Preschool Coops... not having much luck finding any info. - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 6 Old 03-29-2011, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
hippielibbie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Posts: 3
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Google is just NOT my friend with preschool coops. I'm hoping someone can chime in and help me a bit, please

Background: My DD is 19 months old (probably a wee bit young for preschool) but I like to plan ahead, do plenty of reasearch so I go into anything with a clear head. With that said I have a few questions:

1) Are all of the mom's there at the sametime during the school sessions?
2) what is the general age range for beginning a learning program
3) I realize it varies by area, and weather or not there is a professional there, but what is the going rate for a coop?
4) How do you find one in your area, and if you can't how hard is it to start one?
5) What has been your personal experience with preschool coops? Likes/dislikes? Anything you would have done differently?
6) Are they difficult to get into? Wait list... that sort of thing?

Any insight you can give me would be great. I personally wasn't homeschooled as a child, but I can feel myself going down that path

stillheart.gifthanks.gif
hippielibbie is offline  
#2 of 6 Old 03-30-2011, 05:05 AM
 
Mittsy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: somewhere over the rainbow...
Posts: 622
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)


Quote:
Originally Posted by hippielibbie View Post

Background: My DD is 19 months old (probably a wee bit young for preschool) but I like to plan ahead, do plenty of reasearch so I go into anything with a clear head. With that said I have a few questions:

1) Are all of the mom's there at the sametime during the school sessions?
Preschool goes at the same time as school. The mom's are usually there on a rotating schedule, at least that's what I've been told.

2) what is the general age range for beginning a learning program
I've heard of them starting at as young as 18mo. Personally though I wouldn't put my child in one until at least 4-4.5yrs, if at all possible.

3) I realize it varies by area, and weather or not there is a professional there, but what is the going rate for a coop?
It really depends on your area, whether it's church based or private, and sometimes your income. Around here it's like I think $3000/mo.

4) How do you find one in your area, and if you can't how hard is it to start one?
Ask around at churches, YMCA's usually have one, and ask your mom friends. I would have no idea about starting one.

5) What has been your personal experience with preschool coops? Likes/dislikes? Anything you would have done differently?
Don't have any.

6) Are they difficult to get into? Wait list... that sort of thing?
Depends on where you want to go. Some have wait lists, but I don't think all do.

 
Do you want to put your child in a preschool co-op, or find a hs co-op for preschoolers? I didn't really know which you meant, so I just assumed the preschool co-op. HS co-op's usually are geared for older children, and you can find them through some local hs groups.


 


treehugger.gifhippie.gifhomeschool.gifnamaste.gifnovaxnocirc.gifcrochetsmilie.gifblahblah.gifenergy.gifgoorganic.jpggd.gifteapot2.GIFbftoddler.giffamilybed2.gif
 
Mittsy is offline  
#3 of 6 Old 03-31-2011, 01:13 PM
 
jeteaa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Out there
Posts: 908
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

the coop dd2 (and I) are in is through the community college. You would not think it was associated with the CC because it looks like any other play based preschool in the area though. We put our fliers at the library, Doc offices, local PS elementary schools and other places families go. Web searches are not the best way to find coops because coops run on a very tight budget and most don't spend the time or money to to a business like website.

jeteaa is offline  
#4 of 6 Old 03-31-2011, 03:33 PM
 
shannon_na_gig's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Silver Spring, MD
Posts: 53
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

All of your questions will vary by geographical area.  I live in Montgomery County, Maryland, on the border of DC.  This is a highly educated, upwardly mobile crowd and people start their kids in preschool early.

 

To answer your questions:

 

1) Are all of the mom's there at the sametime during the school sessions?

Usually 1-2 moms are there.  Some co-ops will let you stay all the time if you request it.


2) what is the general age range for beginning a learning program

Varies.  The earlies in this are is 18 months.  Most people put their kids in preschool at age 2 or 3.  Of course, the amount of time at the school varies depending on age.  For example, the 2 year olds are generally there twice a week, from 9-11am.


3) I realize it varies by area, and weather or not there is a professional there, but what is the going rate for a coop?

