At Carmel Co-op Preschool, we believe that all children have the capacity to learn and will do so given the supportive and loving environment that can be created in a classroom with strong parental involvement. We strive to ensure that each one of our children has a positive and rewarding experience with the time that they spend with us and work hard to ensure the safety and well being of each and every child. Our goal is that every child will leave us filled with confidence and ready for the challenges that lie ahead in their academic careers.
We accept a wide range of children, starting with the late 2s and going up to those ready for kindergarten. The needs of children in this age range vary greatly, so we are fortunate to have such a wonderful ratio of adults to children. We have no more than 5 children for each adult, with many days having ratios as low as 2 children to each adult. Our typical program focuses on helping 2 year olds adapt to being away from home as well as their parents. We work towards developing security and independence and help them navigate working around and with the older children. Our 3 year olds are focused on the transition from parallel play (play next to but not with others) to cooperative play (interacting with others during play). They are learning many valuable social skills that we take for granted at this time. Our 4 and 5 year olds are preparing for kindergarten. They experience a more structured day and will be grouped together for activities designed specifically to develop the skill sets they need to help them succeed in elementary school. While developing these skills, they are also learning compassion, patience, caring, and mentoring as they work with and help the younger students that are also a part of our program.
With such diversity and differentiation being vital to our program we rely heavily on the support of our parents. As a co-op preschool, each family that is enrolled participates one day a week as a helper parent that serves in the capacity of a preschool teacher. A site director, or lead teacher, that is employed by the district, manages and trains all of the parents so that they are prepared to offer the children a practical and rewarding preschool experience. In order to make this possible, parents communicate openly with the lead teacher about their needs and concerns and the teacher listens and responds. Two monthly meetings are held in which management issues are introduced and addressed and parent ed topics are taught to help parents succeed in working with the classroom children. We believe parents are the best teachers of their children. They have raised them from birth (in most cases) and taught them up to the point in which they turn them over to us in preschool. Parents are a valued and integral part of our program which is what makes it work and what makes it a success.
Our overall goal for both parents and children in our preschool is that all of our children will leave feeling confident and ready for kindergarten; and all of our parents will walk away with the confidence to know that they can help not only their own child, but other children as well. Our preschoolers transition from home learning to school learning in a gentle loving environment that rewards them for trying and develops in them a love for others and a love for learning. Our parents learn that they can successfully work with children of a variety of personalities, build community and family with others in the preschool, and develop the confidence to be valued helpers in their children's classrooms through out their academic careers. We believe that all people, parents and children, are valuable and with a little guidance, the successes they can build are limitless.