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Belair Cooperative Nursery

3120 Belair Dr
Bowie, MD 20715

(301) 464-5782


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One of the oldest preschools in the region, the Belair Co-op is a school that involves families in their children's education. We provide excellent, play-centered learning that allows children to grow and develop naturally while preparing them for kindergarten. Teachers are caring and loving. Parents are valued and involved. Children are respected and cherished.

Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

From the Director:

The Belair Cooperative Nursery School, established in 1962, is one of the oldest preschools in the City of Bowie. The school is a non-profit, non-secretarian, and non-partisan organization. It has been licensed by the Maryland State Department of Education since 1970. The Belair Cooperative Nursery School rents classroom space from the Christian Community Presbyterian Church on Belair Drive in Bowie. Our purpose is to provide children with a group experience that extends the values of family life by fostering a sense of community involvement. It is the philosophy of the school to encourage student awareness of and participation in one’s natural, social and cultural environment.

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 In addition to our regular classroom program. We also have outside teachers come in to give weekly sessions in music and spanish. We are also offering a 5 morning a week enrichment option which focuses on math and science. And on top of all that, twice a month, our children take a developmentally appropriate yoga class at the studio next door.

From the Director:

The school attempts to provide a program, which is appropriate to a child’s stage of development, which is satisfying to him or her. The school introduces the students to music appreciation and Spanish instruction. We strive to recognize the unique characteristics and abilities of each child and to cultivate in each a love of learning and a consideration of others.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

One of the great challenges and the great joys of teaching perschool is that children enter the program at all kinds of different levels. The Belair coop has a long history of working to ensure that those children who are excelling and those children who are in need of additional time both get what they need. Teachers frequently utilize free play time as an opportunity to work with those students who need extra assistance and to provide a challenge to those students who have mastered the current skills.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our school is friendly, comfortable environment that allows children to develop at their own rate through play and also through periods of direct instruction in circle time. It is our goal that every child would enjoy coming to school and feel valued.

School should be a place where children learn to interact with peers, follow basic rules and learn the value of kindness and sharing, patience and generosity, as these skills will prepare them for the rest of their life.

But it is also our serious goal to make sure that each child is prepared for both the social and academic demands of a quickly evolving kindergarten curriculum. We meet children where they are and work to nurture them to a place where they are ready for the challenges of elementary school.

A Typical Day

8:50-9:00 - Arrival Time

9:00-9:10 - Free Play (including table activities, puzzles, books, cutting, coloring, etc.)

9:10-9:30 - Alphabet/Numbers

9:30-10:00 - Spanish/Music

10:00-10:30 - Snack and Reading Time

10:30-11:00 - Outdoor Play

11:00-11:45 - Project Time

11:45-12:00 - Circle/Story Time

12:00 - Dismissal

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

The beauty of the coop environment is that parents are very closely involved in the education of their child. As a member of the coop, each parent will volunteer once a month as the "parent helper" in the classroom. This is a support to the teacher, a treat for the child, but also a valuable opportunity for the parent to witness how their child interacts with others and to speak directly with the teachers. Coop parents very quickly get to know one another and one another's children. You are intimately aware of what is happening in the classroom and have a close working relationship with the teacher. It is the ideal way to ease yourself and your child into the educational world

Parents Say They are Encouraged to:

  • Sit on the board of trustees
  • Hold social events at the school to build community
  • 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:

  • Pre-entry meetings with parents at school
  • Parents in classroom early on

Handling Separation: From the Director

Separation can be a difficult task both for the child and the parent. At the Coop we work to alleviate this as much as possible by making sure the child and parents are comfortable at the school. Before school begins for the year we have playdates at local parks so children and parents can get to know one another. We also have a drop in day so children can see and play in the classroom before school starts.

Once school begins, parents are involved as parent helpers. And families who struggle with separation are invited to stay in the classroom or remain close that first week. Beyond that the teacher and the family are able to develop a plan to make sure that the needs of the child, the parents and the classroom are all met.