Cedar Lane Cooperative Nursery School At a Glance
Where Play Is at the Heart of Learning
Founded in 1959, Cedar Lane Nursery School is a co-operative nursery school where parents work together with dedicated teachers to create a joyful educational experience for their children. All aspects of our school are rooted in a respect for children and their ability to learn through play. Under the leadership of Cedar Lane’s teacher-director Bernadine Occhiuzzo, we encourage our children to explore, experiment, ponder, and create. The school’s program and physical resources offer children ample opportunities to develop a sense of belonging, competence, purposefulness, and responsibility.
Cedar Lane is a non-sectarian school housed in Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, located in a beautiful wooded setting adjoining Rock Creek Park.
Our three classrooms are spacious and bright with reading nooks, easels, room for large block and vehicle play, as well as dramatic play, science and other activities that encourage learning through play. The school has a large playground with a variety of equipment, including swings, a sandbox, and several different kinds of climbers, allowing for active and imaginative outdoor play.
Parents at Cedar Lane play an integral role through their participation in the classroom and in all aspects of the school’s administration. The high level of parent involvement and the school’s intimate size allows our program to nurture children and foster their developmental needs.
The school day generally begins with a free play period before children join together for the daily gathering. During this time they may sing, play or move to music, listen to a story, share news from home or talk about events at school. After a break for a healthy snack, the children enjoy an outdoor recess where they can run, climb, swing, play in the sandbox or participate in imaginary play with their friends. The children then return to the classroom and choose from a variety of developmentally appropriate activities, including art, dramatic play, building with blocks or other materials, books, games, puzzles and science discovery. The children work together to clean up and prepare for parent pick up.
Cedar Lane Nursery School offers three classes by age. All classes have the goals of:
- Fostering an enthusiasm for learning and an active curiosity.
- Promoting emotional growth by building self-confidence and a sense of self- worth.
- Helping each child develop an inner sense of discipline and self-control.
- Encouraging children to be responsible members of a group.
- Promoting positive social development by developing interaction skills, and promoting empathetic and caring behavior toward others.
- Nurturing children by providing loving care in a safe and healthy environment.
- Providing opportunities to interact with the world around them.
We strive to provide opportunities for children to:
- Accept frustration as a part of learning.
- Develop creative and imaginative powers.
- Develop self-expression.
- Develop control of their bodies and kinesthetic awareness by using large and small muscles.
- Develop at their own rate.
- Develop their own interests.
- Develop their ability to perceive through the five senses.
- Develop their use of language to increasingly meet their needs and express their thoughts.
- Begin developing thought patterns to help them think clearly and problem solve.
- Develop their listening skills and attention span.
- Develop their resting and relaxing skills.
- Develop some number concepts.
- Begin developing an appreciation for science and scientific investigation as well as knowledge about how our world works.
- Begin developing an appreciation for other cultures and customs.
- Develop an interest in the printed word.
As a co-operative pre-school, parents are an essential part of day-to-day activities in our play-based classrooms. Families assist or “co-op” in the classroom approximately two to three times per month, during which they support the children’s activities and provide healthy snacks. Parents are trained for their co-op responsibilities upon enrollment and must be CPR and first aid certified. Our nursery school provides all the training and certification needed for parents to be successful co-opers.
Parents support the school in other critical ways and are involved directly in all aspects of running the school. Parents attend monthly membership meetings, during which general issues and plans are discussed, and outside speakers are invited to give talks as part of our ongoing parent education initiative. Membership meetings and other social activities also offer opportunities for parents to get to know each other and foster a sense of community.
Parent involvement at several levels assures that parents are vested in the creation and maintenance of a thriving learning community.