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International Cooperative Nursery School at UCSD

9500 Gilman Drive, UCSD-0018
La Jolla, CA 92093-0018

(858) 455-9310


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Play-Based, Co-op

From the Director:

COOPERATIVE PHILOSOPHY What is a cooperative? A cooperative (or "coop") is one in which each family takes an active role in all aspects of the program. This includes working in the classroom and performing various jobs at the school. Why choose a cooperative? By being directly involved in your child's preschool experience, you set a precedent for making your child's education an integral part of your family's life, and you send a strong message to your child that his or her education is important. An additional benefit of cooping - it allows you become acquainted with the other children and families - friendships which often endure beyond the child's stay at ICNS. Coop parents have the responsibility of working in the classroom approximately 2.5 days per month. ICNS maintains a 1 to 5-adult/student ratio with caring cooping parents and a staff highly trained in early childhood education.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our educational philosophy is based on the premise that children learn through hands-on involvement with activities about which they are motivated to learn.

At ICNS, we provide an environment in which child-initiated activities are encouraged and developmentally appropriate materials are utilized

Art, Creative Movement, Dramatic Play, Science, Language Arts, and Math activities are all included.

Children gain social, emotional, physical and cognitive competence through these experiences

A Typical Day


Child-directed Play at multiple learning and activity stations, including art easels, play dough, water tables, blocks, puzzles, and building tools.

A healthy, nutritious snack

Circle-Time singing and movement led by teachers

Small Group Time - a special time set aside for teacher-directed age appropriate activities. Usually a project or activity set-up by the teacher to stimulate learning and experimenting.

Outside Play Time - Time for more fun and challenges outside.

Story Time - Children are gathered together for a story read by one of the staff shortly before parents arrive to take them home.

Home-School Connection

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school