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Have you ever heard of a “Cooperative Nursery School” and wondered how much parent involvement is required?

A cooperative nursery school program allows parents to participate in their child’s classroom.  How involved varies by school but these programs excel in offering a sense of community to all involved.  Participation in the classroom on a rotating basis is the general requirement (although many are flexible), allowing you to watch your child learn and interact with their peers, an opportuntity not offered once your child starts kindergarten. Other duties can include participation on party or fundraising committees, event coordination or even simply bringing cups to the holiday party. Some schools also have a parent-run boards which works with the parents and school administrators on school decisions.

This involvement both inside and outside of the classroom is a fantastic way to meet other parents in your community. Due to this parent involvement many times the tuition is lower than other schools in the area. For the working or busy parent, schools are flexible in offering buy-out programs in which you can choose not to participate. Since these schools strongly suggest the parents involvement, they will work with your schedule to come up with a plan that works for your family.

Not sure if this is the right fit for your child? Try their Mommy & Me program. Starting at 18 months, this program mimics the school’s preschool program with free play, story time, circle time, music, crafts and more.  It’s also a great way to meet parents and gives your child an introduction to preschool with a parent present.

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Mommy & Me Programs

**Note: Programs change and websites are not always updated so be sure to give them a call

Archer Cooperative Nursery School (Allendale):  Tuesdays 9am and 10:30am, Fall Session $300, (201) 327-6016

Ho-Ho-Kus Waldwick Cooperative Nursery School (Ho-Ho-Kus):  Thursdays 9:15am, Fall Session $235, (201) 445-8424

The Cooperative Nursery School of Ridgewood (Ridgewood):  Wednesdays 9:30am, Fall Session $350 (201) 447-6232

Rainbow Corners Cooperative Nursery School (Waldwick): Wednesdays 9am, Fall Session $200 (201) 447-2987

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Other Cooperative Preschools (Do not offer Mommy & Me at this time)

The Cresskill Cooperative Preschool, Inc. – (201) 567-5865

Demarest Cooperative Nursery School – (201) 767-9519

The Glen Rock Cooperative Nursery School – (201) 652-1228

Maywood Cooperative Nursery School – (201) 843-2644 – Parent classroom participation not necessary

Ridgefield Park Cooperative Nursery School –  (201) 440-0920, no website, programs start at 3 years