Brookline Nursery School Gives Parents 'Front-Row Seat' To Classroom

BROOKLINE, MA – A little-known nursery school in Brookline does things a little differently than your typical preschool.

The Corner Co-op Nursery School is, as its name suggests, a cooperative preschool, meaning teachers and parents are collectively responsible for making decisions about the school.

“We have a board and a community of parents who are involved in the kind of day to day decision making about the school, from hiring teachers, from thinking about field trips and community events, from restocking supplies in the classroom to doing semi-annual cleanups at the Co-op to thinking about new new ideas and new programming at the school,” Celia Green, the school’s administrator said.

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Parents are also encouraged to be a part of the classroom. Instead of dropping off their kids at the door and saying goodbye for the day, parents can lead activities or just sit in and watch their child learn.

“It’s a really great way and a unique way for parents to have a front row seat to this really special time in their child’s life,” Green said.

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Green’s daughter is currently a student at the school, which she said has been a special experience for her, to watch her learn and grow.

“You get to see their friendships develop, the fun things that they’re doing in the classroom,” Green said. “It’s so special.”

Starting from age two-years, nine-months through age five, children are taught together in a mixed-age classroom. The children follow a general day-to-day schedule, but are also given freedom to decide on activities for the day themselves.

“It gives them a lot of confidence, knowing they’re making choices for themselves,” Green said.

The school currently has 19 students in attendance.

It has maintained a strong community within Brookline, and has many “alumni families” – former students who now send their children to the school.

“It’s just so so special to have these like multiple generations coming back to the school,” Green said.

Green said the reason many former students decide to send their own children to the school is because of the sense of community the school offers.

The school hosts events and activities for students and their families year-round, such as potlucks, pizza nights, and even a camping trip to the Cape.

More recently, the school received two new murals by Alex Cook, a local muralist and the husband of Marcy Girt, a teacher at the Co-op.

Throughout the pandemic, the school remained open, first by holding classes over Zoom, then outside at parks around Brookline, before returning to the church basement in September of 2021.

Beth Mahar, a teacher at the co-op for over twenty years said the pandemic helped the school rethink the way it runs and develop new ideas for the future.

“We’re sort of re-birthing and reinvigorating as a Co-op,” Mahar said.

But the community-driven mentality remains the same, she said.

“It is like an extension of home where families feel very comfortable here and they get to know the other families and the other children.”

For more information, visit the school’s website.

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