Parents choose the Cooperative Preschool at St. Michael’s for many reasons: It is less expensive than other schools, it is close to home, their friends go here, it is accredited by the NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), they went here when they were children, or maybe they love to vacuum! Usually it is a combination of some of the above. However, we hope that the primary reason they choose this school is because they want to be involved in their children’s education. Whatever the reason you chose this school, we are all here now and it takes the cooperation of the parents, teachers and church to make our school work for the children.
What Do Parents Do?
The parents run the school. The Board members are all parents who take care of the business end of the school. They set the budget, tuition, salaries, and pay the bills. They set the dates for parent education, special events, and fundraisers. They coordinate the maintenance and cleaning of the school. They update the policies and procedures and put together the newsletter.
The remaining parents are committee members. These parents hold fundraisers and maintain the classrooms. They plan special events, hold parent education sessions, and keep other parents up-to-date on events and classroom workdays.
All the parents watch their children and children’s friends develop and learn new things. They learn new and better ways to deal with their children’s behaviors. They help other parents with ideas and suggestions. They make new friends that may last a lifetime. They help the teachers set up and clean up the classroom. They support the teachers’ efforts to plan activities that fit individual children and the group as a whole, and they help the teachers carry out these activities. They ensure that the children get the attention they deserve.
What Do Teachers Do?
The teachers run the program. They plan the activities and schedules according to the latest research in child development, input from parents about their children, and the needs of the children in the group. They keep records of each child’s development, and share this information with each child’s parents. They encourage each child to develop at his or her own pace. They make sure each child is well supervised and safe. And they support the parents’ need and expand their knowledge of child development.
What Does the Director Do?
The director oversees the program. She keeps all licenses, inspections, files, and accreditation up to date. She purchases supplies for the teachers. She ensures that the program is appropriate for the children, and supports the teachers’ efforts to keep the program innovative. She meets with the teachers and Board to ensure common goals. And she communicates with parents about issues concerning the program or teachers.
What Does the Cathedral Do?
The Cathedral provides us with a place to hold our program. They donate the space to us as part of their community outreach program. This allows us to keep our tuition as low as possible, which enables us to provide a preschool program to many children who would not otherwise be able to attend.
What Do Children Do?
The children learn to live warmly and securely with others. They learn to find pleasure in developing new skills, feel like worthy and competent people, understand themselves and others, gain self-discipline, and love school. But most of all, each child learns to like the person he or she is becoming.
Putting It All Together
As you can see, it takes everyone to make the preschool work. If we all do the minimum, the school runs for another year, and the children have a good experience. If we all do just a little more, we establish a foundation to last for years after our children have moved on, so that other children can enjoy the benefits of this preschool.