How to Start a Co-op Preschool with Friends

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tips to set up a preschool co-op in your home

Have you ever wished to start a co-op preschool? Here are some useful tips to make it a success!

I’ve arrange an at residence preschool with buddies for every of my 4 youngsters! Not solely have the children constructed lifelong friendships, however I’ve too! I’m excited to share the entire particulars with you that I’ve realized after eight years of running co-ops.

Inside this submit I share how I arrange my co-op preschool with buddies, the way it works, what the father or mother obligations are, and a few curriculum concepts.

RELATED: Need a weekly plan to use with your toddler? Try our 12 months of toddler exercise calendars.

welcome bug themed activity for kids

What is a Co-op Preschool?

A co-op preschool (or homeschool preschool co-op) is a college created by a group of fogeys that work collectively to present academic and play-based studying alternatives for his or her youngsters.

There are additionally non-profit cooperative preschools with administrators and paid educators and there are father or mother participation colleges the place dad and mom work with academics at a college. These are all nice colleges as effectively, however usually are not what I’m speaking about.

The sort of co-op preschool I’m speaking about in the present day is way less complicated. It is created by a group of 4-5 dad and mom who take turns educating youngsters of their houses. Each father or mother takes a flip whereas the opposite dad and mom get a break! 

No cash is exchanged and there’s no tuition. Each household participates equally as greatest that they will. 

How do you start a Preschool Co-op?

kids sorting toys by color using a large kiddie pool

1. Make a resolution to start one.

That’s crucial first step. As you make that call, it’s your decision to speak to different households who’re doing comparable issues (or have up to now) or analysis a number of ways in which different households have executed co-ops. There isn’t any fallacious means since every group of children and oldsters shall be totally different.

2. Decide on the age vary to your co-op.

It’s essential to resolve on the age vary to your co-op and search for youngsters that fall into that age vary. Having a mixture of boys and girls can fluctuate issues up a bit as effectively. 

I usually do a preschool co-op with my youngsters when they’re between the ages of 2-5. We often do a co-op for the 2 years earlier than they start kindergarten.

With each of my boys, we did all boys co-ops. With my girls, we did boy/lady co-ops. Both labored nice and had been profitable for various causes. I most well-liked the boy/lady teams as a result of the dynamic and pursuits had been a little bit extra different so made it extra enjoyable for me to educate. 

3. Find some households that need to take part.

In order to start a preschool co-op, you want to have some households that need to take part. 

Here are some locations you’ll be able to search for taking part households:

  • Within your good friend group (and their buddies)
  • Within your loved ones (if any is native)
  • Church neighborhood
  • Local Facebook teams
  • Local preschool buddies/mothers teams
  • Nextdoor
  • Within your neighborhood
  • Etc.

When you’re in search of folks to be a part of, you’ll need to search for households that gel with your parenting type and that really feel snug main a group of children independently and having them over to their home (if doable). 

make a homeschool preschool co-op with friends

4. Have a father or mother assembly to work out the logistics.

Once you’ve got a few households that need to work collectively, have a assembly and work out all the main points. I’ll share extra about this under.

Often we’ll get collectively to meet with the children and chat whereas they play. This helps us see how the group of children is working and speak by means of any questions or considerations.

kids painting boxes with water

How many youngsters ought to you’ve got in your co-op?

My favourite variety of youngsters to have in a preschool co-op is 4. I’ve executed years with 5-6 youngsters and years with simply 4 and 4 is my favourite.

Four is a manageable quantity and doesn’t appear overwhelming to me or unsafe. I additionally like having an excellent variety of youngsters for actions and supplies.

You may assume 2-3 sounds higher. Pick what works for you!

How does a Preschool Co-op work?

Here’s the short model:

  1. Preschool is 1-3 days per week (Pick what works to your group).
  2. Co-op periods final 2-3 hours and are drop-off.
  3. Each household teaches for 4 weeks after which it rotates.
  4. Preschool contains circle time, play time, and a few actions.

Here are extra particulars:

A preschool co-op could be someday a week or a number of relying on the wants or pursuits of the households. I like doing our preschool co-op simply someday per week when my youngsters are 2 and 3 after which utilizing the opposite days for discipline journeys, 1:1 playdates, and different actions.

Each household hosts co-op at their home for 4 weeks after which we rotate. After all households have gotten a flip to host, we start the rotation over once more. Usually by the top of the 12 months, every household has hosted preschool for 2.5 totally different 4 weeks periods. I like to have a constant instructor for 4 weeks as a result of this helps the instructor get to know the children higher and set up a routine. It additionally helps youngsters with any separation nervousness points to have time to regulate. Changing every time or every week could cause a lot of hysteria for some youngsters. Some preschool co-ops like to change hosts every week. Pick what works greatest for you and your youngsters/households.

Our preschool co-op is a drop off program, which signifies that dad and mom drop their little one off after which come again and choose them up a few hours later. If a little one struggles with separation nervousness, households and the host father or mother work collectively to assist make drop off profitable.

Our co-op courses often final for 2 hours or 3 hours relying on the group of children and oldsters and schedules.

As a part of preschool, the host “teacher” often does a easy circle time with songs and tales and likewise contains a lot of free playtime and a few easy actions. Preschool is enjoyable, low-stress, and predominantly little one led!

blue-trak car ramp and three kids playing

What does a typical co-op day appear like?

