How it works:
In a cooperative preschool, parents/caregivers play an essential role in the school’s success. At Sunrise, your responsibilities include:
- Helping in the classroom 2-3 times a month. We have parent/caregiver stations in the art/science room, blocks/dramatic play area/library, and gym/woodshop.
- Attending mandatory monthly meetings and participating in the business of the preschool (minimum of 2 hours per month)
- Taking on an administrative job: serving on the board, fundraising, taking pictures, making play-dough, etc.
The best part of a coop preschool experience is having your child clearly receive this message: “My school is so important, my parents/caregivers give it the most precious commodity they have – their time and attention.”
What your child will experience at a coop preschool:
Preschool days are full of learning and exploration. Children are guided by our trained, experienced teachers, with the parents/caregivers assisting. Your child will sing songs, listen to stories, create art, practice drawing and writing, build with blocks, engage in pretend play, explore new materials and experiences, learn pre-academic skills that form the foundations of mathematical and scientific learning, play outside and in the gym, go on field trips, make new friends, build social skills, and get excited about learning and about school.
Our program is play-based, because brain development research shows children learn skills and retain information best through hands-on exploration in places where they feel safe and free to explore. Our classroom has several stations around the room, with developmentally appropriate activities to help kids build the skills they need. Children are encouraged to move around and explore at their own pace.
Class also includes “circle time” where our teacher leads the class in singing songs, practicing social skills, reading stories and developing early literacy skills. This is a chance for children to practice sitting still, listening to a teacher, and participating in a group activity, all essential skills for kindergarten readiness.
What you will experience:
At Sunrise, both parents/caregivers and children learn by doing.
When you work with kids in the classroom, you develop a better understanding of your own child(ren) and other children: what’s developmentally appropriate, how temperament affects each child, and how social interactions between children play out. Both Teacher and Instructor assist caregivers in guiding children’s age appropriate activities and in ways to support children’s learning. Caregivers are encouraged to continue to develop concepts and experiences with their own children at home.
Research clearly indicates meaningful parent/caregiver involvement in schools is one of the most powerful predictors of high student achievement and healthy development. During the early years, there is no better way to begin this involvement than by joining a Cooperative Preschool Program.
At least one caregiver per family registers with Bellevue College and volunteers regularly in the classroom.
Parents/caregivers also attend monthly parenting education classes. They are held in the evening directly following the monthly business meeting for the coop. Experienced professional educators lead the class and offer current, research-based information relevant to the day-to-day reality of parenting little ones. Topics are tailored to the needs of the families and may include:
- Developmental milestones
- Children’s emotions
- Sibling rivalry
- Family communication
- Early learning, literacy, and school readiness
Through these activities, parents/caregivers get to know each other and form a close community of support.