Is the Co-op a State-Licensed Preschool Program?
Yes. The Morris Plains Co-op Play School (The Co-op) is licensed by the State of New Jersey.
What is Morris Plains Co-op's approach to education?
The Co-op’s child-centered philosophy is based on the belief that children learn best through play. Research has repeatedly shown a link between play and the development of the prerequisite skills necessary for more complex learning.
Our school utilizes The Creative Curriculum® for Preschool. This comprehensive, research-based curriculum features exploration and discovery as a way of learning, enabling children to develop confidence, creativity, and lifelong critical thinking skills. It is designed to help educators plan and implement developmentally appropriate activities to encourage cognitive, social, emotional, and physical growth.
Additionally, our teachers incorporate Handwriting Without Tears® in our classrooms, which helps children develop their writing skills through multisensory, play-based instruction. Children move, touch, feel, and manipulate real objects as they learn habits and skills essential for writing. The program also provides an integrated approach to language and literacy to make learning meaningful and engaging.
What is a cooperative school?
A cooperative school encourages participation among its members. Morris Plains Cooperative Play School was founded in 1939 and each enrolled family is a member of the school. Our co-op program provides a unique learning experience for children and gives parents the opportunity to work with teachers and other parents while making a valuable contribution to the school. We believe our program cultivates a strong sense of community among its members.
What are the ways in which parents can be involved at the Co-op?
The Co-op could not exist without the support and participation of our families. There are a variety of ways to be involved, including assisting
in the classroom, parent committees, special school-wide events, and Parent Pitch-In sessions. These activities are a way for families to connect with each other, form lasting relationships, not only with members of our school, but with the communities that we serve.
A unique feature of the Co-op is our family involvement within the classroom. Many families choose to work at The Co-op by assisting the teachers during class, referred to as co-oping. Each adult working in our school receives training in classroom procedures and completes a background check, including fingerprinting. Families also receive a tuition reduction for this service. Not all families are able to co-op, so we offer a non co-op option as well. On average, approximately 75% of our families co-op, while 25% choose to be non co-op. The choice to be co-op or non co-op can be changed during the year, if desired, and tuition would be prorated accordingly.
What does the co-oping adult do during class?
Our teachers plan the daily activities within the Creative Curriculum framework. Under the teacher’s direction, co-oping adults assist with facilitating learning in the interest areas through conversation, questioning, and engagement. In addition, they participate in large group activities, set up for snack, and complete some light classroom cleanup at the end of the session.
How many days does a person co-op during the year?
Adults who choose the co-op option sign up for the days they will work in the classroom at the class meetings, which are held in September, November and March. The exact number of co-op turns depends on the amount of scheduled class days and the number of children in the class. On average there is one turn every 3-4 weeks.
What are the qualifications of teachers at the Co-op?
Our teachers are experienced, certified childhood educators. The entire staff regularly participates in local, county, and statewide professional development workshops to keep informed about the most current research and ideas in early childhood education. In addition, all staff are required to maintain up-to-date First Aid and CPR training.
What is the teacher to child ratio at the Co-op?
Every class at the Co-op is led by a qualified teacher. The teachers are assisted by one or two other adults depending on class size. The additional adults consist of co-op adults and/or aides hired by the school. Our child to adult ratio is 6:1 in our preschool program, and 7:1 in our 4 Morning Pre-K program. These ratios are much lower than what the State of New Jersey mandates.
Does the Co-op offer early drop-off or extended day?
Extended day and enrichment opportunities are offered throughout the year. Early drop off is available Monday through Friday beginning at 8:00 AM. Lunch Bunch is available every day giving children in the morning classes the option of staying until 1:00, 2:00, or 3:00 PM. For children in the afternoon classes, Lunch Bunch is offered from 11:30 AM to 12:30 PM. We also offer a variety of afternoon enrichment programs throughout the year.
Does my child need to be potty-trained to attend?
As part of the Co-op’s child-centered philosophy, we believe that children learn to complete the potty-training process at their own pace. Parents of children in diapers are asked to provide a supply of diapers and wipes to be kept in their child’s classroom. As your child becomes ready, staff will work to support families through the process of potty-training.