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Takoma Park Cooperative Nursery School, Inc.

8204 Flower Avenue
Takoma Park, MD 20912

(301) 585-7272


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Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

General Approach to Learning: Co-op, Reggio-Emilia

From the Director:

Inspired by Reggio-Emilia, the value of creative expression moves to the fore. The School is a parent-participatory model School. We educate parents in both the philosophy and the delivery of that philosophy. The program delivers cognitive and academically-related information through the creative mediums of dramatic play, movement, music and visual art. Play-based learning must support exploring and acquiring information through hands-on experiences. Humans learn through experience and by offering a wide range of experiences, children learn best. The language of play is essential and at our School, the educational philosophy creates avenues for the optimum expression of that language.

Curriculum & Teaching Approach

Learning Philosophy & Tools

  Play- based mostly teacher led not formally in curriculum conducive environment
Language       more

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  • Tracing paper and other writing instruments
  • A well-stocked bookcase
  • Literacy development is woven throughout the curriculum including circle activities, art projects, thematic literature selections, and dramatic play
Oral language  
Nursery rhymes, poems, songs  
Storybook reading  
Emerging literacy skills  
Cognitive development
Math & number sense more

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  • Puzzles
  • Math skills are developed through carefully selected manipulatives which change throughout the year depending on the key concepts being supported.
Time & space more

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  • Calendars and clocks
  • Parquetry blocks, pegboards, and mosaic toys
  • Maps
  • Building blocks
  • The daily schedule and physical plan lead the activity and focus for learning
Sci. reasoning/physical world more

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  • A place for science activities such as growing plants
  • Scientific domains are supported through manipulatives, art experiences, dramatic play environment, and literature
Music more

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  • Musical instruments
  • Music appreciation is infused throughout, and formal instruction is presented by a highly-qualified music teacher
Visual arts more

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  • Materials such as paint, ink, paintbrushes, crayons, markers, chalk, paper, etc.
  • Art work on the walls
  • Visual art and art techniques are presented, mounted, and displayed with care and respect. All art mediums and techniques are explored, including those listed here along with clay, collage, fabric, and sculpture
Physical activity more

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  • A playground with climbing equipment
  • Bean bags, balls, and other objects that children can throw, kick, and play
  • Tricycles
  • Enough room for children to move around and play and a suitable indoor alternative to the outdoor playground on rainy days
  • Sandboxes and/or water stations for play
  • Gross motor play and outdoor play hold great value. The children go outside in all kinds of weather. Movement is delivered by a highly-qualified teacher.
Other subjects taught Movement and social dramatic play are also included. Social-emotional development and anti-bias are a primary focus throughout the curriculum.

From the Director:

Each age group's curriculum is designed by the teacher presenting while reflecting the overarching educational philosophy of the School. The teachers, including the classroom teachers and the specialty teachers (movement and music) work together to create o cohesive flow and to actively inform and train the parents in curriculum delivery and individualized student approach.

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

Each adult and child arrives on the planet with a unique learning style. In approaching curriculum delivery, placing a high value on these variables within a strong educational philosophical context will bring greater learning success. It is important to note that some learning styles are not suited for our part-time, parent-participatory model -- children and adults who crave consistency and a more open-ended routine (or a more structured, limited choice environment), may be better suited for a longer day/week with the same adults delivering the curriculum each day.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

The School's philosophy begins with the tenants of the parent-participatory model. Parent participation is a key predictor for future success. We endeavor to create informed and active parents through involvement and parent education. Involvement includes gaining understanding through classroom participation, learning through administrative experience, and engendering stewardship.

The educational philosophy centers on creative expression and learning through creative arts experiences. Great value is placed on each individual child's efforts, learning style, and exploration and expression of learning.

A Typical Day

The philosophy of education feeds the physical plan, the materials offered, and the daily schedule. It also informs and leads according to the unique aspects of each age groupings developmental range. Dramatic play, art experiences, and cognitive pursuits become the domain of all instead of the self-selected few -- children spend time together in each space for learning (the Classroom for math, literacy, and circle time; the Imagination Station for music, movement, and drama; the Project Center for art, science, and anything messy; and the Playground for sensory and nature).

Home-School Connection

Home-School Connection: From the Director

Co-oping parents must participate in 4 to 6 hours of parent education per school year. We hold monthly information/business meetings which every family is required to attend. Teachers communicate with parents daily and with the class weekly via email. We hold two regularly scheduled parent-teacher conferences. The first is in the Fall attended by parents and teacher to discuss developmental milestones, goals, and planning. The second is in the Spring and is attended by the whole family as the child presents his/her portfolio. The portfolio contains documentation through photographs and work samples representing key developmental accomplishments and learning connections.

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
  • 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
  • Small group sessions

Handling Separation: From the Director

While the home visits and small group "starts" go a long way in easing transitions, we are prepared to create individual plans to help children make the sometimes difficult transition to the busy classroom. A foundation of trust must lead the way. Parents must believe and choose to support the plan.