Monday, 7 March 2011

Starting a Co-Op Preschool

Since July when my daughter turned two, I've thought about preschool. Do we put E into school, when is too early, does the school vaccinate, do they follow our philosophies? It's an exhausting and stressful process. I wrote previously about starting a Co-Op of my own and it's taken me the better part of year to get going with it. When I first considered it, I had two kids. The other mom and I decided that two kids does not a preschool make so the idea pretty much got shelved until recently.

I run a group for Skeptic/secular parents and after having almost forgotten about the dream of opening a preschool a parent asked me what I thought about Co-Ops. This opened the conversation once more and suddenly I had 4 other kids ready and willing to get started with Miss E and I.

We promptly scheduled a meeting to discuss our ideas and philosophies.
My main objectives were:

1. Duration - How many days a week and how many hours?
2. Discipline - Are we all on the same page?
3. Curriculum - Do we create our own or buy one?
4. Teacher - Will one of us be responsible for leadership or will we all
provide lessons from day to day?
5. Parent help schedule - Who will work what days and how frequently?
6. Cost - Do we all pitch in one sum at the beginning or per item needed?

After deciding on the details we scheduled an informal play date with just the kids that would be attending the preschool as our monthly group has many more children. We wanted to get the kids together informally to have them interact a bit.

When we all agreed and were ready to get started, I created a shared calendar that outlines each day's events, who will be working, and what the kids need to bring for crafts, food, etc. I also created a spreadsheet listing emergency contacts for each child.

Now to set a date. We start next Monday and I am thrilled! I'd like to blog my journey here. I plan on writing about each day and share what works with the kids and what doesn't. The lessons we do, the crafts we create. I haven't been this excited about something in a long time. I can't wait to get started with the kids. Next Monday can't come soon enough!