The YCP has two classes; the “3’s Class” is for children who have turned three years old by December 1st, while the “4’s Class” is for children who have turned four years old by December 1st.
Our program is designed as an open play environment whereby children learn and develop as a result of carefully selected activities and materials, including field trips. Our main goal is to have children develop an adequate self-concept in a school setting. We feel that what children are able to learn depends largely on their feelings about themselves. The YCP provides an opportunity for children to:
- Gain insights into how they relate to others, both adults and children;
- Learn of the new world around them;
- Try new experiences without fear of failure;
- Discover for themselves their strengths and weaknesses.
Play is a child’s medium of expression and through it, he learns how to give and take, to respect the rights of others, to modify his own desires, and to meet the requirements of the society in which he lives without losing his essential identity as a person.
Our preschool offers the child a place of her own where her fun, needs, and feelings are of primary importance to the adults present, and a place where she is free to be as active as she can safely be. There are new and exciting toys, opportunities for creative play, and children to play with.
The YCP provides this play experience under the direction of a trained teacher, who helps your child to develop his emotional independence as well as his physical skills, and helps him channel his emotions and accept the rules and limits that promote good social relations. It is a step toward kindergarten, allowing the child to become acclimated to leaving family and accepting other adults as authorities.
In a cooperative preschool, home and school are tied together as each child’s parents and her friends’ parents serve as teacher assistants. The parent-participants help create a family and neighborhood atmosphere. With each child’s own parent sharing her first important outside experience, the transition into a new environment is less abrupt; family feelings of warmth and intimacy carry over into school, giving the child a strong sense of belonging in the new setting. Further, joint participation gives parent and child a new source of comradeship (Taylor, Katherine Whiteside, Parent Cooperative Nursery Schools, Teachers College, Columbia University, 1954).
The cooperative preschool offers a complex role to the teacher. In addition to his or her responsibilities to the children, the teacher supervises assist parents, helping them to become increasingly independent and confident in their relationships with all the children in class. The teacher also offers the parent an objective perspective on his or her own child.
Because a cooperative preschool is so dependent for its success on each parent taking part, it is of utmost importance that every member understands the operation of the school. While no two parents will contribute equally to the preschool, the talents of each are needed, and we find that as parents contribute, so will they gain. Certain minimum requirements are made of the parents; in addition, we need to have them assume responsibility for the many small, unscheduled needs that arise daily. In our meetings, we need to hear the opinions of all the members if our decisions and discussions are to be the best possible.
YCP Gives the Children…
- An opportunity to play with other children, to have fun, and to learn to get along with others;
- A place to have freedom to romp, dance, sing, dramatize, and create; a place to build self-esteem;
- A setting and routine designed for their needs and abilities, i.e. furniture of their own size, big muscle equipment, messy art materials, etc., and lots of space in which to play;
- Trained adult guidance that neighborhood play usually lacks.
YCP Gives the Parents…
- A chance to observe and learn other child guidance techniques, which may help with home situations;
- A chance to have a little free time to devote to other children and other interests;
- A chance to see your child more objectively and to see common problems and situations for this age group with regard to other children;
- A chance to share your child’s experiences in an organized social group and to help him or her towards independence in what may be his or her first step away from home;
- Companionship with many parents working together and accepting their individualities and differences;
- A strong sense of responsibility and group cooperation, which carries over into every aspect of community life.