Frequently Asked Questions

What is a Cooperative or ``Co-op`` Preschool?

In a cooperative (“co-op”) preschool, teachers, parents and children are fully involved in the educational process, working and learning together.  The importance of parents as educators is recognized.  Parents volunteer in the classroom on a regular basis and serve on committees or on the Board of Directors.

Note:  The Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council web site provided some of the information for this section.

How do children benefit from the cooperative program?

Here are some of the benefits children experience at Adventures:

  • Children enjoy sharing their experiences with their parents.
  • Starting preschool may be easier for a child when his/her parents are occasionally in the classroom.
  • More adults are in the classroom each day, supporting the children’s learning; in fact, state licensing requirements for adult to child ratios are surpassed.
  • Children get the benefit of both stability (teachers) and diversity (parents) in their learning environment.  Parents working in classroom might be moms or dads (or even grandparents).  They could be older or younger, with many children or just one.  They might come from different parts of the world or from different ethnic/racial groups.  They could be stay-at-home parents or career professionals.  They are all different and they all help provide a rich and varied learning experience for the children.
  • Children can see the value their parents place on education.
  • School is more easily extended beyond the classroom, leading to a lifelong habit of learning.

Note:  The Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council web site provided some of the information for this section.

How do parents benefit from the cooperative program?

Parents also experience many benefits of having their children attend Adventures Preschool:

  • Parents have an opportunity to observe their child with his/her peers; they can learn more about their child’s interests and behaviors.
  • Parents can strengthen their techniques for working with children by observing teachers and other parents.
  • Parents have opportunities to develop friendships with other families.
  • They can communicate more easily with the teachers and other parents.
  • They have first hand knowledge of classroom activities, policies and procedures.
  • Parents may find it easier to send their child off to their first school experience when they are involved in the program.

Note:  The Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council web site provided some of the information for this section.

How do teachers benefit from the cooperative program?

Teachers benefit too from a cooperative preschool.

  • Teachers really enjoy getting to know the children and their families.  It’s more fun working as a community.
  • Communication with families is easier; as a result, teachers and families tend to be more consistent in their work with a child.  They can use the same terms, work on the same goals more easily.
  • Parents and teachers can draw on each others’ knowledge and resources.

Note:  The Virginia Cooperative Preschool Council web site provided some of the information for this section.

What will I do at preschool as a ``working parent``?

Parents are an integral part of the teaching team at Adventures Preschool.  Each day two teachers and two parents* work together to facilitate learning and fun.  In this way, the adult to child ratio is kept low.  More adults in the classroom means that children are closely supervised; children have extra support as they learn social skills, language skills, self-control, decision-making skills, emotional development and muscle development.

The teachers plan the curriculum, set up the classroom, purchase necessary materials, and lead activities.  The teachers provide an orientation to new parents and a handbook to help answer questions.  Working parents arrive a few minutes early on their work day and receive specific instructions for the morning.  During free-play time, working parents generally assist children at two of our centers:  “snack table” and “art table.”  At the snack table, adults and children work together to prepare the snack for the day.  At the art table, children have the opportunity to create a different art project each day.  The working parents also participate by interacting with the children in other ways—playing a game, reading a book, talking and listening, and more.

*Note:  Two parents are needed each day, but these are generally parents from two different families; a child’s mother and father may choose to sign up to work on the same day, but this would count as two volunteer days for that family.

How often do I volunteer at preschool?

At the beginning of each semester, families sign up for work days at preschool.  Since two parents are needed in the classroom each day, the number of times that a parent will work in the classroom each semester depends upon how many children are enrolled.  With full enrollment, parents will work about once a month.  Mothers or fathers or even grandparents may serve as working parents.

*Note:  Two parents are needed each day, but these are generally parents from two different families; a child’s mother and father may choose to sign up to work on the same day, but this would count as two volunteer days for that family.

How will my children react to me in the classroom?

Children have different reactions to having their parents in the classroom.  Some children become more shy and want to stay close to their parents.  Some children feel proud and excited; they may have a difficult time controlling their bodies or listening.  Some children seem to behave exactly as they do when their parents are not present.  Generally, children adjust after a few “work days” and look forward to their parent’s time at preschool.  The teachers can work with the parents to facilitate the child’s adjustment and answer questions.

Do you play outside?

At Adventures Preschool, we believe that outdoor play is important to children’s development, and its fun.  We have a playground adjacent to the building which houses our classrooms.  We end our day by playing on the playground as often as weather permits.

Do you discipline children in the classroom?

