Parent Participation

Parents are the heart and soul of our Cooperative preschool.  A cooperative preschool is run by the parents each year.  We make the decisions and work to keep the school going each year.  This is what keeps our school so family strong and exactly what we want for our children – we make it that way!

For many of you, participating in a cooperative preschool will be a new experience. At the onset of school, the pace will be unhurried. This will afford you the chance to acclimate yourself to the school (the routine, location of equipment, and materials), to familiarize yourself with the children and the other parents and the responsibilities of being a coop member. It takes time for both the children and parents to adjust themselves to the school. Other children, new adults and new surroundings lend excitement to this experience. The following are some hints to help you and your child enjoy school:

  • Talk with your child about this new adventure. Give them some idea of how many children there will be in their class. Tell them about the equipment, the teacher’s name and role, and the length of time you will be away. (e.g., back before lunch time) and the role of assisting parents.
  • Anticipate fun, but don’t paint a too alluring picture.
  • Avoid drilling your child in advance about good behavior. Some negative behavior is expected at any given time.
  • If necessary, be prepared to stay with your child at several sessions until they feel secure.
  • Dress children appropriately–play clothes are best. Don’t forget the weather! We go outside everyday when the temperature is over 20 degrees. Boots, mittens, hats, snowpants, and warm winter coats are a must.
  • Children should bring a tote bag to each session.
  • Drop off, and pick-up children on time. Being left can make a child worry.
  • A child may be tired the first few preschool sessions.
  • Try not to interpret verbally for the children, especially about artwork. Let the child tell you about their art, never ask what it is.
  • Observe the children as objectively as possible without judgment.
  • Take mishaps calmly and correct only when necessary. Never let a child injure himself, another, or damage their surroundings.
  • Try to show interest and appreciation in the child’s achievements and conversation. Never talk about a child in their presence.
  • Encourage imagination and initiative. Avoid models to copy.
  • Encourage independence. Give only as much help as is really needed. When necessary, ask if they want help rather than if they need it (e.g., pouring their own juice, choosing paper, washing hands and helping clean up).
  • Provide children with clothes that work; zippers that zip, boots that fit, coats with all the buttons and so forth.
  • Encourage conversations during snack time. Parents please join children at snack tables.
  • Be natural and friendly with the children. This is an opportunity for children to learn about and relate to new adults.
  • Don’t push your own child if they tend to cling to you on days that you assist.
  • Have fun! Enjoy this opportunity of working with children.
  • Support your teacher. They are the professional director of the Preschool
  • Express dissatisfaction using the proper channels (see “Whom to Contact”). There is nothing worse than an unhappy parent, who complains only to their small group of friends.
  • Contribute new ideas. It’s amazing how the Co-op can change and grow depending on how dynamic its members are.
  • Take an interest in the activities of the group. Your own sincere feelings of involvement will have meaning to your child.
  • Think of ways you can contribute special skills and hobbies; like bringing in animals, showing how to make special foods, playing a musical instrument, demonstrating arts and crafts, sharing special songs, poems, books, pictures, etc.

Your concern about the day-to-day operation of the preschool is what will make it an outstanding experience for your child. The little touches that you add on your workday, the suggestions you make at membership meetings, and your willingness to volunteer when called upon add up to a high quality organization.