San Anselmo Cooperative Nursery School
The Co-op provides a flexible daily routine, striving to achieve a balance of spontaneity with structure. Cooking, art and science projects are provided by parents so the curriculum is ever-changing and draws upon the experience and knowledge of participants. This structure is the backbone of the community-based philosophy that is the essence of the Coop experience.
In a typical day, the first hour is spent doing activities of the children's choice; they may play inside or in the front yard or may choose to do one of the science, art or cooking projects set up by parents. By 10:00am, our spacious backyard opens and children are free to play indoors or out.
It is also about this time that it is announced that snack is served. Parents are all in charge of supplying snack for one week per year, and always consist of an organic fruit or vegetable, a starch and a protein. Once it's announced that snack is served, hands are thoroughly washed, then children sit down with a parent to enjoy some tasty treats. We call this a 'grazing snack' because children are free to choose when to eat rather than be expected to all be hungry at the same time. We keep track of who has eaten then go out and personally invite those who haven't, to come for snack before 'last call' is announced. We have found that this method makes snack time less disruptive by kids who aren't as hungry, and more enjoyable for those who are. Plus it gives children who are engaged in an activity ample time to continue until they decide they are done.
It is also about this time that our spacious backyard is opened allowing children the opportunity to choose between playing inside or out. Outdoors there are swings, slides, bikes, scooters, go-karts, climbing structures, climbing wall, and a sand pit. Plus there are always art and science projects to choose from. Of course this is also free time to engage in free, imaginary play, however they wish.
Around 10:30am, children are invited to circle time with Ms. Rebecca, another teacher, parent or outside guest. The last few minutes of the day are spent in a final Goodbye Circle before children say goodbye and greet their parents at the gate (unless, that is, they are staying for lunch).
An outside music teacher comes in for many sessions during the school year, plus we have really exciting visitors such as Tracy the Animal Guy, a local animal expert who brings small live animals for the children to hold.
We enjoy several traditions, including participating in our town parades, a festive Halloween celebration, Thanksgiving gratitude feast, and Easter egg hunt. Due to COVID, we have had to put a hold on our field trips to the Fire Station, Post Office, nearby grocery store, a trip to see the Nutcracker, a pumpkin patch, and three days of outdoor school. Although we can't take special trips at the moment, we do have special visitors like a fireman and dentist.
Children who will be moving on to kindergarten attend our Pre-K program, Friday afternoons. It is not heavily academic, but has a slightly more structured format than the morning program.
Afternoon Program Highlights
Available Monday through Thursday
There is no Aftercare Program on Fridays
No more than 14 children per day
The Afternoon Program is an extension of the Co-op. It is run by two very fun, creative and experienced teachers each day for the first ten children, and an additional adult when eleven or more children stay.
The Afternoon Program is a wonderful transition to school for younger children because there are fewer children and it has a slower pace than the morning program.
The afternoon starts with lunch, which the children bring. Then they have lots of time to play and explore, both indoors and outdoors, with art projects, science activities, manipulatives, and dramatic play. At 2:00pm, some children go home. Mid-afternoon, everyone comes in to revisit lunches followed by a rest time where children lie on mats and listen to stories. Some take naps. Afterward, there is more time for play before 4:00pm pick-up.
Afternoon Program Rate for members:
$40 for a 12-4 p.m. reserved spot
$25 for a 12-2 p.m. reserved spot
$25 for a 12-2 p.m. drop-in
$45 for a 12-4 p.m. drop-in
For more information please contact our membership chair at:
Morning Program Highlights
Hours are 9:00am to noon
Children attend four mornings per week for a daily enrollment of up to 25 children
Staff is the morning director, one teacher and six parent aides - a better than 4:1 ratio
Enrollment of up to 31 children and their families
Children must be toilet-trained to be accepted
Eligible children are as young as 2 years and 9 months old, and up to kindergarten