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Lincoln Park Cooperative Nursery School

1753 N. Fern Court
Chicago, IL 60614

(312) 944-5469


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Our NAEYC accredited preschool program is structured around developmentally appropriate learning experiences. These learning experiences help form the curriculum and are based on teachers’ knowledge of child development and educational theory that proves that children learn best through play. Play is the natural work of the young child. Through play, a child can become self-reliant; develop a positive self-image; acquire small and gross motor skills; and engage in language, science and math experiences. By providing activities such as block-building, sociodramatic play and art, we encourage the child to interact with his or her peers, working out problems along the way. Play also promotes creativity and innovative thinking. The teachers play a significant role in the effectiveness of our program. Using their skills and ingenuity to know when to intercede, they capitalize on learning experiences. By doing so, they foster the development of the child’s autonomy, helping the child improve his or her reasoning.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

The philosophy of LPCNS begins with our view of the child. We see children as powerful co-constructors in their own development across all domains. We see children as explorers filled with wonder, who are capable of deep cognitive exploration. At school, we place special emphasis on social and emotional development, early language and literacy, math and science, and physical development.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense
Time & space
Sci. reasoning/physical world
Visual arts
Physical activity
Other subjects taught

From the Director:

Our philosophy is supported by the teaching of two eminent psychologists, Jean Piaget and L.S. Vygotsky. Piagetian thinking holds that the child’s interaction with his environment is paramount to learning, emphasizing the importance of the child’s autonomy in the mastery of the environment. Vygotsky goes further to suggest that the motivation for learning comes out of the social relationship between the child and the adult and between the children as well. Vygotskian theory also highlights the importance of language and its connection to furthering the cognitive development of the child, instructing educators in the kinds of questions and comments that help children reach their next level of understanding.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Lincoln Park Cooperative Nursery School is fortunate to have a dedicated, resourceful, well-qualified staff consisting of a Director, teachers, a coordinator for children and families with special needs, and a financial manager. All teachers have degrees in early childhood educations and over 85% have master's degress in their field.The teaching staff works together to plan and
evaluate the program and to discuss the progress of individual children. The staff works as a team in both the planning and the execution of the daily classroom program.

The curriculum at LPCNS grows out of the interests of the children, and the teacher’s knowledge of child development and developmentally appropriate practice. The curriculum is linked to the individual and group goals that teachers establish based on their knowledge of child development and in cooperation with parents. Teachers employ strategies including identification, selection, and preparation of materials and methods to address children’s individual differences in developmental levels, culture and learning styles. LPCNS is non-denominational and does not incorporate religious training into the curriculum. We recognize and respect the beliefs the children bring from their homes.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Being part of a cooperative nursery school offers parents the unique opportunity of watching their child grow in his or her first contact with a group outside of the family. It offers parents the privilege of being directly involved with the teachers and children who make up this important new group in the child’s life.

By being so closely involved with the school, parents have the opportunity to observe how trained professionals handle issues such as discipline, aggression and timidity.

Everyone benefits from the enthusiasm and new ideas that a cooperative generates, and from the commitment of its members.

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

LPCNS has an open door policy to all parents. Parents assist in the classroom on a rotating basis and have first hand knowledge of the day to day life of their child at school. In addition, a weekly newsletter is provided to parents with specific information about each class. Parent also are invited to two annual parent teacher conferences to discuss their child's school experience and their goals for their child. Teachers are also available by email and phone, when needed.

A "Curriculum Night" at the beginning of the school year also gives parents a chance to learn the meaning and method behind the school's educational philosophy.

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • Fundraise
  • Are required to make donations ourselves
  • Are able to visit the school anytime we want
  • Go on field trips
  • Volunteer in the classroom
  • Receive newsletters

Modes of Communication

  • Notes
  • Phone Calls
  • Voice Mail
  • Email
  • Special Meetings
  • Two or More Regular Conferences
  • Drop-Off
  • Pick-Up
  • Regular newsletter/printed updates circulated to the whole school


Separation is Handled through:

  • Home visits by teachers
  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Small group sessions
  • Extra staff dedicated to handle separation
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

It is our belief that children must feel comfortable with themselves and the learning environment before further learning can take place. With that in mind, children must first learn that school is a safe place, with nurturing teachers who help them identify, communicate, and regulate their own emotions. We have a separation policy that includes a visit to the child from a teacher in the child's home, where they feel the most comfortable. A gradual entry process, with support from a parent or other significant adult, helps pave the way for a secure separation experience.