How Co-op Works
As a co-op, our school runs on the cooperation and contributions of our member families.
- Co-op families work in the classroom as assistant teachers, enabling them to get to know fellow Open Circle family members and their child’s classmates. Through this sharing, many coop families develop bonds that last for decades, providing support and friendship beyond the preschool years.
- Those working in the classroom can be parents, grandparents, au pairs/nannies or other trusted family members that have been through our assistant teaching training and orientation, signing and meeting all the required documentation.
- The administration of our school is run entirely by the families. Every family must fulfill a co-op job.
- Parents attend monthly meetings where they learn skills and help build the co-op community.
- Open Cirlce also depends on our families to help with other duties throughout the year, including participation in fundraising events, classroom setup, and administrative organization for the school.
- Open Circle is affiliated with the Seattle Central Community College network of coop preschools.
Why join a co-op?
Because you are your child’s first teacher, you also:
- desire to learn about child development first-hand in the classroom and at monthly parent meetings from highly-trained, supportive teachers and parent educators;
- wish to demonstrate involvement in your child’s life and watch her/him discover the joy of learning in a classroom setting from the very beginning;
- believe in the spirit of cooperation – for children, caregivers, and families; hope to meet, learn from, and work with other parents of preschool-aged children;
- enjoy the camaraderie and support of other parents, caregivers, and families;
- embrace the unique opportunity to develop special relationships with your child’s preschool friends, caregivers, parents, and local neighborhood/community;
- visualize meeting neighborhood families and making long-lasting friendships;
- understand that nurturing the development of social skills is of greater importance than measuring academic progress in preparing children for future school success;
- strive to be involved in the decisions that affect your child’s preschool experience; possess special skills and attributes you would like to share with your child and your preschool community – both in and out of the physical classroom;
- value hands-on learning for children, caregivers, and their families;
- support a nurturing, activity-rich environment for your child to safely explore; and
- realize that you don’t have all the answers to parenting concerns and questions.
How do I learn more about the co-op model?
Please read this a fantastic short article, published by Parent Cooperative Preschools International. It describes the unique structure and benefits of coop preschools.