To the right, please find links to our member schools, and below, find brief descriptions of their use of psychonalytic understandings and how it supports their educational ideas and values.

The following is a sampling of the ways in which some APS Member Schools describe their use of psychoanalytic understandings:

APS-accredited schools are substantially administered by one or more child psychoanalysts, offer on-site educational services to children and parents, and satisfy educational goals and programs as required by the APS Board of Trustees.


Members must meet the following criteria to be considered for accreditation:

  • Responsible directors or trustees of the Member school shall attest to the program’s probity and ethical professional practices in the administration, program and outreach efforts.
  • A member program shall offer on-site educational services to children of any age and their families.
  • A member shall satisfy educational goals and programs as required from time to time by the Board of Trustees.
  • A member shall be substantially administered by one or more child psychoanalyst(s).
  • A member shall submit information and materials to the accreditation subcommittee of the Board.
  • A member shall host a representative from the accreditation subcommittee for a site visit.

Member programs wishing to be accredited by the Alliance for Psychoanalytic Schools should write to the Board President, indicating their fulfillment of the above criteria, and to find out what additional information or planning will be required. The Board President shall appoint a subcommittee to check through the application and make a site visit. The subcommittee shall report to the Board, with a recommendation for or against accreditation. In case of dispute, the Member program may appeal to the Board for discussion and decision.

For information on individual Educator Certification, please click here.


Our Commonalitites


All APS Schools are informed by psychoanalytic understandings.  Some were formed and directed by psychoanalysts. Some have an ongoing psychoanalytic consultant. Some involve educators with psychoanalytic training.

Some years ago, a pair of educational consultants (Kristin Beasley & Candi Houghton) were hired to take a look at the founding APS Schools and identify the commonalities they had that distinguished them from other schools. Some of the characteristics they found included:


  • Teacher/Child ratios are low
  • Teachers have a high level of autonomy and are supported in using their knowledge of each child
  • Teachers work together and have supportive relationships
  • There are regular staff meetings where children are discussed and needs are considered
  • There are high levels of on-going training and support
  • There are regular ongoing Parent/Teacher Interactions
  • The main focus is on supporting Social/Emotional Development



  • TIME

– Lots of time is provided for transitions (in a thoughtful way)

– Slow pace (child speed)

– Children are not rushed

– Teachers are patient

– Children can be patient too because they know they will be heard

– Children are encouraged to explore and learn at their own pace


– Rather than rushing to do for…teachers support children in doing for themselves

– Teachers understand that support for mastery starts with doing for a child, then “doing with” the child, then “standing by to admire” the child (as with learning to tie shoes)

– Teachers individualize expectations

– Teachers encourage children to : “use your good thinking”


– In those schools with a therapeutic focus, parents meet regularly with a therapist to consider how to assist their child; the same therapist meets weekly with the teachers

– In some schools, there are regular parent groups where parents can discuss how to help children with their development

– In other schools, psychoanalytic consultants work as needed with teachers and parents to better understand a child’s difficulties and problem solve together as to how to help the child



  • Teachers listen to children and respect what they have to say
  • Teachers notice and comment on how children are FEELING rather than on how they are BEHAVING
  • Upsets are acknowledged, addressed, and children are supported rather than distracted or re-directed
  • Teachers and Parents are true partners and children’s connection to their parents is honored and facilitated
  • There is a unique vocabulary used to articulate understandings:

“Big Feelings” are frequently referred to

– Communications are facilitated through talk about “sending messages”

– “Separation” is distinguished from “Separateness”

– A child’s conscience is referred to as an “Inside Helper”

– Older children are engaged in the goal of “Using your own brain”



A respect for the inner life informs interactions and problem solving; The developmental process informs the curriculum; and parents are included in all aspects of this.

  • Support for Mastery of Separation and all the associated feelings is a first step
  • Support for Self Care Skills is built in to the daily routines; parents are included
  • Learning to manage feelings is considered a part of the learning process

– Children’s feelings are noticed, acknowledged, labeled

– Children’s concerns are talked about with parents who are encouraged to follow up

– Children are given the space and time to have their feelings in an appropriate way, (having private spaces or cubbies to go to when they wish)

– Children are supported verbally, eg reminded that they “will soon get their loving feelings back”



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Psychoanalytic Schools