What is a co-operative preschool? How is it different from traditional preschools?
A parent cooperative preschool is organized, maintained, and run by a group of families with similar philosophies. A trained teacher is hired to provide children with a quality preschool experience that is reflective of the school’s philosophy. In addition to participating in the classroom, each family shares in the business operation and in the administrative responsibilities of the school.
At Hillsboro Parent Preschool, parent participation allows our members to be directly involved in their children’s early education. This creates an environment rich in confidence – for the teacher, for the lessons, for the community. Our parents are given a rare opportunity to learn alongside their children. Parent time in the classroom gives parents a unique opportunity to observe and interact with their child. It is a special time that cannot be replicated in the home or in traditional preschools. Memories are created, and the child gets hands on knowledge that education on all levels – emotional, social, and academic – has value.
What are your membership requirements? How much work is involved?
As a co-op preschool, the success of our community and our school is dependent on family participation. We have been able to maintain our low costs because of our members and their continued support. All families who enroll with Hillsboro Parent preschool are required to fulfill the following obligations:
- Attend Training. In the beginning of the year, parents are required to attend both parent teacher training and conflict resolution training.
- Parent Teaching. This includes set-up and clean-up of the classroom. With a full class of 16 children, parent time in the classroom averages roughly 2 days a month.
- School Support Job. Each family is required to take on a support job for the school year. To the best of our abilities, we try to assign jobs to families that fit their interests and their time constraints. Positions range in time commitment and job complexity. Examples of these positions are: treasurer, class representative, laundry aide.
- Work Parties. During the school year, each family is required to participate in 3 work parties that focus on overall school maintenance and cleaning. Most work parties take place on a Saturday and last about 4 hours.
- Auction Attendance and Support. The school auction is a fun community builder and is HPP’s primary fundraising event. In addition to attending this event, families are asked to provide items/services to auction and to work a portion of the auction.
- Summer Obligations. Families, both new and returning, are required to sign up for one Farmer’s Market or Discovery Series shift during the summer months. This is a great opportunity to get to know fellow members and our main source of advertising for our wonderful school.
Both adults in our household work full time jobs. Can we pay more to avoid the parent teaching requirement?
We feel that parent involvement is key to the positive development of both parent and child. Your presence – your parenting style, your imagination, your contributions – adds to the community as a whole. As your child grows, you’ll learn how to navigate those developmental leaps with fellow parents. Being in the classroom allows you to observe and interact, to put new skills to use.
While we understand the time commitment can be difficult for working couples, many of our members have been able to make arrangements with their employers and fellow parent teachers. In addition, local family members such as grandparents are able to assist in the classroom as well. On average, a full class will require 15-16 total teaching days during the school year. This averages to about 2 days a month in the classroom.
I will require childcare in order to parent teach. Will I be able to bring my second/third/fourth child with me? Does Hillsboro Parent Preschool offer childcare?
HPP does not provide childcare, and children not enrolled cannot be present when the parent is performing their duties in the classroom. In order to provide a safe environment, parent teachers must give their undivided attention to all enrolled children. We find that the addition of a sibling can cause unintended distractions from class duties. Siblings who are not enrolled in Hillsboro Parent Preschool are not covered by the school’s insurance and cannot be present.
While Hillsboro Parent Preschool doesn’t offer childcare, our community is warm and welcoming. Parents find that they can speak to another parent to trade childcare. For new members, this can feel like a daunting experience. We encourage new families to arrange play dates early. This not only benefits the child, but families find this to be an excellent way to become comfortable in the HPP community. We also encourage parents to speak to their class representatives, who are excellent bridges between families and can introduce our more introverted members.