At Kensington Nursery School, we are a true parent cooperative preschool, organized by a group of families with similar philosophies who work in conjunction with trained teachers to provide children with a quality preschool experience. The preschool is administered and maintained by the parents on a non-profit, non-sectarian basis. The parents assist the professional teachers in the classroom on a rotating basis and participate in the educational program of all the children. Each family shares in the business operation of the school, thus making it truly a cooperative venture. Parents, preschool children and their teachers all go to school to learn and grow together!
The Role of a Co-Op Parent
- You are staff. Your primary function is to be an aide to the teacher.
- Treat it like a job – be a team player. Be professional at all times.
- Get to know the children – learn about the different personalities, temperaments, behaviors and needs of the group.
- Bring your talents and skills to the class.
- Be proactive rather than reactive.
- Be aware of the routine and transitions.
- Look for opportunities to learn more about Early Childhood Education. Workshops, books, articles, speakers, etc.
How to think like a teacher, not a mom/dad
- The needs of the group vs. the individual.
- Momentum of the day.
- Group dynamics.
- Teaching independence and problem solving.
- Enriching their experience (may be messy).
- Teaching respectfulness to others.
- Balancing developmental needs throughout the day.
- Preventing behaviors through proactive measures (thinking ahead).
- Know all the children, not just your own.
- Supporting social skills in school group situations.
- Begin using the skills that you’ve learned from the teacher(s).
- Re-direct: if you see things starting to become tense or escalated, step in to help. Ask questions that can help them understand what is going on or how the other person might be feeling.
- Describe behaviors – use descriptive words to give children the full picture on what just took place. Help them to understand the situation; avoid negative labels and finger pointing at who is at fault.
- Describe feelings – again, use words to describe how they might feel by what just took place. Encourage children to describe how they felt. Give children words to use with each other rather than hurting their bodies.
- Remove children from frustrating situations. Sometimes it helps to break the focus on the frustration if you move them to another part of the room.
- Quiet time sometimes helps to calm down feelings, even a short walk or reading a book.
- Try to help the children work through feelings with each other (model words). If a child is really angry, come back later (this takes time but it is worth it).
- Try to be positive and upbeat. Use positive statements rather than negative.
- Remember that most behaviors are normal developmental milestones. Children making mistakes or wrong choices are opportunities to help them learn how to make corrections or better choices in the future.
- Let the teacher handle your own child if you aren’t feeling successful or equipped – step out if a situation escalates.
Each KNS family is required to do the following:
- Co-op in their child's class several times per month.
- Do an assigned job.
- Twelve volunteer hours (fundraising, maintenance, or a combination).
- Attend two mandatory membership meetings per year
- Complete a state-mandated basic health and safety training course online.
- Otherwise help out in the general spirit of a cooperative.