Clarence Co-Operative Nursery School UPK Program

Our Teacher
Melissa Kirisits


Mrs. Kirisits is the Universal Pre-K teacher at the CCNS.  She formerly worked in the KenTon Central School District teaching Universal Pre-K and also has worked in multiple school districts as a substitute teacher.  Mrs. Kirisits has her Bachelor's degree in Early Childhood and Childhood education and also her Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction.  She lives in Clarence Center with her husband, dog, daughter Hailey, and son Alex.  Reading books is her passion and she loves to spread the love for books to her students!

Her teaching philosophy involves teaching students to become successful and positive learners through creativity and critical thinking.  It is important to create an environment where each child can showcase his or her ability to think outside the box and help others.  She loves involving students with books, active exploration, and hands-on learning experiences, as well as providing time for play and socialization.  Play time is essential in Pre-K!  Who doesn't like to play with friends and learn at the same time?!  Mrs. Kirisits loves to learn through play.



TEACHER'S AIDE/Director:  Laurie Miller

 Mrs. Laurie Miller formerly served as co-director/co-teacher of the CCNS Universal Pre-School Class.  She is now filling a teacher aide role in the UPK Classroom.  She also is the director and the lead teacher for the 3 Year-Old and 4 Year-Old Programs at the Co-Op.  To read about her teaching credentials and philosophy, please refer to the web page entitled, "Our Teachers."  She is a wonderful asset in the classroom!

TEACHER'S AIDE:  Lynn Thomas

Mrs. Lynn Thomas received her Bachelor of Science Degree in Elementary Education (Nursery-6) from SUNY Oswego.  Upon graduation, she did some substitute teaching and then taught the 3-year old program at Cheektowaga Cooperative Nursery.  She has two lovely children & her family resides here in Clarence.  She has been a teacher aide for the CCNS UPK Program since the program's beginning.  We are so fortunate to have her on our teaching team!


This year in pre-school will be a tremendous time of growth for your little one.  We will be working on using a proper pencil/crayon grasp, using scissors properly, identifying & writing letters, learning sound-to-letter matches (early phonics), identifying & writing numbers, counting with one-to-one correspondence, early math concepts, recording numeric data, & learning about patterns.  We are big believers in a literature-rich & print-rich environment.  Story comprehension & literature response will be an important part of our reading experiences.  Speaking & listening skills are essential to a child’s success in school & we will be developing these skills in a nurturing environment.  Scientific investigations will also be a part of the curriculum.  Early social studies concepts, basic computer-use, developing gross motor skills, music, & the arts will all be included in the curriculum as well.  

All of the Clarence School District UPK sites have adopted the curricular program, “BIG DAY for pre-k” (a pre-school curriculum produced by Scholastic).  “BIG DAY for pre-k” provides a consistent framework for all District UPK sites; but our curriculum will also be infused with elements specific to our teacher & her purposeful planning.  As a Clarence Central School District Universal Pre-School Site, we are responsible for developing a curriculum that reflects the New York State Learning Standards.  We also work closely with the Clarence Central School District which helps to shape our curriculum.

Our UPK Report Card is generated by Clarence Central School District working in conjunction with a teaching committee (including Mrs. Kirisits), to reflect the New York State Common Core Standards for Pre-Schoolers.

Daily Schedule

12:00 p.m.-12:20 p.m.    Meet & Greet, Sign-In, Table Time- Fine motor manipulatives/toys & Visual motor activities (puzzles, drawing, writing)…
12:30 p.m.-1:00 p.m.    Calendar, Music, Circle Time-Theme driven, early math & ELA lessons, Story...

1:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.    Choice Time-Housekeeping, Computer, Painting, Craft, Writing Easel, Dramatic Play, Train Table, Sand & Water Tables, Indoor Climber, Puppet Theatre, Journals, Art & Craft, Small Group extension of Circle Time lesson...

1:35 p.m.-1:45 p.m.    Show & Tell

1:45 p.m.-2:05 p.m.   Snack Time & Library Time

2:10 p.m.-2:30 p.m.     Good-bye Circle-Story, Summary of Day, Introduction of materials being sent home…  or Outside Time!

Family Volunteers

We welcome and encourage family members to come into the classroom and volunteer.  Families complete a questionaire and this lets us know if anyone in the family is interested in volunteering & if so, how often.  The volunteer could be a parent, grandparent, aunt, uncle, nanny…  If a family is not able to volunteer, this is fine also.  Siblings are not permitted in the classroom when you are volunteering as a Family Helper (often referred to as “Mom of the Day” or “Dad of the Day”).   

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