Co-op Preschool Thrives In New Location

Posted on September 30, 2011 by  
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There are literally dozens of day care and preschool options available in Los Altos.  From the tried and true “in home” care, to both small and large centers, there is something for everyone.

One of the oldest recently moved to a new location. Los Altos Parent Preschool was founded in 1954, just two years after the city was incorporated.  It has been a successful model that has seen hundreds of children pass through its program.

Recently, Los Altos Patch contributor, Jennifer van der Kleut, wrote an article about this wonderful program. Below, is a slightly edited version.  Enjoy …

For more than 50 years, Los Altos Parent Preschool (LAPP) has been a thriving and successful preschool that parents from as far away as San Jose and Milpitas are willing to make the trek to.

For a long time, LAPP had been located in a corner of the Los Altos High School campus, since the preschool is actually part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education School.

Though the reason they were losing their location was understandable, it was still devastating to the preschool, when the teachers and parents learned the news.

“Los Altos High had a tremendous growth and expansion going on at their school, and they just needed the extra space,” LAPP parent volunteer Shanon Pestrong explained.

As soon as they found out, Pestrong said a group of LAPP staff and parent volunteers set to work searching for a new location.  Fortunately, one came about—a corner of the Covington Elementary School campus.

LAPP’s campus is bigger, better and newer than ever, said Pestrong. The Covington campus features a new indoor classroom customized to meet the needs of LAPP’s programs, with several activity stations.

There is now also a very large outdoor classroom, equipped with multiple areas for hands-on learning, such as sensory play, science, gardening, painting, block play and sand play.

Pestrong said, part of being a co-op school is that every family is assigned roughly three “jobs” for the year, to satisfy their portion of the co-op requirements.

The first job is to be assigned a regular day each week to work in the classroom as the teacher’s helper. The second is to be assigned a specific job or area of contribution that the parent will do for the year.

The last part of the parent commitment is to attend regular school meetings and take part in parent education. Pestrong explained, as part of the Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education School, LAPP offers an element of education to help parents learn how to be better parents.

Pestrong said, she also loves the sense of community she found with other parents at LAPP.  And, you just can’t match the camaraderie and emotional support that comes with volunteering together each week, she said.

All in all, Pestrong says, LAPP has been a wonderful experience for her family; one that she would recommend to anyone. “I’m just very grateful that our family has the flexibility to be able to use Los Altos Parent Preschool, and I really love it.”

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