What are Parent Participation Preschools?
Parent participation preschools schools are founded on the principle that the best education will result from an active partnership among parents, teachers, and children.
Since the schools operate as cooperatives, where parents take turns supervising each other's children in addition to their own, the parents are seen as the “owners” of the school. Parents are expected to regularly participate at all levels ranging from the administration, operation, and maintenance of the facility to teaching in the classroom under the guidance of a professional teacher. This participation fosters a strong sense of community, a rich and varied educational curriculum, and a safe and stimulating environment for preschoolers.
The curriculum at each school is designed so that children can begin to develop their social, emotional, physical, and academic skills in the classroom. The high adult-to-child ratio (1 to 5) provides challenging opportunities for the children. The teacher can directly focus on art, science, music, and other projects, often drawing on the talents of parents. Preschoolers are encouraged to pursue their interests, learn from mistakes, and communicate thoughts and feelings through their words.
The nursery school experience is the child's opportunity to socialize, and to learn how to get along with others. Just as important is building self-esteem so a child can feel good about himself or herself. Hands-on projects facilitates the development of small muscles and other physical skills. Group sharing encourages language development, and pre-reading skills are acquired through sorting and pattern recognition games. Academics fall into place with the readiness that comes along with it. The rich and varied educational curriculum is designed to provide for the natural development of basic skills that a child needs to learn by the age of 5 years.
How the Family Connections Model Differs from the Traditional Parent Participation Preschool Model
Family Connections subscribes to the same guiding principle of the traditional cooperative preschool: that the best education for preschool children will result from an active partnership among parents, teachers, and children.
However, Family Connections serves a different population then most traditional parent participation schools. Parents in the traditional parent participation preschools own the school; they are expected to regularly participate at all levels ranging from serving on the Board of Directors, administration, operation, and maintenance of the facility to teaching in the classroom under the guidance of a professional teacher. Family Connections parents typically do not have the same high level of involvement for many reasons, stemming from their educational background and lack of previous experience in the many aspects of running a cooperative preschool. For many, this is the first time they have become an integral part of any school community.
To guide and support the parents, Family Connections employs more staff than a typical cooperative preschool and while leadership is strongly encouraged, parents have the flexibility to participate at their own comfort level.
From The California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools (CCPPNS) website.
“I’ve brought my kids since they were a baby. My son, Ryan, was having problems as a toddler talking. I believe that having him with other children helped him with his talking. At Family Connections, I saw progress.”