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Lancaster Co-op Nursery School

538 West Chestnut Street
Lancaster, PA 17603-3443

(717) 393-1733


Philosophy & Approach

School Philosophy

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

Quality of Teaching

Individualized Teaching: From the Director

The Lancaster Cooperative Preschool has a unique non-religious preschool curriculum. Founded in 1969 on the belief that parents are their childâ??s first and most important teachers, our preschool has been the only program in the area to be cooperatively run by certified teachers and parents.

Day in the Life

General School Mission

Our preschool creates a learning environment for children that affirms and promotes the inherent worth and dignity of every person; encourages justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; and respects the interdependent web of all existence of which we are part.

A Typical Day

Our approach is child-centered and hands-on. The size of our classes are small enough to provide personal attention, yet large enough for the children to have lots of social interaction. Each year we watch the children bloom within our caring environment.

Play is at the heart of our program, with guided experiences balancing free-play opportunities. Gross motor skills develop as children run, climb, jump, hop and practice throwing and catching. Fine motor skills are emphasized through puzzles, games and art. In the classroom, cognitive growth is fostered with counting and classification games. Children are encouraged to reflect on and share their own knowledge. Our aim is to help children improve their cognitive, motor, language and social development skills while having lots of fun!

Our classrooms are well-equipped with creative learning toys, a play kitchen, puzzles, imaginative gear and books. There is also a fenced-in outdoor playground with a sandbox, slide and tire swing as well as a large indoor play area complete with big wheels, hula-hoops, games and toys for bad weather days.

Emergent literacy behaviors are encouraged as reading and writing activities occur every day during free play, story time and art. Childrenâ??s interactive language abilities are fostered through fantasy play in our dress-up area. The growth of language is also encouraged by the print-rich environment, singing and rhyming games.

Children are actively involved in the work of the classroom. At the start of each day, the class chooses responsibilitiesâ??the gardener waters the plants, the snack helper counts the napkins, the fish-feeder feeds the fish. Each childâ??s self confidence increases through peer interactions and positive feedback from the teachers. Self-reliance is emphasized while children are helped to understand each otherâ??s feelings. The adults in the classroom model behaviors such as sharing, helping and cooperating with each other and encourage conflict resolution skills.

Field trips are a wonderful way for children to learn about the world around them. Throughout the year trips are taken locally to farms, parks, railroads and public service facilities. Walking trips around the block are also taken occasionally. Seasonal community celebrations take place throughout the year.