What is a Co-op?

child with a mask holding a stack of play dough for the camera and smiling


At the heart of our program, you’ll find the “cooperative spirit.”  Caregivers, board members, preschool teachers, Child Studies instructors and Bates Technical College all work together to manage the preschool. Everyone contributes to the success of the program! 

Family Responsibilities

To help the preschool run efficiently, each family has the following 5 basic responsibilities vital to the successful operation of the school:

  1. Fulfill at least two out of the following three roles: a committee position, a board position, and/or a classroom job 
  2. Sign up for one monthly classroom deep-cleaning night
  3. Help with the auction (our main annual fundraiser) and other fundraising opportunities throughout the year
  4. Work shifts in the classroom (on average 3 per month, depending on the number of children in the class and the length of the month. Shift responsibilities are assisting the teacher, classroom cleanup, and/or providing snack)
  5. Be responsible for getting your classroom shift covered if you have a conflict on your scheduled day

Benefits of a Co-op Program

There are many benefits to joining a cooperative preschool program. Through our partnership with Bates Technical College, families have access to parent education and early childhood resources, and can meet with the Bates instructor during Parent Shares to get expert advice about parenting questions.  Co-op families also become members of a tight-knit and supportive preschool community.  Families share ideas and experiences, make new friends, and often stay connected well beyond the preschool years! 

Tips for working cooperatively in a co-op:

  • Know what it means to be a member. Read the policies, bylaws and handbooks. Know what you have agreed to do when you signed the registration form. 
  • Learn about your committee or board position. Know who to ask for help. 
  • Stay informed. Read all announcements, newsletters, bulletin boards, work and field trip schedules, and observe a board meeting. 
  • Help each other succeed and take pride in each other’s successes. 
  • Speak positively about each other and your organization at every opportunity. 
  • Try to do things with enthusiasm—it’s contagious. 
  • Ask questions when in doubt—go to the source for the straight scoop. 
  • Remember what it was like to be new and a little overwhelmed. Take time to introduce yourself and help others. 
  • Keep in mind that the facility you are in is not yours—it is to be kept clean and all rules observed regarding posting signs, parking, which door to walk in, and use of telephones. 
  • Let your voice be heard! Answer surveys, put ideas in the suggestion box, ask for  conferences  with  any  officer,  teacher  or  instructor,  and join a committee or the board. 
  • Support parents when their child is acting out—it  happens  to most parents at some point, and it is always distressing!
two children using hand magnifiers as giant glasses

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