Excellence in early education relies on creating an appropriate foundation for the very basic requisites of human qualities: individual intelligences, ethical attitudes, aesthetic awareness, a thirst for learning for its own sake, and the balance between one’s autonomy and that of social responsibility. In the cooperative structure of Our School, parents are involved in the process of recognizing the complexities around these issues and fostering the development of these qualities in the children. Our teachers give help when needed and support the positive contributions of the parents.
The parents’ involvement in Our School is comprehensive, therefore, giving families a variety of opportunities to meet the individual needs and interests of their children. Our School realizes that raising children with guidance rather than indoctrination requires a long commitment and that a partnership between parents and teachers offers the best opportunities for success. To support parents’ commitment to these goals, Our School offers:
- Regular class session meetings to update the parents and discuss curriculum matters, questions, comments, and to exchange observations. It also provides parents with an opportunity to socialize with other parents in the session. Attendance is recommended.
- Workshops/seminars on early childhood topics such as creativity, social limits, literature, violence, and nutrition. These events provide opportunities to socialize with other parents in the school as well as with potential families. These seminars are open to the public and are free of charge. Attendance is recommended.
Required Participation of Parents
For good daily functioning of the school and the preservation of its quality program, we have some basic requirements from parents:
Classroom assistance (co-op)
A family member is required to assist a minimum of once a month in their child’s (or children’s) session. The parent’s degree of assistance depends on their child’s ability to separate and the co-oper’s level of comfort in the situation. Co-opers are encouraged to take risks and our teachers will support them and provide suggestions as needed. The co-oping parents are asked to come 15 minutes early to prepare for the session, to stay after the session is over to help with cleaning, and to make time to discuss the session with the teachers if possible.
Each family is required to give three hours each year for the school’s deep-cleaning day. Activities include cleaning inside, organizing art material, painting furniture, repairing the play ground and making other improvements. This usually occurs on a Saturday or Sunday in August.
As a tax-exempt and non-profit educational institution, member families in the school are required to attend two annual meetings. One in the spring to elect our executive committee and one in the fall to discuss the budget. These are also social events for all.
Our School holds an annual fundraiser. Parents and staff are asked to help raise funds for operating expenses and financial assistance, allowing us to continue our property tax exemption status. We ask each family to be responsible for raising $350 each school year through donations from friends, family, and other individuals. We also encourage families to investigate matching gift programs through donors’ employers. These funds support many aspects of Our School curriculum, including purchasing of additional library books, craft supplies, experimental physics materials, blocks, parent enrichment opportunities, pretend play materials, and more.
These are additional opportunities for families to give in order to ensure the quality of the program, to become more involved in the functioning of the school, and to enjoy social events with other member families.
Two picnics are scheduled each year – one at the beginning of the year to welcome back returning families and meet new families, and one in the spring to say good-bye. These family potlucks are great opportunities for families to build relationships. They are typically held at the school yard and attendance is usually high.
- Volunteer on the Board of Directors as an elected or appointed school official.
- Volunteer on a limited basis to clean, weed, or make repairs to the school yard.
- Search for free or low cost resources for the program as identified by the teachers.
- Encourage prospective families to attend open houses and/or visit a session.