The Coop Model

What is a Cooperative Preschool?

The Watertown Cooperative Nursery School is managed by a Board of Directors consisting of current parents in leadership roles and the Director of the School. Parents take critical leadership roles, such as President of the Board, Treasurer, and VP of Fundraising. The parent-led Board of Directors makes significant decisions about the school including programs offered, tuition rates, enrollment, annual budget, fundraising events, teacher hiring, and more.

Being part of a cooperative nursery school requires time and commitment. WCNS is the product of all who share in it. It will grow and change from year to year to meet the needs of the children and parents. It is an exciting and yet serious responsibility for all of us to accept a role in the continuing evolution of the school. Parents’ responsibilities include: parent helping in the classroom, participating in fundraising by serving on a fundraiser event committee, promoting the school to future families, and taking part in school maintenance/clean up.

Parent Helping in the Classroom

Parent help is an integral and wonderful part of the cooperative school program. There are four (4) adults in the classroom every day – three qualified staff teachers and one parent. Many parents find parent helping to be some of the most rewarding moments in their time at WCNS. It is truly a unique and special opportunity to get to know each of your child’s classmates over the course of the school year, as well as participate first hand in the daily curriculum of the school.

On your parent helper day you will assist the teachers in the classroom by helping with playground supervision, providing a healthy snack for the class, helping with clean-up, and playing with the kids.

The parent helping commitment is generally one day per month and the schedule is agreed upon at the beginning of the semester.

Leadership & Committee Roles

There are a variety of specific roles at school with varying time commitments and skill requirements. Given the breadth of parent ownership in running the school, every family is usually able to find an opportunity to contribute within their comfort zone. To be clear, there is the expectation that all families contribute to school operations by either actively participating in a committee, co-chairing a committee, or taking a leadership role. Most positions are set up as “co”-positions to a) share the workload and b) help ensure continuity each year.

Types of parent roles include:

  • Co-Presidents
  • Co-Treasurers
  • Secretary
  • Fundraising Committee – VP, Event Co-Chair, Committee Members
  • Enrollment Committee – Parent with Director
  • Education Committee – Parent with Lead Teacher
  • Publicity Committee – Parent with Director
  • Webmaster

Time commitment for these activities varies by role taken and timing of school activities. However, we do have several specific expectations:

  • Each family is expected to participate in fundraising. Fundraising accounts for a significant portion of our operating budget and is essential to the stability of the school.
  • A parent from each family should serve as a committee co-chair for at least one of their two years at the WCNS.
  • Each family is expected to help with recruiting/enrollment events and to publicize the school to potential new students.

Benefits of the Cooperative Model

Participation in a cooperative school is an incredible opportunity to be intimately involved in your child’s education and get to know a community of amazing families. WCNS is truly a place where both your child and you will make friendships that last well beyond the nursery school years.

What Families Have Said

“WCNS is a wonderful community; I am constantly amazed at how lucky the school is to have such committed and intelligent families involved. I think you only get that by having the parents so intimately involved in the operations of the school.”

“For us, the parent involvement has been a tremendous opportunity to play a more active and meaningful role in our child’s preschool experience. It has also been a fantastic way to get to know the other families.”