Co-ops are the cheapest option in my area.  They range from $150-$300 per month. 


4) How do you find one in your area, and if you can't how hard is it to start one?

My area has a lot of preschool fairs, so you can get info there.  There are also a lot of moms groups where people will recommend places.  You can also just google "co-op" or preschool or nursery on Google maps and you'll see what is near your address.  Then you can check out their websites and set up a tour.  Schools in our area let you come visit a class.

 

My moms group recently decided to start our own.  We have about 15 families interested.  There are curriculums for sale online which we are researching and we're looking for a place to rent out to have it (or do it in our homes). I don't think it's hard to start if you have some committed families, with people you like and trust.  It is a lot of work though if you want to do it seriously.

 

5) What has been your personal experience with preschool coops? Likes/dislikes? Anything you would have done differently?

I applied to 3 co-ops in my area, and was waitlisted at all of them.  It's recommended here that you apply a year early to avoid that (!)

I liked all 3 of them when I visited.  Very warm, loving environments with a strong community feel. 


6) Are they difficult to get into? Wait list... that sort of thing?
see above
 

 

Good luck!

shannon_na_gig is offline  
#5 of 6 Old 04-01-2011, 04:07 AM
 
pigpokey's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Decatur, GA
Posts: 3,110
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

I was involved in starting a co-op preschool (parent owned preschool with one parent volunteering in the classroom each day).  My experience was that it was horribly inconvenient with little added value to my child.  I loved the other families.  But here I was twice a week, everybody has to look presentable and be organized to do a half-hour of driving there (15 minutes each way), then two or two and a half hours later I have to do another half-hour of driving.  I had a baby so I wasn't getting a "break," and when the baby was old enough to enroll, then I'd be paying $14 an hour (which is above the babysitting rate) to get a break.  (It broke down to about $7 per hour per child PLUS transportation PLUS volunteer hours, which were heavy.)  And the straw that broke it for me was that our Reggio inspired preschool was get this ... trying to duplicate a home environment.  (Slams hand into forehead.)  Why am I doing all this driving?   Hmmm.

 

I think it may be nice for only children -- and a reasonable expense to have a few mornings off where you can plan to spend some time in peace.

 

My solution was a middle-aged babysitter once a week whose own kids were pre-teens / teens who would take my kids for wholesome activities together.  It was cheaper with no overhead, and I got to pay my bills in quiet.  And so starts the home schooling mentality ... if I don't have to rent the darn building, I can do this a lot cheaper on my own.

pigpokey is offline  
#6 of 6 Old 04-01-2011, 07:48 AM
 
What Next?'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2010
Posts: 28
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)

It's interesting how many differences there are!  We live in a rural/suburban area outside a couple neighboring medium-size cities.  There is 1 co-op right in my village, another 10 minutes down the road, and quite a few more if I was willing to drive 20-40 minutes.  Most in this area service 3 and 4yo's.  3yo's are typically in a 2-hour 2-day-per-week class.  4yo's are typically in a 2- to 3-hr, 3- to 4-day per week class.  Some schools offer extra "enrichment classes" to prepare for kdg.

 

Every co-op is different.  Some are governed by a board, some have hired teachers, some are run entirely by parents.  There are no hard-and-fast rules here.  If you find one you like, great!  If you don't, and you and your friends are willing to put in some work, start one on your own. 

 

You asked:

1) Are all of the mom's there at the sametime during the school sessions?

At my dd's school, no.  There was 1 teacher, 1 teacher's assistant, and 1 parent helper.  The parent helper provided snack for that day (it usually worked out to 1-2 times per month), helped the kids wash their hands before snack, washed out the paint brushes and put away the art supplies at the end of class, and did light cleaning after the students left (wiped down tables, washed floors, did dishes).  During table-time activites (only for our 4yo class), the parent would be in charge of one table, and would facilitate the activity for each small group as they rotated.  Usually a craft or play-doh, always something fun, never more than 5 minutes per group.  And of course, the parent gets to play with the kids during "free play" time!  A couple times per year, the school scheduled major work days when every family came to really scrub the toys, wash the windows, clean up the yard, etc.  Every week one family was assigned "yard duty".  That involved raking, mowing, and shovelling - but only for the week you were assigned!

