Setting Up A Preschool Co-Op

My daughter with the jellyfish we made for Ocean Day
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If you’re looking for a way to save money and connect with your child, maybe you should consider joining (or forming) a mother-run preschool co-op. For me, it has been fun to spend time with my little girl and her friends, and it has given me the motivation to prepare activities, crafts, and lessons that I might not have done otherwise. Here are some suggestions to get you started:

1.Establish a Group. You most likely already know several moms who would be interested in participating, so you just need to start asking. Ask your the parents of your child’s friends, her church class, the other kids you meet at story time at the library, etc. In my neighborhood, we have a group Facebook page, so I just posted something there and got lots of responses. You can determine the ideal size for your group, but I would recommend 4-6 kids. Remember that you will be the only mama in charge when it’s your turn to teach!

2.Set Up a Schedule. Decide the days and times you want your school to be. Also, decide how you will rotate through the teaching responsibility. Some people might like to do it by weeks, others by months. Any way is great as long as all members of the group feel good about it.

3.Decide On a Routine. Set up a routine for each day of preschool so that the kids always no what  to expect, no matter who is teaching that day. Gathering activities, circle time, songs, books, play time, snack, and craft time are all good things to include each day.

4.Determine the Curriculum. It’s important that each mom/teacher is on the same page when it comes to what lessons will be taught, even though each one will make it her own. For example, you might want to focus on one letter per week, and have additional themes to go along with that. The themes our group selected for this year are: All About Me, Fall, Food and Nutrition, Halloween, Birds, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, Transportation, Community Helpers, Valentine’s Day, Ocean, Children of Other Lands, Spring, Easter, Farms, and Space. Pinterest is full of fun preschool ideas, but only search if you have hours to spend!

5.Set the Rules. What is important for your group? Do you want moms to let you know if their child isn’t going to be there that day? How will you handle days when the host mom (or her kids) get sick? How do you want discipline to be handled in the preschool? If you establish these things from the beginning, it will be easier to stick to them later on.

Most of all, remember that at this age, the best way children learn is through play. You want your child to be excited and happy to go to preschool each day, not to dread it because the workload is too great. Have a good time with your child and her friends, and you’ll be one happy teacher!

You may also be interested in:

Setting Up Your Own Summer Camp

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Dear Debbie, How many days/week should my daughter go to preschool? I don’t work full-time. So she could stay home with me. But she loves school, too. What is best for my child? I’m driving myself insane with this decision!