Most early childhood settings feature classrooms with centers; one corner is designated for imaginary play with another for art or building. At The Cooperative School, we’ve created four distinct spaces which lead the experiences offered in each.
Our Four Spaces for Learning include the Classroom, Project Center, Imagination Station, and our Outdoor Play Space. Our unique space and curriculum are intentionally designed by our director, Lesley Romanoff.
Careful planning of environment, schedules, materials, staffing, and parent involvement mirrors the project-based approaches of Lilian Katz and Loris Malaguzzi and are infused throughout by Lev Vygotsky's philosophy of developmental scaffolding.
The children rotate through these spaces during their scheduled class times. This way we ensure that every child becomes conversant in experiences that are essential in early childhood.
Our Classroom is the space where children engage in fine motor play and where we hold class meetings. Circle meetings and story time establish a sense of community, empathy, and democratic engagement.
The Project Center is the space where children create and revisit art projects. We offer the children paint, clay, oil pastels, chalk, and other drawing tools, along with a rich array of tactile materials to create two- and three-dimensional works.
In the Imagination Station the children engage in social dramatic (imaginary) play. Music class and tumbling sessions for our Physical Arts program also take place here. Most Physical Arts sessions are held outdoors.
Our Outdoor Play Space is unique in the local playground landscape. It features plenty of construction materials for young builders, climbing structures, spaces and “loose parts” for dramatic play as well as nature discovery. We complement this with neighborhood walks, stream adventures, and with the older children, field trips to museums and parks. We go outside, every day, in every weather.
Learning and Risk Benefit
We know that learning springs from hands-on experiences and a reflective process of trial and error, success and failure.
We offer opportunities, planned and unplanned, for the children to experience first hand intellectual and physical risk, holding to the adage that the strongest tree in the forest is the one buffeted by the most wind. In this, the children are charged with assessing their own risk while being monitored by the adults. They gain a better understanding of danger versus safe exploration, and incorporate this knowledge into their approach to learning and expression of that learning.
The Cooperative School was established in 1942. We have curated, crafted, and collected unique educational manipulatives that support and cultivate learning using all senses and the whole body. These are changed out regularly over the course of the school year.
Our teachers are experts in early childhood development. They hold education degrees and have completed continued education courses in human growth and development and pedagogy. The teachers create the curriculum for both the parents and the children.
This background along with years of direct experience with children and parents means that your child’s first school experience will be one of partnership informed by research and best practice.