Updated: May 8, 2021
We belong to a beautiful Co-Op Preschool community called Carlmont Parents Nursery School. Enrolling in this school has been a source of joy, learning, encouragement, and connection for our whole family. I'm so glad we chose a co-op model, here's why.
1. Play-Based Education
Did you know play is the work of childhood? Consider the project pictured above. It might seem trivial, "artsy", fluff; but it's not. Through this creation my 3-year-old practiced:
Thinking up a plan then executing his idea. How many adults struggle with thinking up new ideas then executing their plan? This is a "Jungle Forest" by the way.
Being flexible and trying something different when the plan did not work. I love that he got to practice problem-solving and resiliency.
Focusing on one task for an extended period of time. Concentration is essential for growth and productivity.
Social skills. When someone tried to grab a feather off his plate, He said, "No, that's mine, I'm working on this." He's learning how to advocate for himself and his needs.
This is one example of many throughout the day. I have no question his reading, writing, and math skills will flourish one day because of the play-based foundation CPNS is giving him.
2. Outdoor Play Space
Many Co-op Preschools tend to have beautiful, large outdoor play areas. This is because learning outside has so many benefits:
Vitamin D absorption from the sun helps with mood, sleep, and immune system
Being outside activates all your senses. When a child is immersed in the sight, smell, textures, sounds, and yes even tastes of nature they become less anxious, sleep better, and have greater ability to regulate emotion.
Children who report high levels of outdoor playtime do much better academically.
Here are the CDC guidelines for physical activity in Preschool children:
"Recommended Levels for Preschool-Aged Children (ages 3 through 5 years)"
"Preschool-aged children (ages 3 through 5 years) should be physically active throughout the day for growth and development.
Adult caregivers should encourage preschool-aged children to be active when they play."
-Claire McCarthy MD, Harvard Health Publishing
You cannot beat the price of a co-op preschool. Parents are involved in all aspects of the school including childcare, operations, function, and planning. For this reason, they do not have to hire extra staff; which means we get a lower price than traditional preschools. Additionally, there are opportunities for barter work and scholarships that help offset the cost of tuition.
One amazing benefit is that parent education is included in the price! Each month the school has Parent Support Workshops that support us with everything from mealtimes and tantrums, to fears and educational support. This is definitely a great resource and an amazing opportunity for my husband and me to grow together as parents.
4. Nursery For Young Siblings
If you have multiple children or are planning to have a baby, many co-ops will have a nursery for the baby. CPNS does! This is such a great benefit because you can practice having the baby with another caregiver, with the confidence that your younger child is within feet of you. If they need you for any reason you will be right next door working your co-op day at the school. Also, if you are nursing you can take a nursing break then go back to your preschooler.
5. No Potty Training Requirements
There are many reasons families do not potty train early. There are many reasons children resist early potty training. Early potty training can be linked to:
Behaviors and resistance issues with "naughty" words, hitting, biting, spitting. (Basically, they are saying: You won't let me control when my own poop and pee comes out, but I sure as hell will show you I'm in control of other things coming out of my body)
Constipation issues including a stretched rectum from withholding
Bladder leakage and Bladder infections
Disconnection and tension in the family relationships
Most co-op schools will not require potty training because they know it is not a developmentally appropriate expectation. This is wonderful news for your child because it means they can go at their own pace and own the accomplishment when they finally master it.
If you do have an early potty training champion, good! That works too! My first was trained early and my second will go at his own pace with CPNS.
Here are some potty training resources if you're interested:
-Robin Einzig, Visible Child
-Steve Hodges, MD Pediatric Urologist
6. Discipline And Behavior Issues Are Dealt With Through Connection, Respect, Trust, and Kindness
This is one of the most important aspects of a school for me. I believe social and emotional learning is the foundation for academic learning, success in work, and successful relationships. We must meet the emotional and social needs with respect and connection.
Traditionally, preschools use rewards and punishment to manipulate children into behaving how they want them to. There is so much evidence telling us that using rewards and punishments do not work. Children see right through us when we are trying to control and manipulate them. That is why rewards and punishments typically end in tension, resentment, and more unwanted behavior. Punishments, like time out or shaming a child, are ineffective and can be damaging. Rewards like praise and stickers lack connection and authenticity. They damage connection because it's based on a lack of mutual trust and respect. We are telling the child, "I don't trust you to behave unless you get a sticker, and I don't trust myself to manage the environment, expectations, and relationship without using stickers." Rewards also discourage creativity and internal motivation. For these reasons, I'm so grateful CPNS uses more respectful ways to manage behavior:
Teachers manage the environment so children do not have opportunities to misbehave. For example, if a child is having a hard time with throwing objects at people a teacher will control the environment by replacing heavy, hard objects with soft safe ones. Then we can play throwing games instead!
Teachers understand child development to ensure typical and healthy behaviors are not shamed or punished. For example, they know that hitting and pushing are common and expected in preschool. A teacher will not shame a child for doing what children do. Instead, the teacher will be there to redirect and prevent unsafe behavior. Better yet, the teacher will be tuned in when students seem tense and anxious so she/he can diffuse things BEFORE aggressive behavior happens.
For more on this read:
"Punished By Rewards" - Alfie Kohn
"Unconditional Parenting" -Alfie Kohn
"How-To Spot A Respectful Preschool" -Everything That Matters Most
7. You Get To Experience Raising Your Children In A Village.
One of the most enjoyable benefits of a co-op preschool is the village it comes with. Families get together for playdates, outings, parents' night out, school events, and holidays. It has been so wonderful to have a group of like-minded parents helping to build love, connection, and creativity into our family life. We can't do it alone and the support and friendships we have made at CPNS are priceless.
Choosing a co-op preschool is one of the best parenting decisions we have ever made. Our child has thrived in this engaging, challenging, lovely world made just for him and his 3-year-old needs.
To learn more click the link here.
Sign up for the Open House Saturday, May 15 10am-12pm here
There are a few spots left in the Four Day/ PreK program, but it's filling up quickly!
Four Day: Monday-Thursday 12:30-3:30
Pre-K: Monday/Wed 10:30-12:30
*Typically these are enrolled together. Your week would look like this:
Monday/Wednesday 10:30-3:30 Tuesday/Thursday 12:30-3:30
*These are geared toward 4 and 5-year-olds but welcome 2.5-5-year-olds.
Click here to see the wonderful program in action.