How a co-op preschool works

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How a co-op preschool works

A cooperative is a school who is owned by the parents. Everyone who enrolls their children in our school each year become equal owners in our school. So every year I have a whole new set of bosses. And they come into the school as equal partners, in a democratic way. We make all of our decisions through a process of discussion. We meet once a month. We hash through all the issues and everything we have to decide. Parents are expected to work in the classroom one morning a week as my assistant teacher. So not only are they my bosses but then I am their supervisor. So it becomes this incredible dynamic where we're all in this together, truly. It is not a boss/employee relationship, but it truly is a partnership which is what progressive education is all about in the first place. In addition to working in the classroom one day a week each parent, these parents also perform all the other tasks within the school, from administrative work to janitorial work; everything else that makes the school operate other than what I do as the teacher. So it allows the parent to have real direct hands-on influence on the kind of education their child is getting. They also get to see how the child learns and to, it becomes a great basis for the rest of their child's education, so they can really understand what their child needs in order to learn what they need to learn in their education.

Watch Video: How a co-op preschool works by Tom Hobson, ...


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Tom Hobson

Co-Op Preschool Teacher

Tom is a preschool teacher, blogger, artist, and author. For the past 10 years, he’s worked for the Woodland Park Cooperative preschools, teaching two to five year olds in Seattle, Washington where he lives with his wife and daughter. His award-winning blog, “Teacher Tom,” has earned him an international following as a leading proponent of a progressive, play-based curriculum and the cooperative model of early childhood education, as well as a fierce advocate for public policies that support the whole child and the teaching of democratic values to even our youngest citizens. His blog, like his classroom, is a place of exploration of the physical, social, political, emotional, and even spiritual world. It’s a place of experimentation, where the adults learn every bit as much as the children.

Tom is the author of A Parent’s Guide To Seattle, a regular speaker on early childhood education, a board member of the Fremont Arts Council, and a founding member of the Superhuggers performance art ensemble.

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