Each father or mother does co-op a little bit otherwise relying on their persona and expertise working with youngsters. Often after we meet collectively initially of the 12 months we’ll choose particular issues we wish our youngsters to work on or share what our youngsters are inquisitive about in order that we will work these into preschool. We additionally discuss routines that we will all use to assist preserve issues consistent- like singing the identical hiya track on the gathering exercise and the identical goodbye track on the finish of college. 

Some years, my co-op dad and mom are actually organized and a few years they’re extra fly by the seat of our pants form of teams (or a combine). Both work and the children thrive and benefit from the time collectively!

Here’s one typical co-op day schedule:

  • Arrive
  • Free play
  • Gathering exercise/Welcome track
  • Story time (and snack)
  • Activity (Sensory play, superb motor, studying exercise)
  • Free play
  • Activity (Sensory play, superb motor, studying exercise)
  • Free play
  • Clean up/Goodbye 

What curriculum do you utilize to your Co-op Preschool?

Since every group of fogeys and youngsters is totally different, every curriculum has been totally different. We don’t use a scripted program however the curriculum is often based mostly on youngsters’s books or the pursuits of the children, plus holidays!

Some curriculum concepts we now have used embrace:

**COMING SOON- I’m presently placing collectively a number of of the actions I’ve used over the past 2-3 years into a straightforward to use Preschool curriculum framework that’s play-based and child-led and it’ll go on sale subsequent week.

kids playing with puzzles

What are the obligations of fogeys in a Co-op Preschool?

Each group of children/dad and mom shall be totally different. Have an open dialog initially of the 12 months and work by means of the main points in order that there aren’t any surprises. Here are the fundamental obligations we every had.

  1. Host your allotted weeks throughout the 12 months.
  2. Arrive on time for drop off and choose up.
  3. Send your little one with a change of garments and additional diapers/underwear.
  4. If you or your little one is sick, alert the group as quickly as doable, particularly in case you are internet hosting. 
  5. Don’t convey sick youngsters to preschool (or educate when you’re sick).
  6. If you’re unable to host one week, swap with another person for an additional week.
  7. Be constructive and sort and assist youngsters be the identical to one another.
  8. Watch youngsters always (no cellphone calls/texting except an emergency).
  9. Keep TVs and units off.
  10. Kindly encourage youngsters to take part in group circle and actions. 
  11. Use constructive self-discipline methods if there are points with the youngsters and alert dad and mom about any challenges. Work collectively to make class a constructive expertise for all youngsters.

Those are simply a few of the issues we’ve mentioned prior to the start of co-op preschool.

What did we miss? What different questions do you’ve got?

kids painting a monster with markers

What about youthful or older siblings which might be at residence?

Often after I’ve taught co-op I’ll have a youthful sibling (or two) at residence as effectively. During years after I’ll have extra youngsters at residence, we make our co-op teams smaller to preserve the group manageable.

When I’ve had infants to watch throughout co-op preschool, I try to time the baby’s nap in order that it begins proper earlier than the children arrive. If that doesn’t work, I usually will put on the baby in a wrap whereas I educate the group of preschoolers or I’ll put the baby in a highchair to do modified actions alongside of us.

When I’ve wanted to nurse infants throughout preschool, I’ll simply set the children up with some free play actions and can sit down close by and nurse. Over the years I received excellent at shifting round and serving to youngsters and nursing infants on the similar time.

When I’ve had youthful toddlers (underneath age 2) at residence whereas additionally making an attempt to educate preschool, I try to embrace the toddler as a lot as doable and simply modify actions for him/her. 

How can we preserve issues protected/germ free?

When you’re organizing your preschool co-op, be certain to embrace discussions about cleanliness and supplies use to forestall germs from spreading.

Here are a few dialogue matter options:

  1. Masks- Discuss will adults put on them? What about youngsters? What are native pointers the place you reside? 
  2. Group- What dimension of group of children could be collectively safely for gatherings the place you reside? Can your group commit to being a steady cohort/bubble if that’s what pointers require?
  3. Temperatures/symptoms- Have every household examine their little one’s temperature earlier than they arrive to college. If they’ve any worrisome signs, preserve them at residence.
  4. Toy cleanliness- Encourage host households to clear toys earlier than/after college students go to. Make a fast protected sanitizing spray to use earlier than/after youngsters come.
  5. Materials- Try and have a set of supplies for every little one versus sharing every part when doable, particularly with sensory supplies or supplies youngsters may put of their mouths (playdough, sensory bins, snacks).
  6. Wand washing- Encourage hand washing as typically as doable in enjoyable and playful methods, particularly earlier than/after meals, after a little one has sneezed/coughed, and after a little one has used the toilet.
  7. Outdoor play- Is there area obtainable? If so, try to construct out of doors time into preschool when doable. 
  8. Illness- What are your plans for when youngsters/households get sick? How lengthy ought to youngsters be fever/symptom free earlier than they will return to college? 

Do you’ve got another options or matters you assume households ought to talk about earlier than beginning a preschool co-op?

Have you ever started a co-op preschool?

Tell us extra about it within the feedback!

Preschool co-ops take some work initially to get issues arrange after which they’re so superior! I’ve beloved my time to get to know my child’s buddies and I even have beloved my time without work when I’m not internet hosting preschool!

I hope you’ve got as a lot enjoyable beginning a preschool co-op as I’ve!

RELATED: Need extra concepts? A mommy and me e book membership is one other enjoyable program to arrange!

homeschool preschool co-op tips

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