 


2) what is the general age range for beginning a learning program

Here, it's 3 to 4.  The 3yo's mostly play, with a bit of circle time, sharing time, songs and finger plays, and an organized snack time (that is, they are expected to follow the routine of washing up, sitting in a chair to eat, using polite words at the table, and throwing away their own trash).  The 4yo's generally have a bit more "academics", but at my dd's school, that was still pretty low-key - letter of the week, counting off before going outside to play, ABC and 123 songs and books.

 


3) I realize it varies by area, and weather or not there is a professional there, but what is the going rate for a coop?

Here, they're VERY reasonable.  The least expensive in the area is about $80/month for a 2-day 3yo program.  My dd's school is about $120-$130 for their 4yo program this year (3 days) - and they do have a professional teacher.  When dd attended, the teacher was working on her masters in education, so not actually certified yet, but definitely trained.  For reference, the local Montessori preschool is NOT a co-op, and they're pricier - about $170 for their 3-day program  And they still send home plenty of fundraisers too!

 


4) How do you find one in your area, and if you can't how hard is it to start one?

Ours mostly attend the preschool fairs.  But even that's hard to find out about!  I learned about the fair I went to from a parent I was talking to at the library.  I would ask your local libraries (not just one - ask at a couple), and I would contact your local elementary school too, maybe ask at the Y or any other facility that offers children's programs. And I definitely recommend you talk to other parents, especially those with older children.  The library is a great place for that.

 

Co-ops are a lot of work for the parents, and some years there just aren't any parents to take over the website or advertising.  The better schools (I'm not talking academics here - I'm referring to the schools that parents and kids just LOVE) actually don't do much advertising at all - word of mouth and a sign outside their door is all they need to keep enrollment up.  You may have to look HARD.  But at least you're starting early!

 


5) What has been your personal experience with preschool coops? Likes/dislikes? Anything you would have done differently?

Our whole family adored dd's preschool.  For us, it was nice to have a teacher planning out the day - less for the parents to do.  Plus, I'm not a teacher.  I honestly have no clue how to guide a pack of small children.  But I LOVED being able to come to dd's classroom, to know all the kids, and form friendships with the parents.  I didn't love snack - I stressed over whether the kids would like what I chose, but I also rarely threw anything away!  I didn't love the big work sessions - it really was a LOT of work.  But that's what kept the costs down, and we couldn't have afforded more than $120/month.

 

What I did love was the feeling of family.  DD had severe seperation issues, and I had to attend class with her for about 2 months before she could easily let me leave at drop-off.  We were able to take all the time we needed to get to that point.  Another thing I loved (REALLY LOVED) about our program was at the end of class, the kids all played outside (unless it was less than 20 deg. F).  The parents would show up to take their kids home, but most were never in a hurry.  So the 15 minutes of scheduled time on the playground usually turned into 30-60 minute playdates with friends.  It was absolutely wonderful to get to know other parents in this setting.  My best friends in this area are still the parents of the kids my dd went to preschool with.  We CHOSE that school and I think that says a lot about what's important to each family.  That is, we ended up having a lot in common with each other.

 

Would I have done anything differently?  Well, yes and no.  We DID find the absolute perfect school for dd.  But I admit I could have given more consideration to the other schools in the area.  I only toured 3, including the Montessori.  I could have found at least 2 more co-ops to really do a proper comparison. 

 


6) Are they difficult to get into? Wait list... that sort of thing?

Again, depends on the school.  It also depends on what they charge, and how well-established the school is.  Dd's co-op is 50 years old - we actually had a couple kids in dd's class whose parents had gone there!  They didn't advertise much.  And they did bump up their rates during our time there - they were getting so many kids on the wait list that they figured the economics of supply and demand justified a price increase.  That said, though, we had no problem signing up mid-year when dd turned 3 (November birthday, January start at preschool - I was not okay with sending my 2yo to preschool!).  The next year, that same class had 3 kids wait-listed.

 Hope this helps - and good luck!


Mom to DD (6) : Pumpkin
What Next? is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off