What is a cooperative preschool?

A cooperative preschool is a preschool, which is owned and operated by parents. Parents and children become partners with the preschool school teacher to provide a rich experience for all. Parents work in the classroom alongside the teacher and the children. An Executive Board made up of parents elected by co-op members oversees the day-to-day operation of the preschool. Being a co-op also allows us to keep our tuition low while offering a unique, high quality program. Drayton Avenue Co-Op Preschool is a member of the Greater Detroit Co-Operative Nursery Council, Inc. (GDCNC)

What is a “play-based” curriculum?

Play-based learning is a natural approach that focuses on child-initiated experiences. A variety of developmentally appropriate activities are offered to the child each day in an environment that encourages independence and creativity. In this way, the child learns to make decisions, think critically, and becomes self-reliant. Formalized academics in preschool are often introduced too early and can actually deter children from independent thinking. By following a program that allows children the opportunity to make choices and think independently in a developmentally appropriate setting, we equip them with valuable skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Click Here to read a CNN.com article about play-based curricula (or download the pdf)

What will I gain from a cooperative preschool?

As a member of the co-op, you will have an active role in shaping your child’s first school experience. You will also become a part of a community of parents and children who are sharing similar experiences. The ability to network with other parents and to observe your child in a group setting are invaluable benefits of the co-op experience. In addition, you will have an opportunity to contribute your abilities and talents to the co-op, as well as to have a say in policy decisions.

What will my child gain from a cooperative preschool?

Your child will have a parent who is an active participant in their school experience. They will have an opportunity to try out many new activities and ideas in a place designed and equipped specifically for them. Your child will also have an opportunity to interact with other children and adults in a safe, nurturing environment.

What will be expected of me?

When your child is enrolled in the preschool, you will become a member of the co-op. You will be expected to attend five general meetings of the co-op. At these meetings, you will sign up for workdays when you will assist in the classroom. On average, you will work two days per month. In addition, you will be expected to serve on a committee (such as library, play dough, bulletin boards, etc.) or to serve on the Board. Parents are also asked to contribute their time, talents and ideas to maintain and improve the growth and success of the preschool. For more information, see the School Handbook.

What do children do in the classes?

The class format is similar for each group: Class begins with “circle time” when the group comes together on the carpet for greeting, attendance, songs and the calendar. The teacher explains the planned activities for the day. The children then have self-selection time when they may take part in any or all of the day’s activities. These activities may include painting, play dough, cooking, puzzles, large motor activities or dramatic play. At the end of self-selection time, the class cleans up, comes together on the carpet for a story, and then has snack. After snack, the class participates in group activities such as music, dance and other gross motor activities. This is usually followed by free time outside or in the “Big Room”.

When and how do I register?

Enrollment opens to the general public on February 15th, and families are accepted on a first come-first served basis. For all classes, a child must be the designated age by September 1 of the school year. For more information, please see the enrollment page.

How can I work in the classroom when I have a younger child at home too?

Many DACP families choose to be a part of the Drayton Avenue Babysitting Co-op. This is a group of families that belong to DACP and provide babysitting for each other. It is a simple swap of time – you earn “hours” when you watch other kids and spend “hours” when someone watches yours. The DABC currently has around 15 families participating so you’re sure to find a sitter any time you need it!