Cooperative nursery schools form because parents want involvement in their young child's first school activities. Unlike traditional nursery schools, which consist of teachers and children, cooperative preschools include parents in the classroom and in the organization and administration of the school. Parents, teachers and children benefit by this structure.
Parents observe much while working in the classroom. A mother watches her son building a block garage with two classmates. A father can note how his daughter asks the teacher for help on a clay project, or relax at home after discovering that his son seems no more inclined to say "Please pass the juice " than his fellow classmates.
Parents learn new ways of diverting arguments between their children after watching the teacher suggest that one child in school be "the firefighter" and the other "direct traffic.' New friendships form among parents at work and in the classroom. Adult education occurs as parents attend school wide and class meetings on child development, hear book reviews, read the newsletter and discuss their child-rearing ideas with professionally trained classroom teachers.
Teachers in a cooperative preschool are very brave. How would you like to be observed by your employer every minute of the working day? But co-op teachers submit to this scrutiny because they believe that parents enrich and enliven the classroom. "I have a story that will be great for the week we study seeds," says one mother. This is the kind of enrichment teachers want - and the kind that parents can provide.
The child in a co-op has fun. He has a warm, accepting teacher qualified to work with young children, the companionship of classmates, and the guidance, enrichment and friendship of participating parents. The transition from home to school can be easier with one of his parents in the classroom occasionally. In addition, he learns the difficult art of sharing mother or dad's attention with other classmates.
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