The emphasis of our program is the social and emotional development of the child. Of primary importance is the building of a child’s positive self-image, self-esteem, and self-confidence. We strive to create a warm, accepting atmosphere for children of all backgrounds to explore their world through art, music, stories, and play. Small and large motor skills are developed through a wide variety of carefully chosen toys, games, puzzles, activities, projects, climbers, and riding equipment. Overall, we feel strongly that the best social, intellectual, and psychological gains are made through creative and cooperative play.
The program builds as the children are older: 3’s, and pre-K classes offer natural science projects, cooking, and field trips. Pre-K classes include kindergarten readiness activities and personal safety instruction.
A Place for Both Parent and Child
A cooperative preschool is unique in that you and your child enroll in the program together. When your child is a toddler, you both attend class one day a week. By the time your child is in a pre-K class, he or she attends class four days a week, and you only go to one class per week. There are many benefits from this involvement: parents and children share in a high quality preschool program, there is a gentle and gradual transition to independence and kindergarten readiness, and parents learn a great deal about early childhood issues and education along the way. Through years of involvement with this group of children and parents, a community develops. The network of parents, as resources and support, lasts far beyond the preschool years.
Talents and Leadership Skills Welcomed
The Co-op is a non-profit organization, run by a volunteer parent Board. The leadership skills, creativity, and commitment of parent members keep the Co-op running smoothly. There are many opportunities to assist the Co-op: Board positions, All-School jobs, and Standing Committees.
Parent as Student: Seattle Community College Affiliation
Parent education is an important focus of the Co-op. Our preschool operates under the direction of the Seattle Central Community College (SCCC). Parent advisors from the college’s Parent Education Program are assigned to each class. Advisors make formal presentations on topics of the class’s choosing at the monthly parent meetings. They observe and assist in the classroom and are available for both informal and private consultation with the teachers and the parents. These advisors are also a source of community and legislative information regarding children. Co-op members actually become students of SCCC and receive non-transferable college credit, student discounts, library privileges, counseling time, and other student benefits.
Parent as Teaching Assistant
Parent participation is foundation of our school. Parents aid the preschool teacher on the days you work in the classroom. You help with projects, materials and organization. Most importantly, you engage in play and activities at the children’s level. You provide encouragement and support to the children to try new activities and help the children to negotiate and cooperate. The preschool teacher assists the parents in understanding their role in the classroom, briefly explaining the projects for the day and their expectations for the children. Parents also help one another with their role as teacher assistants.
It Takes Time
Participation in the Co-op does require time. All parents or caregivers work as teacher’s assistants one day a week. Class length varies from one hour fifteen minutes to 3 hours, depending upon the age of your child. Monthly parent meetings, lasting two hours, are held for each class and attendance is mandatory. The meetings are used for parent education, discussion of class and school wide issues, announcements, and scheduling for the next month’s class activities. It is also an opportunity for informal discussion among parents. The dates and locations of the meetings are decided upon as a class.