What is a co-op preschool?

A cooperative preschool is administered and maintained by the parents on a non-profit, non-sectarian basis.  The parents assist the professional teacher in the classroom on a rotating basis and participate in the educational program of all the children. Each family also shares in the business operation of the school through board or committee assignments and fundraising opportunities.

What is a play-based preschool?

Children learn by doing what they do best…playing!   It is a misconception that a play-based curriculum doesn’t offer any academic instruction.  This is simply not true. While our main goal is social and emotional growth, each task that a child participates in provides many layers of learning.  Many child development experts believe that focusing primarily on academics sacrifices important social skills.

What is an average day like?

Each day includes free play to encourage teamwork and socialization; circle time for academic skills including language, math and science; art time to develop small motor skills and creativity.  They also have snack time and a variety of physical activities.

What are the goals of the school?

Social Skills:  Making a successful break from home and learning to be with other children in a group setting.

Personal Growth: Developing a sense of security and a feeling of success; exploring an interest and joy in learning; finding self-confidence and self-expression.

Academic Skills: Improving language skills; expressing creativity; learning to listen and follow directions; participating in a variety of stimulating experiences; cultivating responsibilities and independence.

What is expected of me as a parent?

Parents work in the classroom on a rotating basis usually two shifts per month.   Parents must also be a member of the board or on a committee.   Each family must participate in fundraising throughout the year.  And, at least one parent must attend the general meetings each year. Parents are also expected to read and understand the school handbook and follow the rules of the school.

What is expected of my child?

Students must have a physical and be up to date on vaccines (those who have opted not to vaccinate their child or use an alternative vaccination schedule must sign a waiver).  Children must also be toilet trained by the first day of school.

Is there any religious teaching in the classroom?

No. We are a secular school that rents space from St. John’s Church.

What are the teacher’s qualifications?

Our teacher has a BA in Early Childhood Development and an MA in Elementary Education.   She has taught both preschool and kindergarten in her 25+ years of teaching.  She is certified by the State of Michigan, and is CPR/first aid certified. She also participates in yearly continuing education seminars. She has been with Northwest Co-op for 25 years.

Why are there two classes?

Each class provides a different level of learning.   Our two-day class focuses primarily on early social development and independence.  Our three-day class builds on previously introduces materials, social development and mastery of early learning concepts.

Will my child go on field trips?

Yes! The two-day class goes on two field trips a year. Parents are required to attend.  The three-day class goes on at least one field trip per month, and only working parents attend.  Pre-scheduled field trips are included in the tuition.  We have a partnered with Blandford Nature Center – the two-day class will get to make seasonal trips to explore the nature center, the three-day class will visit once each month.

How many students are in a class?

The two-day class may have up to 14. The three-day class may have up to 16.

Is transportation available?

No. Transportation to and from school and field trips is the responsibility of the parent/guardian.

Who provides the snack?

Parents provide healthy snacks on a rotating schedule which coincides with your working shifts.  Each child is responsible for their own water that must be in a spill-proof container.

How do I enroll my child?

To enroll in the school, please contact the Membership Chair at the phone number given on the school’s answering machine (616) 730-1830.  To solidify your membership you will need to submit an application form along with the $75 non-refundable registration fee.  Checks or money orders should be made payable to Northwest Co-op Preschool.