Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of education will my child get at the Mendham Co-op?

The child-centered curriculum incorporates developmentally appropriate activities that stimulate academic growth, creativity and imaginative exploration. Children practice numbers and letters, enjoy music and stories, investigate science and nature, and gain self-confidence through artistic, verbal and physical expression. Field trips may include a visit to the planetarium, apple and pumpkin picking, truck demonstrations, animal visits, and more.

What are the “co-oping parents’” responsibilities?

Responsibilities of the “co-oping parent” (the parent helping in the classroom) vary depending on such factors as the teacher’s plan for the day and the age group. A typical co-oping day might involve bringing and setting up snacks and drinks for the class; helping to monitor outdoor play; assisting children with an art project; reading a book; participating in music; and light classroom cleaning.

Will I have to teach my child’s class?

Parents are never expected to serve as the primary teacher in the classroom. Their role is to support the teacher and assistant teacher. In turn, co-oping parents can expect to receive the full support of the teaching staff during their time in the classroom.

Can I opt out of co-oping?

At the Mendham Co-op, parental participation in the classroom is considered a key part of the preschool experience, but we understand that parents sometimes need an alternative. That’s why we offer a choice. For a moderate fee, parents can choose not to “co-op” in their child’s classroom. However, every family must still participate in one of the school committees.

What are the parents’ committee responsibilities?

Every family joins a committee, and there are enough options to suit various preferences and commitment levels. Choices include maintenance, fundraising, toy cleaning, supply, grant writing, welcoming, administrative, and more. Committee involvement is an integral part of the Co-op experience and an opportunity to meet new friends and express your talents.

What is a typical time commitment?

While every parent is welcome to contribute as much additional time to the school as he or she chooses, the minimum requirement is really quite manageable. Co-oping time varies depending on class size, but generally it works out to about one session per child per month. (Parents of multiples will be scheduled to co-op more frequently.) Depending on the committee, time commitment varies from monthly meetings to sessions two or three times a year.

What if I can’t make it when I’m scheduled to be the helping parent in class?

Despite everyone’s best efforts, scheduling conflicts and unforeseen emergencies are inevitable. In almost every case, these can be resolved by contacting other parents and trading slots on the co-oping schedule.

Is a co-op only for families with a stay-at-home parent?

Not at all! As long as there’s some flexibility in the work schedules of one or both parents, co-oping can work out very well. Alternatively, a grandparent or other relative may serve as the helping adult in the classroom.

Can I bring my other children to school while I’m co-oping?

While parents rotate through the classroom, it’s important to keep the school experience consistent. In order for parents and children to get the most out of their classroom time, siblings are not permitted to accompany the co-oping parent. Many parents team up to provide each other with babysitting on their co-oping days.

What classes and hours are offered at the Mendham Co-op?

The Co-op offers morning and afternoon classes for children ages 2½ to 5. ”Lunch Bunch” extended days are available for all students. Enrichment programs are also offered outside regular class time. Camp is offered for the first seven weeks of summer.