Working together with our kids

A cooperative preschool is a nonprofit business owned and run by the parents or guardians of the preschool students. The preschool requires a commitment by parents/guardians to help in the classroom and provide other support to ensure that the school operates smoothly. Teacher Sam is the heart and soul of our classroom.  Working closely with Teacher Sam, we all work together to make the school a supportive and challenging place for our children to grow.

When you join a cooperative preschool, you really join a community and become an active participant in your child's education.  As parents, we learn from Teacher Sam how to be an advocate for our children and to teach our children to use play to continue learning for the rest of their lives.  Parents play an active role in the schools upkeep and management based on their abilities. Parents also help in the classroom - working alongside Teacher Sam.  Parent involvement means tuition costs are significantly lower than a traditional preschool. Interacting with a community and receiving modeling by an experienced teacher gives parents opportunities to learn alongside their child.

What is the philosophy of the preschool?

Our curriculum encourages curiosity and love of learning by allowing students to investigate ideas and experiences which are meaningful for them. Our teacher helps children expand their ideas and encourages exploration.

What about academics?

Our teacher sets age-appropriate curricula for the Caterpillar and Butterfly Classes. For example, in the spring the Butterfly Class investigates the concept of community: their role in the preschool community, others’ roles in the greater community (fire fighter, postal worker, librarian, and doctor) the location of their house, city, state, country. The children visit local businesses such as a grocery store and facilities such as a fire station as part of this unit. Yet, the teacher is flexible depending on the children’s interests, perhaps scheduling a visit to a farm or helping transform the dramatic play area into a hospital or restaurant.

The classroom is organized into learning centers including Math and Science, Library, Writing, Dramatic Play, Invention Table, Art, Tactile Tables, and Construction.  Children share their thoughts and experiences by creating books and journals with artwork, photos, and writing. The teacher reads to the children and encourages them to make up their own songs and stories. Circle time hones skills like listening to others, talking in turn and maintaining focus.

How is the day structured?

The program becomes more structured and circle time becomes longer as the children move through the Caterpillar and Butterfly programs, but their days are ordered similarly. The children begin the day playing and acclimating themselves to the classroom. They transition to circle time to check in and talk about activities for the day, including special projects at the centers. The children move through the classroom and to the outdoor area during free choice period, and the Caterpillars come to the snack table when they are hungry. The Butterflies end free choice period by cleaning the classroom as a group and move into snack time. Another circle time follows. Each class spends time in the gym during gross motor skills time. Finally, the children return to the classroom for a song and goodbyes.

What is a parent helper?

Each day two parent helpers assist the teacher. They are required to be available for the children, provide snack food, and clean and tidy the classroom after each session.

What about snack time?

Parent Helpers are assigned to bring either a protein/carbohydrate or a fruit/vegetable, and the children drink water. Children in the Caterpillar Class sign up for snack time and come to the table when they are hungry. Butterfly Class children eat family style at a designated time. The preschool takes food allergies and diet limitations very seriously and strictly monitors what food comes into the classroom.  We are a peanut free environment.

What is the preschool’s philosophy on discipline?

All children are different and learn to be part of the group at their own pace. Daily interaction with others provides many opportunities to teach conflict resolution. Children are encouraged to talk through conflict or move to a different activity. The teacher uses role play, books, and songs to teach respect for others, ways to handle feelings and impulses, and positive ways to interact with peers. Our teacher works with children and their parents to find strategies of encouraging positive behavior when the child’s actions are excessively disruptive or harmful to others.

Must a child be toilet-trained?

No. Parents work with the teacher to develop a plan and assist children with accidents. However, you must come to the preschool to change your child’s diapers.