Towsley Children's House provides a warm and welcoming environment for children three months of age to kindergarten-eligible.
In all classes, the curriculum is designed to nurture social behavior and enhance the child's self-concept. The developmentally appropriate program includes a balance of child- and teacher-initiated activities built into a well-defined daily routine. The play-based curriculum is designed by teams of professional teachers in a manner that is ever evolving and adapting to meet the needs and interests of the children. Attention is given to social, cognitive and physical development. Children of all ages enjoy large and small group activities including music, art, cooking, science projects and enriching field trips.
Parent-teacher communication, both spontaneous and planned, is recognized as being essential for the overall success of our program.
We have two forest classrooms available for preschool children.
The U-M Children's Centers are a part of University Human Resources. Jennie McAlpine, Senior Director, has oversight of the three U-M Ann Arbor Children's Centers.
The center environment supports each child's emerging identity by fostering cognitive, emotional, social and physical growth in an atmosphere that promotes dignity, respect and nurturing.
Our teachers see each child as a unique individual whose potential blossoms best in a child-centered and developmentally sound learning environment focused on the whole child. Multi-age classrooms allow children to experience leadership and nurturing skills and provide a real-life community where they can grow together at their own rate and ability level. Children are often able to remain in the same classroom with the same teachers from year to year to create a sense of security and consistency. Our Core Values are:
Community (Anti-bias Education)
We foster relationships between children, adults, and families to create an inclusive environment where individuality and differences are embraced.
Play (Play-based Approach)
We believe play is essential to children’s growth, development, and understanding of the world around them.
Nature (Nature-centered Program)
We provide children with connections to nature to experience all of Earth’s wonders.
Inquiry (Project-based Approach)
We create an environment where children are encouraged to ask questions, investigate, collect information and represent their understanding.
The Towsley Children's House serves as a resource for research and training for the University of Michigan community, and provides a vibrant setting for research, observation, and training projects. These projects have spanned a range of topics from children's cognitive development to preschool teaching methods and have included individuals from a spectrum of disciplines including medicine, public health, nursing, psychology, linguistics, social work, music, and education.
Teacher Qualifications and Staff-to-Child Ratios
Center staff include teachers and associate teachers, many with degrees in Early Childhood Education and/or Child Development. The retention of the professional staff is high and many staff members have been with the program for over five years. The teaching staff is complemented by undergraduate psychology practicum students, temporary student employees, student teachers, or graduate-level researchers.
Each group of children is supervised by a staff of professionally trained teachers including a teacher, an associate teacher, and university students. The adult/child ratio for each classroom ranges between 1:3 to 1:8, depending on the ages of the children.
Hours of Operation
8:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday (our Maple class meets 8:45 a.m.-5:30 p.m., and our Oak class meets 8:30 a.m.-5:15 p.m.)
Location and Contact Information
Towsley Children's House
710 South Forest
Ann Arbor, MI 48104
For questions about enrollment, email Erin Goatley or call 734-615-2775.
Submitting an application will place your child on the waitlist for all three University of Michigan Ann Arbor Children's Centers. You will be notified of openings at all centers when your child is eligible.