coop basics

Classroom Roles for Parents & Kids

The Parent’s Role

Being a co-op member requires an extra bit of time and commitment. In return, families reap a whole lot of rewards: a high-quality preschool, lower tuition rates, parenting support and lasting friendships.

Co-op parents are required to:

Can parents working outside the home manage this time commitment? Absolutely. Many co-op members hold full- or part-time jobs outside the home. Many have more than one child in the co-op system. These parents get creative with their schedules and often share co-op duties with their partners, parents, siblings and close family friends. The whole community benefits.

Working in the Classroom

Parents work one day a week in the classroom. A rotating schedule is created and posted so each parent knows in advance when and where he/she will work that week: for example, staffing an activity station (sensory table, blocks, library, etc.), preparing snack or cleaning the classroom. School manuals outline the “hows” of each job. Parents who can’t make their work day are expected to line up a substitute.

Taking on an Administrative Job

Each new class elects a leadership “Board” (Chair, Treasurer, Secretary, etc.) and divvies up a standing list of administrative jobs (class photographer, supply manager, teacher’s assistant, etc.). Incoming parents are trained by outgoing parents, the teacher and parent educator. Board members receive even more training at a special NSC-sponsored “Board Training” seminar.


A tuition scholarship fund exists to ensure that the co-op program remains open to all families. Each co-op contributes to the fund, and most co-ops fundraise to meet their obligation. Most co-ops also conduct fundraising to support their own projects, such as purchasing new play equipment. Co-op members are expected to support co-op fundraising efforts.

Parents Are Students Too

Co-op parents are automatically enrolled as students in the NSC Parent Education Program. The parent educator is the parent’s “professor,” a once-a-month parent ed meeting is the “class” and the preschool is the “class lab.” Parents are issued a NSC student ID card (good for discounts and access to NSC student services) and receive 3 college credits per quarter.

The Child's Role

For children, co-op is a safe and nurturing place in which to explore, engage and have fun. A skilled preschool teacher designs the curriculum, using cooperative and creative play to enhance social, emotional and intellectual development. Class time is divided into carefully designed, age-appropriate learning periods such as: During Free Play times children are free to move about the classroom, exploring and experimenting. “Stations” are supervised by parents, who work as assistant teachers to encourage and support the children in play areas such as sensory table, art center, play-kitchen, blocks and table top projects.

At Circle Time, the teacher leads the class in singing songs, dancing, playing musical instruments and reading stories while Parent-led Small Group sessions provide more structured learning experiences.

Pre-K and Fives children are introduced to Kindergarten-readiness activities such as the natural sciences, math, pre-reading and writing.

Next...... The Enrollment Process


Open registration is the process whereby new families register their children for co-op spaces. It is held early in the year for fall entry.