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Copyright 2016. Watchung Cooperative Preschool. All rights reserved.

Watchung Cooperative Preschool

​A community learning through play:

connecting parents, teachers & children

The Watchung Co-op is committed to nurturing children’s inherent love of learning while also focusing on their social and emotional well-being.  Our classes are structured to give children the opportunity to explore, learn and grow through hands-on, child-guided play and to allow parents to be a integral part of this formative experience.  These have been our guiding principles ever since the Co-op began in 1967.  

In a world where there is ever more pressure on even very young children to perform academically, we offer the youngest children a respite—a time and a place in their lives where they can explore and learn from the world in their own time.

The Co-op’s flexible approach to learning trusts in a child’s inherent curiosity and natural inclination to learn from the world.  As a result, Co-op children experience school as something that’s fun and learning as something that’s enjoyable.   This approach to learning also gets children more excited about the prospect of continuing to learn, both in preschool and beyond.

We also recognize that not all children learn in exactly the same way and that young children, in particular, benefit from a more flexible approach to learning.  Consequently, we offer our children exposure to many different experiences and allow them plenty of opportunities for imaginative play, where learning at this formative age is meant to happen.

Using a variety of age-appropriate materials, we provide a balanced structure of group activities, snack time, free play and outdoor play.  Every day, children also have opportunities to engage in both artistic creation and activities for fine motor development. Children are free to engage in all of these activities to the degree of their choosing.  

All the while, we include parents as a major part of their children’s first school experience because we are committed to the belief that parents are their children’s first teachers.  This outlook allows a gradual transition from a home centered-life to a school-centered life, for both children and their parents. 

The involvement of our families in the running of our school also allows our school to grow and change in response to the needs and desires of each new group of families. Their voices, actions, talents and enthusiasm help shape the present and future of our school, enabling the Co-op to thrive in many unique ways and ensuring that we remain the special community that we have been since our inception.

Our Philosophy & Approach