Cooperative schools depend on the hands-on support of families to administrate and maintain the school and support and encourage a collaborative community within the classroom and throughout the school.
Families Together Cooperative Nursery School’s commitment to be a true cooperative – with sliding-scale tuition, a parent Board, rotating assistants from each child’s family supporting our exceptional teachers, and an incredible parent-run committee structure – is the backbone of our wonderful school.
All families at FTCNS demonstrate their continuing commitment to their child’s education by having at least one adult family member assist in the classroom on a regularly scheduled basis, serving on a school committee or our Board of Directors, and helping sustain the co-op in a variety of ways.
So you’re going to assist in the classroom… what does that mean?
Being an assisting parent/caregiver is a fun, memorable and rewarding experience. In the classroom, the unique qualities and interests of our parent/caregiver assistants enhance the learning environment for the children and teachers. Assisting parents/caregivers also learn and grow as they get an insider view of the life of the classroom, see their child in a new context, develop a closer relationship with the teachers and other students, and broaden their knowledge of child development. In fact, while jumping into a preschool assistant role may sound intimidating, assisting parents/caregivers tell us that their time in the classroom is one of the most meaningful aspects of sending a child to Families Together!
Family member assistants arrive with their child before class begins to help the teachers set up the classroom and check in about the plan for the day. During class time, assisting parents/caregivers play and chat with the children in the classroom, helping them find and participate in a variety of activities. Assistants also help the teachers supervise activities and serve snack. At the end of the class day, assistants and their child stay approximately 30 minutes after class to help the teachers clean up. All assisting parent/caregiver responsibilities and guidelines are written and posted in the classroom for referral.
Assisting parents/caregivers from each child’s family serve in the classroom on a regularly scheduled rotating basis, volunteering approximately once every four weeks. No family is exempt from assisting in the classroom; however, the school can adjust the schedule to each family’s specific needs (giving time off for birth of a new baby, vacation time, illness, etc.), provide support for parents/caregivers whose primary language is not English, and make modifications for parents/caregivers who have a disability or other challenge that would make it difficult to fulfill their assisting responsibilities.
How else do parents participate in the co-op?
Our Board of Directors consists of current parents who volunteer to serve in a board leadership role, chair a committee, or serve in an at-large position. The Board collaborates with the Director to ensure that the co-op is well run and the organization’s Strategic Plan is put into action.
Committees are led by Board members, other parent volunteers, or staff and focus on Fundraising, Social Events, Marketing, Media & Design, Property Services, Admissions, Program Review, Human Resources, Classroom Support, and Family & Staff Support. Committee work generally requires between 2-5 hours per month and committee members are assigned based on parent/caregiver preference. Parents who are unable to make the commitment to serving on the board or a committee have the option of a sliding scale committee work buy-out.
All families are asked to help sustain the co-op by participating in all-school meetings and activities, donating requested supplies and resources, participating in fundraising initiatives, and recruiting new families.