Here are answers to our most frequently asked questions.
- Co-op Preschool – Learn more about what it means to be a cooperative preschool in the North Seattle College Cooperative Preschool Program (NSCCPP).
- Classes – Learn more about the classes in our preschool.
- Differences between Classes – Learn more about how co-op preschool classes differ as children age.
- Enrollment – Learn more about enrollment in our preschool.
- Tuition – Learn more about paying tuition, getting scholarships, and fundraising.
- What is a cooperative preschool? A cooperative preschool like ours in the NSCCPP has experienced teachers that lead its preschool classes, the same as traditional preschools and daycares, but it differs from traditional preschools and daycares in that the rest of the preschool is run entirely by the parents of the students enrolled in the preschool.
- How do parents know how to run a preschool? Our parents learn from each other, from our preschool Teachers, and from our Parent Educators from NSC. Together, we work to create a fun and engaging environment for our preschoolers to learn and grow.
- What exactly is expected of the parents in a co-op preschool? Parents work in the classroom once a week, assisting their class’s preschool Teacher in an assigned role. Parents also attend monthly evening Parent Education Classes led by their class’s Parent Educators. And, parents hold volunteer administration jobs to keep the preschool running smoothly behind the scenes. Jobs include Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Parent Coordinator, Teacher’s Assistant, Scheduler, Photographer, and more. The entire list can be found in the Parent Handbook. The NSCCPP estimates that these administrative jobs should take an average of three hours per month.
- What kind of jobs do parents hold for the preschool? Jobs include Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, Parent Coordinator, Teacher’s Assistant, Scheduler, Photographer, and more. The entire list can be found in the Parent Job Descriptions section of our Parent Handbook. We encourage families to look through the list and try to find a few jobs that they might be interested in or already have experience with. We have to prioritize filling some jobs before others, but we still try to honor people’s job preferences as best as we can. The NSCCPP estimates that each administrative job should take an average of three hours per month, so regardless of which job a family ends up taking on, the work load should be the same when averaged across the entire year.
- What are some of the benefits of co-op preschool? Though co-op preschools require more parental involvement than traditional preschools and daycares, they also have many benefits. First, the monthly tuition is substantially lower than traditional preschools and daycares. Costs can be kept down because parents hold volunteer administration jobs to keep the preschool running smoothly behind the scenes. Second, the student-to-adult ratio is much lower than traditional preschools and daycares because parents and other caregivers assist the teacher in the classroom. Third, parental involvement in the preschool means parents play a large role in defining their child’s first school experience.
- What do we gain from being a part of the NSCCPP? The NSCCPP provides our overall class structure, our license and insurance, and our parent education. Every preschool class has a NSC Parent Educator who works in class several times a month and leads a planned preschool-age-appropriate discussion during the once-monthly evening parent meeting. The NSCCPP also offers free seminars and lectures throughout the school year. In addition, NSC offers relevant online courses, as well as the Family Connector University though the North Seattle College Parent Education Program. Because of the co-op preschool’s affiliation with NSCCPP, parents are actually considered students enrolled in a Parent Education/Child Study Laboratory at NSC. As a bonus, parents can use their NSC student ID card for discounts in many places student discounts are offered. They can also take advantage of NSC student services.
- How do I make co-op preschool work? The tight-knit co-op preschool community creates lasting friendships between families. It’s true when they say it takes a village, and a village is just what a co-op preschool provides. Even if you work a full- or part-time job, there are ways to make a co-op preschool work. Consider sharing responsibilities between your family members, or ask about swapping with other co-op families. You’ll likely find the families you lean on the most become some of your closest friends.
- At what age can I enroll my child? We offer a play-based preschool education for children ranging in age from two to five years old. The Pre-3s Class is for children who will be two years old by August 31st, and the 3-5s Class is for children who will be between the ages of three and five by August 31st.
- How many students are in each preschool class? Our class sizes are dictated in part by the NSCCPP. We are encouraged to enroll between 18 and 22 students per class, though there have been years where class size has been kept as low as 12, where a teacher has chosen to limit the class to a maximum to 20, or where a class has expanded up to 24.
- What is a typical day like? A typical day in the classroom involves child-led outdoor and indoor free play time, parent-led small group time, snack time, and teacher-led circle time.
- How do I lead small group? All you need to do is come up with an idea that would be good for a small number of students and last for roughly 15 minutes. If you’re stumped for ideas, there is a cabinet in the classroom full of appropriate activities, Pinterest can be an endless source of inspiration, and our Parent Handbook includes a long list of ideas.
- When are classes in session? Preschools in the NSCCPP run from September to May and follow the same holidays as the Seattle Public School academic calendar.
- How do you use Bryant’s playground for outdoor recess? The Bryant Elementary playground is a large, open space that’s completely fenced and has an age-appropriate play structure. The Pre-3s Class plays on and around the play structure during their outdoor recess. When it rains, they typically still play outside, though they frequently move to the covered basketball court area. Students walk from the playground to the classroom while holding an adult’s hand. The 3-5s Class plays anywhere and everywhere within the playground during their outdoor recess. When it rains, they also typically still play outside. Parents are encouraged to bring rain gear and rain boots for their kids (and themselves!) since this class often finds the puddles more fun than the covered basketball court area! Students walk from the playground to classroom while holding onto a walking rope.
