Back to Urbana Preschools

Children Youth Services - Cooperative Nursery Schools, Champaign-Urbana

602 West Green Street
Urbana, IL 61801

(217) 384-1128


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

Curriculum is play-based, individualized and developmentally appropriate.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The teachers individualize activities for the children. Encouragement is given to progress at each child's ability. Each child's ability and interests are taken into consideration when planning class activities.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Emotional and social development
A preschool program helps children learn about themselves, both as individuals and as members of a group. If children are to grow into fully functioning adults, they need to have confidence in their abilities to master new challenges and to understand their social and physical environment. Co-op fosters such confidence-building by encouraging children to:
experience a variety of materials
assert their own ideas and thoughts
do things on their own
make choices and decisions that are accepted by adults
recognize their own feelings and develop appropriate means of expressing them
recognize and accept the feelings of others
develop strategies for resolving conflicts with others,
including modifying their own behavior in order to work within a group
share responsibility for the care of materials and equipment
Physical, aesthetic and cognitive development
A preschool program should encourage children to exercise their curiosity, to explore and learn about their world, and to organize their knowledge. This process lays the necessary foundation for the development of general intellectual capacities. Co-op accomplishes this by helping children:
control bodily movements through the use of a variety of media
(musical instruments, dramatic play, large physical equipment, etc.)
learn physical limitations in a safe environment
develop an interest in everyday events
do thoughtful planning - set goals, think, work, follow through
discuss information and draw conclusions; understand the consequences of events
increase understanding of number and shape concepts
develop aesthetic appreciation - awareness of color, line, form, rhythm and sound
articulate problems and work out solutions

Excerpted from the preschool's website

A Typical Day

"A Typical Day at Co-Op :
Welcome :
Upon entering school, each child and working parent must wash their hands before entering the classroom.
The classroom teacher welcomes each child and parent upon entering the classroom.
Free Play :
Large Group Meeting (Circle Time)
Welcome Song
Group Sharing
Calendar/Day of the Week
Secret Sack
Discussion about day?s activities
Play in Centers :
Small group play in centers facilitated by the Teacher. Centers include block building, dramatic play, science/math, manipulative toys, art, books and books on tape.
One on one time with the classroom teacher in centers.
Music and Movement :
Singing, dancing, rhythm instruments, finger plays, rhyming.
Snack :
Nutritional snacks provided by parents
Quiet Reading Time :
Children look at books by themselves or in small group.
Outdoor play :
Dismissal :
Depending on classroom, dismissal is from playground or classroom.

Excerpted from the preschool's website

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parent orientation at the beginning of each school year. Quarterly newsletter by Director and weekly classroom newsletter by Teachers. Parent-Teacher conferences every Spring. Parent-Teacher class meeting in the fall and as needed. Community activities and resources updated and displayed on large parent information bulletin board near school entrance. Parents serve on committees and the board of Directors.


Separation is Handled through:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

Because we are a parent cooperative preschool and the parents assist the teacher in the classroom, parents can stay with their child in the classroom until the child is comfortable. When a parent leaves and the child exhibits separation anxiety, extra attention is given the child through comfort and redirection.