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Chelsea Cooperative Preschool celebrates 40th anniversary

(Chelsea Update would like to thank the Chelsea Co-op Preschool for the information in this story.)

In 1972, a group of several friends and their children began working together, meeting at each other’s homes two mornings a week to provide an opportunity for their children to play in a group.

This small group has grown into Chelsea Children’s Cooperative Preschool, which has children enrolled in programs for 2 to 5 year olds at the building that houses the Chelsea Center for the Arts on Congdon Street.

As a testament to the longevity of the program, some parents with children enrolled in the preschool attended the preschool themselves as children, according to information from the preschool.

At the heart of the preschool’s philosophy is the idea that parents are the first teachers in the lives of their children, so parents are encouraged to work in partnership with the teachers and participate as assistants in their child’s classroom.

“We can provide so many more enriching educational opportunities because of the work, participation, and passion of our parents,” said Courtney Aldrich, preschool director and 3’s and 4’s teacher since 2004, in a press release.

“Our families are shareholders in the cooperative, sharing ownership of our school for each school year,” she said, adding, “The Co-op is a place for parents and children to learn and explore together with the guidance of professional teachers.”

The Co-Op Preschool emphasizes learning through play, providing developmentally appropriate activities that address the educational needs of the whole child – academic, social, and emotional.

Children learn through rich life experiences, whether it be exploring the community by going on a field trip, cooking in the classroom, or retelling a favorite children’s story at the spring musical.

The Co-op has grown in recent years, expanding from two program offerings and one staff member to four program offerings and six staff members.

One of the new offerings is the weekly Music Together® program, which the preschool began last year.

“Music Together® integrates music experiences at home with those in school to support a child’s musical, language, cognitive, emotional, social, and physical development,” said Tara Vesprini, Music Together® instructor at the preschool in the press release.

“We’ve had incredible feedback from the children as well as parents about the new program.”

For the 2012-2013 school year, the preschool offers both morning and afternoon classes, including classes for 2, 3, 4, and 5 year olds.

The program for young 5 year olds was developed in response to a perceived need in the community for a program that bridges the gap between preschool and an ever more demanding Kindergarten curriculum, especially for those children on the younger end of the five year old spectrum.

For more information, click here.

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