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Why Choose a Co-op?

Eastgate Cooperative Preschool ("Eastgate Co-op" or "ECP") was established in its current location in 1965.  It is affiliated with the Bellevue College ("BC") Parent Education Program.  The collaborative "team" in the classroom creates an environment which offers several benefits for both children and parents.

Cooperative Structure:

  • ECP is a multi-age preschool environment with 3-year-old students attending 2 days a week and 4-year-old students attending 3 days a week.
  • With parent volunteers, ECP maintains an adult-to-child ratio of 1 adult per 4 students.
  • The cooperative preschool teaching team is comprised of the children’s teacher and a parent education instructor. The children’s teacher works primarily with the students and helps guide parent volunteers in the classroom during daily activities. The parent education instructor works in the classroom approximately once a week, observing and supporting the children and the teacher. The parent education instructor also leads the monthly parent education meeting.
  • ECP is a non-profit organization governed by an elected board of parents.
  • The cooperative preschool environment emphasizes developmentally appropriate learning through play-based learning, hands-on exploration and social interaction.
  • Parents are an integral part of the children’s learning process as they assist in the classroom, help keep the preschool running smoothly and help establish a love of learning.

Cooperative Parent Commitment:

  • Parents assist the teacher in the preschool classroom between two and four days per month. Parent availability is taken into consideration in the monthly schedule. Sibling care is available in a parent-operated onsite nursery.
  • Parents also attend parent education meetings once per month. Parent education meetings include lecture and group discussion on relevant child development topics and parental issues in order to provide techniques and knowledge for successful parenting.
  • Parents can hold a board position or another parental job which enable the preschool to continue to run smoothly.
  • Parents also assist with set-up and clean-up days and attend orientation meetings.

Benefits for parents participating in our unique cooperative experience:

  • Observe, learn and practice various techniques for working with young children.
  • Influence and share in their child’s early learning experience and demonstrate parental commitment to education.
  • Watch their children’s friendships develop.
  • Build relationships and friendships with other parents.
  • Obtain continuous feedback on their child’s growth and progress.
  • Assist in ensuring reasonable tuition rates through their involvement.