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Burr Cooperative Nursery School

64 Hancock Street
Newton, MA 02466

(617) 332-0886


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

Our Free Play Time is the most important time of the day. Children are free to select from a wide range of activities and learning areas and to play in large or small groups or at times by themselves. Teachers help facilitate and extend play and encourage social interaction and development as well as problem solving skills. We also incorporate age appropriate circle time activities and work on transition skills in order to prepare children to move onto Kindergarten. We have one mixed-age classroom which enables children to work at their own pace and to both follow and mentor other children. As part of the cooperative experience, parents help in the classroom once every 4-6 weeks and also serve on the Board of Directors or on a support committee.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

I think that teaching in a mixed-age classroom encourages teachers to individualize their curriculum and teaching. Staff are nurturing and supportive of each child - and work to help them develop the next level of skills. Our student/teacher ratio allows us to work with individual children on special areas of interest to them and/or on areas where they may need extra support.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Burr Cooperative believes that preschool children learn best through play and active exploration of their environment. Being a cooperative, parents play an active role inside and out of the classroom. Staff work in partnership with parents to provide a nurturing and enriching experience for children in order to give them the confidence and social and emotional base needed for later learning. Staff use the interests of the children to plan long term themes and projects and set up the environment to facilitate the physical, cognitive and social development of each individual child.

A Typical Day

9:00 Arrival
9:10 Morning Meeting
9:20 - 10:20 Free Play
10:20-10:45Clean-up, Toileting and Handwashing
10:45 Snack
11:00 Quiet Book/Activity Time
11:15 Circle
11:30 Playground

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Parents are provided with a handbook upon entering the school, parent orientation night is held at the beginning of each new year. Curriculum, philosophy and parent help responsibilities are discussed at this orientation. Ongoing updates concerning curriculum and emergent themes are provided through regular classroom "newsletters". Parent-teacher conferences are held twice a year to give feedback on individual children's progress and to set goals. Individual portfolios with photos and artwork document each child's learning and are given to families at the end of the year. Information on outside services and activities are provided to families via general bulletin board and to individual families as needed during conference time. Teachers and director are available to meet at any other times during the year as well.

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
  • Parents in classroom early on
  • Abbreviated schedule at start of school year

Handling Separation: From the Director

We work with families on an individual basis to provide support through the initial transition process. Staff offer strategies to help with separation and give one-on-one support to children who may need extra attention at this time.