To maintain the excellent quality of our school, parents and staff share insights and techniques, bringing value and benefits to all involved.
Parent participation is at the heart of the co-op experience and its day-to-day workings. In addition to paying yearly tuition, all teaching member families are required to fulfill certain responsibilities each school year. These include working as a teacher during a morning or afternoon session every week, serving on a committee and helping with school maintenance.
Parents’ active involvement in the school enables them to be involved with their children’s education, strengthens their community with other parents and, of course, keeps the tuition lower than other preschools. (Note: There are a few non-teaching family spaces available at higher tuition rates. These are reserved for parents who cannot meet teaching member requirements.)
Playmates Coop parents find their workday to be a wonderful opportunity to participate in a child’s preschool experience. You work closely with your child and the teachers. On a given day, you might find yourself supervising play on the playground or bike area, helping with the daily art projects, or serving a snack to some very grateful children! Playmates also welcomes parents’ ideas for other projects. For instance, if you love cooking, playing an instrument, art or yoga, you can occasionally present and lead an activity for the children during the school day or circle time.
Teaching Member Family Requirements
Teaching families have one regularly-scheduled workday each week. For the AM program, the shift is 8:45 am to 12:00 pm. For the PM program, it is 12:45 pm to 4:00 pm. If your child attends our one-hour lunch program, Lunch Bunch, at least one day per week, you will be required to work the Lunch Bunch shift from 12:00 pm to 1:00 pm one day a week also.
About once a month, each family is in charge of the daily snack – a simple, healthy snack for the children that follows our nutritional guidelines: food made from whole wheat, no sugar or products containing nuts. Typical snack items include cut vegetables and fruit, cheese, apple sauce, yogurt and whole wheat crackers. Snack duty also involves some light cleaning.
If a parent can’t make his or her workday, they must find a substitute. Often, parents are able to trade work days with other parents and when other parents aren’t available, Playmates Coop offers a sub list comprised of experienced substitutes, alumni, and former teachers.
Every month, a teaching parent has a standby date in case a regularly-scheduled family cannot find a substitute. When you are called in as a standby worker, the family you work for is required to do a workday for you in return or pay you the current standby fee.
Family Leave Bank:
Also known as “baby bank,” each family is required to work one workday per school year for a family that needs to take maternity/paternity leave or emergency medical leave. This day is in addition to your regularly scheduled day. It’s another of the many reasons Playmates is unique – it is the only co-op preschool that provides this support to families with newborns or who have other times of need. Eligible families can take 12 weeks of leave from their workday responsibilities after the arrival of a new baby. We ask that families discuss their leave needs with the director if the situation arises.
Playmates holds one parent education meeting and one business meeting on two Tuesdays evenings each month. A member or representative of each family must attend each meeting, although missing two a semester is permitted. We find these meetings essential to a parents’ role as a member of the co-op and as a teaching parent.
Each family is required to host one meeting per year. Parents take turns providing light refreshments for the Tuesday night meetings, with usually two or three families sharing host duty at a time. Setup and cleanup is also required.
Each family is responsible for joining and actively working on a committee for a total of two hours per month. Because Playmates families own and operate the school, there is a wide variety of fun and engaging committees to choose from. Most committees meet after the monthly business meetings, in addition to the committee work that individual members do. Some of the committees include: Curriculum, Publicity, Membership, Fundraising, Animal Care, Gardening, Housekeeping, Maintenance and the committee responsible for this website, Technology.
Families are required to complete 12 hours of fundraising a year. Playmates’ affordable tuition covers only the school’s operating expenses. Funds for such additional purchases as new play structures, special equipment and scholarships for low-income families all come from our fundraising dollars. There are a number of fundraising events at Playmates each year. Our two biggest fundraisers are our Harvest Festival in the Fall and our Spring Auction.
We have several major maintenance days scheduled on weekdays and weekends throughout the year. This allows us to maintain and repair our school buildings and beautiful grounds. Each family is responsible for five hours of maintenance work each year. Generally, these last from 9 00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on pre-scheduled Saturdays. It can include painting the buildings and making repairs, organizing toys, even sorting art supplies. Through Major Maintenance days, families play an integral part in helping with the school’s upkeep and operation.