Family Cooperative Preschool Parent Commitments

1.) Co-oping

Co-oping is an invaluable part of our program. It means that there is always someone nearby to hear the quiet voice of a child asking a question, to assist in a project begun in a child’s imagination, to push a swing, or to be a customer at the ice cream shop on the train in our yard. Co-oping is such a great opportunity for parents to see their children explore the wider world and to learn strategies from the teachers that can be used at home.

During your co-op days, you will attend school with your child. Most of your time will be spent helping out and playing with your own child and other children as well. Each day there are two parent co-opers and three teachers. You will be guided by the teachers when help is needed with a certain activity or area. At Group Time, which is the last 30 minutes of the day, parent co-opers clean up the activity tables/areas. If it seems appropriate, the teachers may suggest starting to clean up 10 minutes prior to Group Time so that you can join us in the Big Room to read books before leaving for the day. The teachers may also ask parents to join Group Time if that would be more helpful.

Parents are required to co-op a minimum of 10 times during the school year (approximately once a month). Sign-up for co-op slots are managed online and should be completed by each family before the start of the school year. If scheduling conflicts arise during the year, parents are allowed to swap their co- op slots with other families (communicated directly between families). If you or your child is ill on one of your scheduled co-op days, it would be helpful if you could try to swap with another family, but if this is not possible, we understand that you will need to stay home. Information on the online sign-up process will be provided to families over the summer. For those interested, a co-oping tutorial will happen after the Orientation Meeting held at the beginning of each school year. Additional information on co-oping is provided in the Parent Handbook posted on our website.

2.) Committees

Committees assist the teachers in the operation of many aspects of the school and are an important part of the parents’ role at Family Co-op. At least one parent from each family serves on a minimum of one parent committee or on the Parent Executive Board. All families are welcome to participate in additional committees and activities if they have the time and interest. Families are asked to indicate committee and/ or board preferences when school health forms and paperwork are submitted in the spring. The committees are as follows: Fundraising, Hospitality, Indoor Maintenance, Outdoor Maintenance, Photography, Publicity, Supply, Website, Enrollment, Co-op Scheduling. The Parent Executive Board includes a President, Vice President, Secretary and an Assistant Treasurer. Detailed roles for committees and board positions are in the Parent Handbook posted on our website.

3.) Fundraising

Fundraising has served an important purpose at Family Cooperative Preschool since its 1952 founding. Mrs. Mary Charles, a prominent North Andover citizen and the primary benefactress of the school at that time, believed that fundraising would be critical in enabling the school to operate with low tuition rates, offer financial aid and retain an extraordinary team of teachers. In addition, Mrs. Charles’ vision was for fundraising to build a sense of community. Working together as a team toward a common goal has enhanced many families’ experiences at Family co-op and helped to create enduring friendships.

Each family is asked to support Family Co-op and its legacy. A complete list of Fundraising Events will be shared as we approach each new school year. Our biggest fundraiser is our Annual Auction. We expect at least one parent from each family to attend this event. We encourage families to participate in the smaller events that occur throughout the year.

4.) Clean-Up Parties

Three times a year (Fall/Winter/Spring), we have a Clean-Up Party on a Saturday from 9:00 - noon. The purpose of these parties is to tend to the items necessary for the basic upkeep of the school. Sign-up will be managed online and information on the sign-up process will be provided to families over the summer. Sign-up should be completed by each family before the start of the school year. One parent from each family is required to attend (without children) at least one of the three Clean-Up Parties held during the year. Work activities during these sessions may include: general cleaning, painting, cleaning out cubbies, sanding and/or staining outdoor wood structures, raking, etc. These parties are wonderful opportunities for parents to get to know on another and the school itself. Some breakfast items are served!

5.) Parent Meetings

We have 5 Parent Meetings throughout the year. They are usually Thursday evenings starting at 7:30. The Orientation Meeting is set in September before school starts. At the Fall Meeting the teachers will share the curriculum and our child-centered philosophy and practices. More information regarding our Winter and Spring Meetings will come during the school year. The Annual Meeting/Potluck Dinner is in May and starts at 6:30. Parents contribute meals, side dishes, salads, desserts and drinks for this social event. The more formal part of the evening begins at 7:30 where the school business is shared and the Parent Executive Board for the following year is voted on.