Why We Chose A Co-Op Preschool

I started my blog in the late summer of 2008.  At the time it was just Mrs. Beagle and myself.  It wasn’t long after that we found out we were expecting our first baby.

Side Note: It’s funny because when you look at the comparison between blogs and children, my blog is now considered pretty ‘old’ whereas I still feel like I’m brand new at being a parent sometime.

Who would have guessed even back then how quickly time would fly?  They say time speeds up when you become a parent, and man, that’s so true.

Today is the first day of pre-school for Little Boy Beagle.  He is excited and I’m confident it will be a good experience for him.  He loves to learn.  He loves to play.  He doesn’t love to share so much, and I’m hoping that the environment will help him tune that skill.  He’s pretty excited and so are we.

Turns out, you need to start looking at pre-school options pretty early in the game.  Luckily my wife was on top of it so we were able to do our homework.  From the get-go, my wife favored a co-op preschool.  This is a type of school where the parents are expected to do a portion of the work.  For example, my wife is the Assistant Treasurer for the school.  So far, she has no idea what that that entails because the Treasurer has been too busy to spend much time with her, but from the sounds of it, she’ll be helping track the incoming payments and hounding parents who are late with their bills.  There are other roles from planning external activities to planning and coordinating parties, and all parents must volunteer in the classroom around once per month.

This all made sense to us because:

  1. It keeps parents more involved – It’s important for us to be involved with our kids school and education.  We don’t want to oversee every part of their education, but we realize that we have a big part in determining the success of our kid’s schools, not just expecting that teachers will do all the work.  Staying involved with the classroom is a good step for us to stay involved.
  2. It builds a relationship with the teachers – Being more active in the classroom will give us more face time with his teacher, and allow us to be more aware of what he is doing, what he is succeeding at, and where he might need some help.
  3. It gives us other parents to know – Each parent (usually the mom) works about once per month, and there are two parents there every day.  They rotate it around so you’re not paired with the same parent.  This, along with some of the outside work, will provide a way to meet and get to know other parents.

Surprisingly, the co-op school seems to be fading a bit.  We looked online and several that showed up as co-op schools through search engines have converted to regular pre-schools.  I’m guessing that this is because more and more parents work full time, meaning that they simply aren’t available to do the classroom work that is required.  We have a great feeling about our pre-school, they seem to be doing well (they even added a second session because of higher than anticipated enrollment, likely picking up some of the people that would have looked into the now converted schools I just mentioned), and they’ve been around a while.

Regardless, today is a happy and a sad day.  Pre-school is a big milestone and we are happy that this is a stepping stone for our son’s education, but it’s so sad to believe that the little baby we just held in our arms yesterday (or so it seems) is already heading away from us.

What are your thoughts on co-op preschool?