University Hill Preschool



Established in 1966, University Hill Preschool (U-Hill) is a licensed non-profit preschool. We offer a play-based program, which primarily follows the Reggio Emilia approach to teaching and the Montessori Philosophy. Above all, our teachers’ primary aim is to foster your child’s healthy self-image, instill confidence, encourage empathy and teach positive communication skills during your child’s formative years.

Our program operates on four developmental areas: social, emotional, fine/gross motor skills and cognitive development. These areas are refined through the children’s exploration of science, math, drama and literature as applied to themed class projects in a play-based manner.


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We are located near the UBC campus at 5210 University Boulevard, in St. Anselm’s Church, opposite University Golf Club. Our school is nestled in a scenic and natural setting, away from the noise of the city. Our ground-level classroom has full walls of windows on both the south and north side, allowing natural light to pour into the space even through the fall and winter months. We also have our own fenced in playground complete with a teeter-totter, climbing apparatus, and sandbox.




At "Uhill" we boast professional, caring, kind, exceptional teachers. All of our teachers are Canadian Certified Early Childhood Educators. All of our teachers have many years of teaching experience and long relationships with University Hill Preschool. They each bring a unique perspective from their independent educational backgrounds and work together to create a well-balanced program.



Maria Rodrigues

"My image of a child reflects a belief that each child is unique, strong and beautiful, each with their own ambitions desires and needs. My responsibility as an educator is to foster these ambitions by promoting each child’s self-esteem and sense of awareness. Each child needs to feel important and needs to be listened to."

Maria has been with "Uhill" since 1996 and been supervisor since 2005. In 2014, she won the Prime Minister's Awards (PMA) for Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Furthermore, in 2012, Maria won the Child Care Award of Excellence in Early Childhood Education Coast Fraser Region. Maria received her early education at St. Joseph Convent School and holds a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of Karachi, Pakistan. Before coming to "Uhill" Maria researched and worked in Montessori programs and earned her Montessori Certificate from the Association Montessori International. Maria speaks English, Urdu (Pakistan) and Hindi(India). She has found educating young children both rewarding and challenging and continues to pursue her teaching path by attending workshops and keeping abreast of new philosophies and ideas. She loves to sing and incorporates song into daily classroom activities as simple as washing hands or getting ready for snack. Maria is also a long distance runner and has participated in several Half-Marathons.



Atoussa Kashani

"Children have potential, curiosity and a desire to learn. The teacher’s role is to provide the children with a range of possibilities and provocations. The wider the range of possibilities, the richer the children's experiences."

Atoussa has been teaching since 1988 and came to University Hill Preschool in 1991. She served as supervisor from 1997-2003. Atoussa graduated from Simon Fraser University with a B.A. in French Literature and Early Childhood Education (ECE). Atoussa is an active participant of the Reggio Network and attended the North American Tour to Reggio Emilia, Italy, in March 2009. She is presently upgrading her training to include the popular Reggio Emilia program and has already brought many aspects of this program into our curriculum. Atoussa speaks English, French, and Farsi.



Aya Ruttan

"I believe that all children are unique in their own way and that they learn though their play. A child is exposed to daily experiences, which will help grow the child's potential abilities. As a teacher I believe in providing these opportunities to children based on their ideas and interests ... Let's play!"

Aya has been with University Hill Preschool from 1999 to 2004, and returned as a part-time teacher in 2008. In addition to her Canadian Early Childhood Education and Infant/Toddler Certificates, she also holds an Early Education License from Japan. In class, Aya introduces our clay projects, and will often play her famous blue guitar or our class piano, as she enjoys music-oriented circle-time with the children. She strongly believes in the strength of childhood lessons obtained through daily practical life activities and for this reason enjoys cooking in class with the students.


Board Of Directors

Operating since 1966 at our present location, we are a licensed, non-profit society. Our school is administered and managed by an elected Board of Directors, composed of parents of current students. These positions are voted on at the beginning of each school year and are strictly unpaid volunteer positions. Additionally, parents who do not hold board positions are encouraged to volunteer as needed for various tasks such as substituting, baking, picking up books, driving for field trips and assisting with other activities throughout the school year.

Board Members 2018-2019:

President – Alex Munro
Vice President – Viktoriia Isler
Secretary – Mike Mortell
Treasurer – Brandon Trajano
Registration – Nazy Alborz
Fundraiser – Janine Jones
AM Class Representative – Michelle Cheong
PM Class Representative – Sonya Jansen
Grant Researchers – Elizabeth Bailey, Michelle Cheong