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Cooperative Information

What Is A Parent Cooperative Preschool?

The goal of the parent cooperative preschool is an enriched preschool experience for the children and a challenging educational program for the parents. 

Fort Mill Cooperative Preschool is an organized non-profit group and has a board that helps make decisions for the school.

Being a family of a cooperative preschool is easy!

Families are welcome, but not required to volunteer in the classroom.

All children/parents are eligible. Each school sets its own fees to cover cost of supplies, rent, and teacher’s salary. By sharing the work and expenses, the preschool tuition for the parents who work in the school is relatively low.

The administration of the cooperative school participates as a resource person to the teacher(s) and parent(s) during the preschool year.

A cooperative preschool admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.

What to look for in a Cooperative Preschool:

  • Do you agree with the school’s educational philosophy and religious orientation?

  • Do you and your child like the teacher? Is there a large block of time for the children to select their preferred activity and companions?

  • Are different, age appropriate toys and materials offered?

  • Is there group time to enjoy developing social skills such as sharing, helping, negotiating, and cooperating?

  • Is there time to explore in-depth an activity connected to a well-planned, developmentally appropriate curriculum?

  • Is there time and space for large-motor, noisy activity?

  • Are the children’s individual abilities, differences, and preferences respected?

  • Is their creativity encouraged by emphasizing the process rather than a finished product?

  • Do discipline and guidance strategies used teach self-control and respect for others?

  • Are health and safety issues addressed?

  • Is there valid state licensing and are they a member of the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) What are the parent participation requirements?

  • ​Different schools have very different policies. Some schools let parents buy or opt-out of a great deal of the day-to-day routine.

  • ​Who drives on field trips?

  • What else is expected besides classroom participation?

  • What opportunities to be involved are available to parents?

Benefits to the Child

The program, for the children is based on the individual needs of each child. It is a child-size world, which encourages growth, and development as each child participates in supervised play and learning experiences with other children the same age.


  • Develops new friends and ideas

  • Takes turns and shares

  • Listens to stories and music

  • Develops new skills

  • Accepts responsibility

  • Channels energy into constructive activities

  • Plays with blocks and manipulative toys

  • Participates in field trips

  • Learns about the fascinating world

  • Joins in creative art, games and free play 

Benefits to the Parents

The parent cooperative preschool gives parents a first-hand opportunity to learn along with their children. To make it work and to get the best possible return, parents accept several obligations. One parent (either mother or father) takes turns as assistant to the teacher at the preschool. One or both parents attend monthly sessions. The group’s orientation at the beginning of the school year is attended by the parents. Both parents fulfill any specific duties required by the group for membership. 

STILL WANT MORE INFO….Check out this article by Christy Gordon
Working Together is a Co-op Preschool Right for You?

How will I be helping. What will I do?

  • Learn about children through observation

  • Assist the teacher with a variety of projects

  • See the child objectively in a group situation

  • ​Learn to work with a group

  • ​Attend quarterly parent education meetings on such topics as: Children’s Emotions, Effective Discipline, Developmental Milestones, Kindergarten Readiness, etc.

  • Gain first-hand experience in working with children

  • See differences and similarities in the development of children

  • Find time for one’s self or to spend more time with another child

  • Share experiences and find support and guidance

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