Hudson Valley Parent

HVP July 2017

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Page 22 of 43 n Hudson Valley Parent 23 JOIN OVER 12,000 LOCAL PARENTS Fresh content delivered to your inbox weekly! Choose the topics you're interested in... ✔ Weekend Events ✔ Parenting Trends ✔ Education Resources ✔ Camp Reviews ✔ Healthy Living Advice ✔ Beauty Tips ✔ Party Planning Is a co-op preschool right for you? Lower tuition, higher involvement, stronger community By MADELAINE HAYES What is a cooperative nursery school? A cooperative nursery school is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization owned and run by the parents of the students. Each family is involved in the operation of the school, which may include attending general meetings, vol- unteering in the classroom, fundraising, and even sitting on the executive board. Some co-ops have parents teaching the classes on a rotating basis. Others, like the Pleasant Valley Cooperative Nursery School, employ professional teachers and assistants to develop the curriculum and teach. Parents with a common goal "The Pleasant Valley co-op is a school that is run by the parents," explains school director Lisa Anthony. "Everyone works together with the common goal of making our school the best possible place for our children. Enrolling your child in one of our programs is a wonderful way to enjoy your child's first educational experience together." Fundraising plays a large role within the cooperative model. Generally, tuition at a co-op is much lower than at a traditional nursery school. The fundrais- ing offsets the price of tuition, keeping early education much more affordable. Getting involved Parents who choose a cooperative nursery school may do so for a number of reasons. Some may choose the school based on location. Others choose a co-op because they want to be more involved in their child's early educational experience. "As a working parent, I was worried about how I was going to participate in my son's preschool experience," says Christie Alfaro of Pleasant Valley. The cooperative model allowed Alfaro the chance to join the executive board and to volunteer at special events. "I've also had the chance to help shape the future direction of the school," she says. "It's rare for a parent to be able to provide not only feedback but to affect true changes and improvements." Being part of a community For mother of two, Sophia Skiles, the decision to enroll her kids in Huguenot Street Cooperative Nursery School in New Paltz was fueled by her interest in being part of an intentional community. "We wanted to be able to get to know the families of the children our kids were becoming close to," says Skiles. Different families, same goal "There is a real diversity in parenting - both parents work, one stay-at-home parent, single parents. Each family finds a way to make it work," she says. "Being part of a co-op definitely helps me feel more present in this very fleeting moment in my children's lives." Madelaine Hayes lives in Pleasant Valley with husband and her son, Billy.

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