experts, mock trials in the NSU courtroom, and more! As parents, you will have access to NSU experts in a variety of early childhood fields. Our connection to NSU and the experiential learning opportunities that are made possible through this partnership are all part of what we call “the USchool experience.”
The Preschool preserves the legacy and spirit of Dr. Marilyn “Mickey” Segal who was a visionary and advocate for young children. Over her 30-year tenure, Mickey created the first Broward County Head Start, the NSU University School K-12 Program, and the Family Center at NSU (which is now known as the Preschool) where she served as dean, educating children and families, mentoring future professionals and serving the community.
For more information about our Preschool, click here.
Since moving to Florida in 1988, Preschool teacher Monica Polanin has spent the past 35 years paving the way for the next generation of leaders. Her commitment to her students’ well-being and overall academic and social-emotional development has positively influenced countless lives and helped children ages two to four build a strong foundation for future academic success.
We are excited to announce that our Preschool's outdoor living lab and gardens have been recognized as a Certified Schoolyard Habitat by the National Wildlife Federation! This designation is granted to schools that create havens for wildlife that provide the essential elements for healthy and sustainable wildlife habitats. We look forward to continuing to use our school garden as a powerful educational tool where our youngest Sharks can enjoy learning outdoors and connect with nature.
NSU University School’s Homecoming canned goods collection was a huge success! More than 800 canned goods and non-perishable items were collected from our families and delivered to a new food pantry in Overtown sponsored by the non-profit organization, Food Rescue US - SouthFlorida. USchool’s Director of Parent and Alumni Relations Wynne Avellanet, who volunteers as the Food Rescue US Broward County Coordinator, stocked the shelves with the support of other organization members. The pantry was unveiled to food insecure residents living in Overtown who were invited to “shop” the pantry and gather items to take home.
Whether you are a new or returning Shark, you may be wondering what to expect at NSU University School. To give you insight, we asked students to share one piece of advice they would give to future students. Who better to get advice from than USchool students themselves?