Cooperative Approach

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Among area preschools that use a cooperative approach, AUCP is one of the most committed to parent participation. Our co-oping parents are active participants in their child’s classroom.  Co-oping parents act as teacher aides who are trained to function as dynamic, positive leaders in the classroom.  Working with the teachers and other parents, we learn from one another and develop a strong parenting network.

This concept facilitates the extension into the home of the methods and principles operating in the classroom. It allows parents to observe the class, to see their child in a classroom situation, and to see how their child gets along with his/her classmates. This cooperative approach between parents and teachers allows parents to learn from each other and the teaching staff, to gain experience, and to develop a strong parenting network.

Our concept of a participating parent is broader than most cooperative preschools. In addition to responsibility for many custodial duties, cooperating parents are teachers’ aides who are trained to function not as housekeepers but as dynamic, positive leaders in the classroom. The parent is the child’s most important teacher, and the cooperative experience has proven invaluable in improving parents’ relationships with their children.

From the child’s viewpoint, the parents’ participation reinforces the importance of the child’s preschool experience. By enabling parents to participate in the child’s education from the earliest years, the separation between school and home tends to be mitigated. We hope children will experience learning as a flowing process, not as a compartmentalized one. We also hope that parents will continue to remain active in the school systems their children attend in the future.

Parent Responsibilities

Because AUCP is a cooperative preschool, families are expected to play a more active and participatory role in the life of the school than in many preschools or child care centers. AUCP is able to keep tuition costs low because we rely on parents to share the responsibilities for maintaining and improving the school and creating enriching opportunities for all of our children.

Each classroom includes a full-time, dedicated teacher and parent helpers who help execute the curriculum and attend to the needs of the children. Classroom co-oping is a wonderful way to get to know your child’s teacher and other parents, observe and interact with your child’s classmates as they learn and play, and see first-hand the exciting experience your child is having at school.

We foster community through in-person pick-up and drop-off of our children, numerous social activities, onsite continuing education opportunities, “meal trains” for families with new babies or experiencing hardship, and through day-to-day interactions with fellow parents in the classroom.

AUCP requires a significant parental time commitment, and applicants should seriously consider whether they will be able to make this commitment. Only one parent is required to co-op; however, both parents are welcome to co-op if they’d like to share the responsibility. When a family enrolls a child or children at AUCP, parents must agree to assume the responsibilities listed below.

Classroom Co-oping

  • Co-op in your own child’s class an average of:
  • 6-7 times per year in the Panda classes.
  • 1-2 times per month in the 2-day classes.
  • 2-3 times per month in the 3-day classes.
  • 4-6 times per year in the enrichment classes.
  • Co-oping commitments run from 9:00am-1:00pm (or whenever classroom clean-up is complete). (For Panda parents, co-oping commitments begin at 8:45am.).

Building and Grounds Participation

  • Families commit between 4-7 hours per school year to the maintenance of the school building and grounds.
  • Four hours per year for one child.
  • Six hours per year for two children.
  • Seven hours per year for three or more children.

Committee Assignment

  • Families are assigned to a committee role that helps run the co-op every year (i.e., Fundraising, Building and Grounds, Classroom Support, Continuing Education, Technology, etc.).
  • There are a wide variety of roles that fit individual interests, skills, and schedules.

Continuing Education for Co-opers

  • State regulations require that each co-oping parent receives eight hours of child development training per year.
  • AUCP offers numerous on-site training opportunities, both during regular school hours as well as in the evenings and on weekends.

Attendance at Membership Meetings

  • Attendance is required at several annual events including: New Parent Orientation and/or Parent Welcome Night, Back to School Night, and the Annual Meeting and Auction.