What is a Cooperative Preschool?
What makes a cooperative preschool unique is the varied and extensive level of parent participation. IPCP offers opportunities for parents to learn about and contribute to their children’s early educational experiences, which we feel is invaluable.
Parents play a major role in running the school and participate a number of ways:
- Make up the IPCP Board of Directors
- Serve on various committees
- Spend time in the classroom as Parent Helpers
- Participate in Buildings and Grounds Workdays
- Are active in various IPCP events
All families are required to serve on a committee that contributes to a distinct part of the school’s operations. Each committee has a Chair that serves on the Board of Directors. They typically meet once a month and divide up various roles and responsibilities. The current committees are:
- Buildings & Grounds
- Outdoor Classroom
- Parent Education and Involvement
In addition to these committees, IPCP also has positions for President, Vice President, Treasurer and Secretary.
Parent Helper Days
The Parent Helper is one of the most important aspects of the entire IPCP school program. Parent Helper Days provide parents with a great opportunity to be part of their child’s day, help them in their activities and meet their friends. This is one of the main factors that set a cooperative school apart from other schools. Parent Helpers provide support for the teachers, while getting a chance to be with their child during the school day. The children love it when their parent is at the school; it’s truly a gift to both the parent and the child.
Each family is required to fulfill a certain amount of Parent Helper Days per school year. These days are allocated to each family according to how many days the child attends IPCP—and can range from six to 12 days in the school year. In this role, parents provide snack, help with cleaning up and assist teachers during the school day.
Buildings and Grounds Workdays
With such a large campus—and much of it outdoors in the warm Georgia weather—parents are required to participate in periodic weekend workdays (currently, two per year). B&G Workdays start at 9 a.m. at the school. There’s a leader who brings the list of needed improvements to the buildings, furnishings or grounds. The parent “crew” divides up the list and tackles each of the items, which could range from installing new hardware to turning compost to pulling weeds. The day wraps up at 1 p.m. Despite the labor involved, it’s a fun time to get to hang out with fellow IPCP parents.
Events and Activities
Throughout the year, there are events and activities that truly bring the IPCP families together. Many of these are organized events and others just pop up when a parent has a good idea. Some of these events include:
- Back-to-School Night – Early in the school year, we all get together to swap summer vacation stories and meet the new families. This is also when we select Class Parents and start to think about Auction.
- Hallowgreen Party – A spooky night where the children (and some parents) get dressed up and celebrate fall.
- Annual Auction – An IPCP tradition, this is our largest fundraiser of the year. It’s run completely by the parents and is attended by current and alumni families as well as many in our surrounding communities who are looking for good deals on holiday gifts.
- Art Night – Towards the end of the year, the teachers pull together a collection of the students’ artwork and put it on display in the Outdoor Classroom. It’s a fun night with food and drinks and plenty of children running around playing.
- Grandparents and Special Friends Day – Provides an opportunity for the other special people in your child’s life to come and see the school. They’re invited for a picnic lunch to spend some time with your child.
- Planting Days – Parents are invited to help us with Spring and Fall planting.
- Alumni Play Date – A relatively new tradition, each fall we invite IPCP graduates back to have a big playdate in the Outdoor Classroom. It’s a great time for families to reconnect.