Differences between Classes
- How do co-op preschool classes differ as children age? Our classes are designed to give children more independence each year, which means class structure and caregiver responsibilities change as children age. We’ve highlighted some of the ways co-op preschool classes differ in the table below.
|NSC Toddlers Class||U-R Pre-3s Class||U-R 3-5s Class|
|Age Range of Children||1-2 years old||2-3 years old||3-5 years old|
|Number of Days Class Meets||Once/week||Twice/week||Four times/week|
|Number of Days Caregivers Work in Class||Once/week||Once/week||Once/week|
|Number of Hours Caregivers Have Free Each Week||None||Two hours/week, on the day when your child is in preschool without you||Nine hours/week, on the days when your child is in preschool without you|
|Caregiver Participation in Class||Move through the day with your child||Work at an assigned station, both inside and outside; this set up dictates less interaction between caregivers during class than in the Toddlers Class as the focus is on the children coming to the stations||Work at an assigned zone, both inside and outside, that may include multiple stations; this set up dictates even less interaction between caregivers during class than in the Pre-3s Class as the focus is on the children at stations in a larger zone|
|Caregiver Emergency Substitution Requirements||Not needed since your child is not at school without you||Approximately once every other month, each caregiver needs to be available to step in and work in class on their non-work day in case a caregiver or their child falls ill in the hours before class||Approximately once a month, each caregiver needs to be available to step in and work in class on one of their non-work days in case a caregiver or their child falls ill in the hours before class|
|Caregiver Education||Scheduled during class time; class is split into two groups, and each group has their parent education on alternating weeks||Scheduled during monthly parent meetings; our Parent Educator is also in class once a week, alternating between Tuesdays and Fridays, to observe, participate with the children, and be available to parents as needed, during appropriate times||Scheduled during monthly parent meetings; our Parent Educator is also in class once a week, alternating between the four class days, to observe, participate with the children, and be available to parents as needed, during appropriate times|
|Circle Time||Two short ones||One longer one||Two longer ones|
|Snack||Bring for class||Bring for class||Bring for class|
|Snack Tables||Not assigned; sit where you want||Children and caregivers sit at same table every class||Children sit at same table every class; caregivers rotate which table they are assigned to every week|
|Small Group Activity||None||Caregivers plan small group activities beginning mid-year||Caregivers plan small group activities all year|
|Bathroom Buddies||None||Each caregiver is assigned a child who needs help with diaper changes or potty on the day the child’s caregiver isn’t working; two adults must be with a child in the bathroom||Caregivers assist as needed with diaper changes or potty; two adults must be with a child in the bathroom|
- How do I apply? By filling out our online application here.
- And then how do I enroll? To begin the enrollment process, reach out to your prospective class’s Parent Coordinator to let them know you’re interested, to ask any questions you might have, and to schedule a visit during preschool hours. If your child will be two years old by August 31st, you’ll want to reach out to the Pre-3s Class’s Parent Coordinator. If your child will be between the ages of three and five by August 31st, you’ll want to reach out to the 3-5s Class’s Parent Coordinator. The Parent Coordinator will then explain the next steps to you.
- When should I apply? We start processing applications for the next school year in early February. Please check here for the updated dates. We will then continue to process applications throughout the year unless the class is full. Please check your prospective class’s page to find out whether it is currently enrolling. You can find the Pre-3s Class page here and the 3-5s Class page here.
- I was just notified that I’ve been accepted! Now what? A non-refundable registration fee of $40 is due in order to hold your spot. If you’d like to pay online, please contact the Parent Coordinator of your prospective class for instructions. If you’d like to pay by check, please make your check out to “University-Ravenna Cooperative Preschool”, and either drop your check off in the classroom during school hours or mail it to the school at 5751 33rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105. Also, please keep your eye out for information about our all-school Spring Orientation.
- What is tuition each month? Currently, the Pre-3s Class tuition is $105 per month, and the 3-5s Class tuition is $230 per month. We also pay a North Seattle College parent education tuition of approximately $54 per quarter.
- Can I pay my tuition online? Yes, families can pay online by e-check through the Jovial Family Portal. Click here for instructions. Please note that this year there is a $2 transaction fee for every payment made through Jovial, so we recommend grouping your payments if you can.
- Can I still pay my tuition by check? Yes, families can still pay by check. Please make all checks out to “University-Ravenna Cooperative Preschool” and deliver them to the Treasurer one of the following ways: given directly to the Treasurer, placed in the Treasurer’s mailbox in the Parent and Teacher Office, or mailed to the preschool at 5751 33rd Ave NE, Seattle, WA 98105.
- When is tuition due each month? Tuition is due by the first of the month. If paying by check, tuition is requested to be paid at each month’s parent meeting for the following month’s tuition, except for September and May. May tuition is due at enrollment. If paying by check, May tuition is requested at Spring Orientation. September tuition is due by the first of the month. If paying by check, September tuition is requested on the first day in the classroom.
- Do we offer scholarships? Yes, scholarships are provided by the NSCCP Parent Advisory Council (PAC) and are awarded quarterly. Detailed instructions for applying for scholarships can be found in our Parent Handbook. But, briefly, to apply, fill out the scholarship application form and give it to the U-Ravenna Co-op Treasurer by the quarterly scholarship deadline and after your NSC quarterly registration is complete. All requests are kept confidential. More information can also be found online at the NSCCP PAC Scholarship Information page.
- Do we fundraise? Yes, fundraising is important to our mission. Our major fundraiser of the year is the Annual Wreath Sale. We sell greenery items during the month of October and then deliver them around Seattle at the end of November. We also have a School Gear Shop where anyone can buy merchandise like t-shirts, sweatshirts, mugs, and bags that have our preschool logo and art. We also raise money through Amazon Smile. Shop there anytime you’re purchasing on Amazon, and they’ll donate a small portion of the sales price to our school. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it can add up to a lot for us! Find more information on how to support our preschool here.