Welcome to Fort Mill Preparatory Cooperative Preschool!

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. 

Each school is an organized non-profit group and has a parent board that helps make decisions for the school. The preschoolers attend several days each week (2 or 3 days per week) or attend full time (5 days per week). Classes have an average of less than the state recommended ratio.

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 owner of the cooperative school participates with the parents in monthly meetings and acts as a resource person to the teacher(s) and parent(s) during the preschool year.

All preschools admit 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. The child develops physically, intellectually, socially and emotionally as he/she:
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?

What is a Co-op?
​"A co-op, short for cooperative, is an organization that is owned or managed by the members of the group. The first co-op preschool in the United States was founded in 1916 at the University of Chicago. The founding mothers' goal was to pool their resources to create a child care program that would allow them to participate in the war effort.A co-op preschool is usually a non-profit organization. A professional teacher, director, and/or staff are often employed, but parents are relied upon to run the school."Parents are the teachers, the parents are the janitors, the parents are the fundraisers, the parents are the maintenance workers, the parents do almost everything," explains Sandra Westlie, director of the Peter Pan Parent Co-op in El Cerrito for 21years.Parents participate during the preschool day, at regularly scheduled night meetings, on work-party days, and occasionally during off-hours for special projects. All this participation keeps down the cost of running a school - a key benefit to many parents.Co-op preschools range in complexity. They can be as simple as a group of friends meeting on a regular basis and providing activities for their children, or as structured as a professionally run preschool. A number of co-op preschools are offered through local adult education programs, and parents can earn school credit by participating" (Gordon, C., 2005) 

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
​Participate in monthly sessions on such topics as:               
Children’s Emotions               
Effective Discipline               
Learning to Control Anger
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
Attend monthly parent education meetings
​Serve on a parent committee