In a cooperative preschool, family participation is requirement--otherwise it is not a cooperative preschool! At Alpha-Bet, we encourage families to participate in the classrooms, but recognize that family and work commitments may make that difficult. Regardless of whether you choose to be in the classroom or not, we do expect our families to contribute to the running of the school in other ways throughout the year, as members of the Alphabet Community.
As a co-oping parent, you serve as a classroom helper
Depending on the size of the class, co-oping families are expected to serve as a classroom helper on a predetermined, rotating basis. Helpers arrive early to assist the teacher with any setup and preparation for the morning, assist with classroom activities, helping children wash hands, etc, provide the morning snack, and stay after to assist with student pickup and clean-up at the end of the day.
This offers the family more than early schooling for the child; it offers an educational experience for parents as well. Parents in the classroom have the opportunity to watch their children in a group of their peers, socializing and making friends. They can see how their child interacts with other adults, and how their child reacts to their parents working with other children (sometimes a challenge for some kids!) They get to know their children's friends in a more intimate way than just in the hallway or during pickup. They model and encourage appropriate classroom behavior under the supervision of a professional teacher who can offer and suggest new or different strategies for situations that arise that can translate to other areas outside the classroom.
Conversely, the family offers the school much more than their tuition; they offer the advantages of their talents, their skills, and their experience, providing a much richer experience for all students involved. And since classroom helpers vary more often than at a traditional preschool, children get used to different personalities and leadership figures in the classroom as well.
Committees & Work Days
Alpha-Bet is owned and operated by its members. We rely on the special talents, skills, and time of our families to build a community that keeps our school running smoothly and models involvement for our children. A family member for each enrolled child will select a position that helps oversee the various operations and activities of the school.
Each school year, Alpha-Bet schedules a series of work days to get the school up and running for the year, keep it healthy and safe throughout the year, and close it down for the summer. Two of these workdays are mandatory (classroom setup at the beginning of the year, and classroom cleanup at the end of the year) and all families must choose a third workday (several will be offered throughout the year).
Alpha-Bet is a Virginia-licensed day center and all volunteers and staff are required to receive 4 hours of training each year. Part of this training requirement is met by attending the mandatory Parent Orientation on the first day of school and Co-op Training during the first week. Several other opportunities will be provided by the school during the year. These are often workshops on topics that are relevant to the school. Past offerings have been workshops on topics such as Kindergarten readiness, reading strategies and CPR training.