The teachers are trained to handle normal behavioral problems and consider these issues to be a central part of a preschooler’s learning experience.  The teachers understand that preschoolers struggle with self-control and self-expression and that preschoolers often test rules.  The teachers work to provide a safe and caring environment where children can learn to:

  • Identify feelings
  • Express feelings appropriately
  • Make connections between feelings and behaviors
  • Listen to others
  • Use problem-solving strategies

Teachers most commonly use strategies such as problem-solving, redirection, modeling, praising appropriate behavior and ignoring inappropriate behavior to help children learn.  Parents are encouraged to discuss any concerns with the teachers.

What is your teaching philosophy?

At Adventures Preschool, we believe that children learn most effectively through play in a carefully prepared environment.  By keeping our adult to child ratio low, we are able to provide a rich experience for the children.  Under the guidance of the teachers and parents, children learn to make decisions, develop social skills, strengthen language skills, build creativity and imagination, foster large and small motor development, and improve self-control.  These skills, our primary focus at Adventures Preschool, are crucial for success in school.

Children at Adventures Preschool also build important academic skills through daily activities—such as, cooking, art, games, science/sensory experiences and music.  For example, instead of doing worksheets on counting, children might count the number of cups of flour that go into the banana muffins for snack that day.  While they are preparing snack, they can also study the recipe and talk about how letters are used or strengthen their small motor skills by mashing the banana.  For beginning science concepts, they can talk about how a banana changes when it gets mashed or what the baking soda in the recipe will do.  Because an adult is present, children also have the opportunity to learn new vocabulary words, ask questions, practice assertiveness or learn about taking turns.

Do you go on field trips?

At Adventures Preschool, we take approximately five to six field trips during the school year.  Weather permitting, we walk to the ISU Arboretum once a month.  Some recent field trips include: McFarland Park, Welch Ave. Fire Station, Ames Public Library, Reiman Gardens and a dental office.

We also invite community visitors to our classroom.  We’ve had Story County Conservation Naturalists, Ames Community Safety Office (and McGruff the Crime dog) and a certified personal trainer visit.

Who provides the transportation?

Parents are responsible for transportation to and from preschool every day.

Parent volunteers sign up to drive for field trips.  On the day of the field trip, parents provide a car seat for their own child and install the car seat in the vehicle where their child will ride.  Most field trips are in the Ames city limits.

How can I be involved?

At Adventures Preschool, there are a number of ways to be involved in your child’s education.  Parents are required to help in the classroom each semester (the number of “work days” depends upon the number of children enrolled) and serve on a committee or on the Board of Directors.

Board of Directors.  Families who are interested in the highest level of participation and who are able to commit the most time may serve on the Board.  The Board is composed of parents (officers and committee chairs) and teachers.  New Board members must be approved by a vote of the Board.  The Board meets monthly and is responsible for the operation of the preschool:  setting and managing the budget; auditing expenses and revenue; setting tuition and fees; discussing parent concerns; hiring teachers; and making decisions about marketing/advertising, upkeep of premises, lease negotiation, purchasing, and fundraising.

Committees.  Parents may choose the committee that best suits their interests.  For example, a parent may help by writing the monthly newsletter, serving on a fundraising committee, sewing a new cape for the dramatic play area, repairing a toy, or planning the refreshments for an open house.  Parents receive additional information about committees at the beginning of the school year.

Adventures Preschool is housed in a church. Do you have religious or faith-based curriculum?

Although our classroom is located in Collegiate United Methodist Church, Adventures Preschool is not affiliated with the  church and does not offer religious curriculum.

How is Adventures Preschool different?

Parent Cooperative

Adventures Preschool is a parent cooperative (the only “co-op” in Ames) offering parents a place to become an integral part of their child’s educational experience.  For more information about cooperatives, please click here.

Non-profit cooperation

Adventures Preschool is a non-profit organization.

 Cooking and Eating at Preschool

At Adventures Preschool, children work with an adult to make snack nearly every day.  Snacks may range from simple (toasting a bagel and spreading cream cheese or peeling raw vegetables) to more complex (making muffins or mini-pizzas).  Through this experience, children may:

  • Strengthen motor skills
  • Engage in meaningful conversations and learn new vocabulary words
  • experiment with beginning math and science concepts
  • have fun and take pride in their work
  • learn about nutrition and where food comes from
  • The snack is served “family style” later in the morning.  By eating together, children have the opportunity to strengthen social skills, such as age-appropriate table manners, conversational skills, following directions and taking turns.  They practice their self-help skills by learning to pour their own juice, setting up their own place, and asking for what they need.