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Q: What are the benefits of a cooperative preschool experience?


There are numerous benefits to joining a cooperative preschool.  Research shows that the more a parent is involved in their child’s education, the more successful that child will be.  As a parent participating in the classroom, you get to witness first hand how your child navigates their world and how they interact with others - socially, emotionally, physically, creatively and intellectually.  A child’s confidence grows as he or she witnesses how teachers and parents work together in his or her first school experience. 


Q: How does a school being licensed and registered help keep my child safe?


Safety is a top priority at St. Mark's.  Our licensing requirements ensure that all our teachers and staff undergo fingerprinting, background checks and are trained in first aid, CPR and Epi-pen administration.  We also uphold strict teacher-to-student ratios at all times throughout the school day.  Our security system is in place so only authorized parents, caregivers and staff members can enter the school, and our current location is equipped with interior and exterior cameras.  Our safety protocols include fire drills, lock down and shelter in place drills.  Our facility is thoroughly inspected by the Office of Children and Family Services, and we undergo random on-site inspections throughout the year to ensure we are in compliance.  Maintaining our license takes great effort, but with it comes great benefits for our community, our students and their parents. 


Q: What is the ratio of teacher to child?


Our ratios are regulated by the Office of Children and Family Services and vary by the ages of the children.  The 2s Separation classes uphold a 1:5 teacher-to-student ratio.  The 3s classes also uphold a 1:5 teacher-to-student ratio, and the ratio in the 4s classrooms is at the most 1:8.


Q: What is a “special” day?


One of the greatest benefits of joining a cooperative is the “Special Day”.  On a Special Day, an adult who is significant to the child is invited to join the class for the day.  The family brings a snack from our Approved Snack list to share, and the child and their grown up get to spend some distraction free time together.  Our students anticipate their special days with great excitement, and both child and adult remember these times with fondness for many years to come.


Q: What are the participation requirements?  Can a non-parent participate?


We ask that families sign up for four special days a year.  Caregivers or relatives that have a special bond with the child are welcome to be the participating adult.  Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, grandparents, and babysitters have all shared participating duties at the school. 


Q: Are the participation requirements manageable for working parents?


We think so!  Parents sign up for special days using, and we strive to accommodate many different schedules.  We currently have working parents who are teachers, lawyers, doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, business owners, students, reporters, fitness instructors, “stay at home working” parents, etc. ... we make it work!


Q: Are there any enrichment/extended day programs?


Yes!  The three year olds are offered the option to extend their days through LUNCH BUNCH which ends at 1:00 pm.  After that, we offer mixed age enrichment classes to both our 3 & 4-year-olds, including Science Explorers, Mini-Picasso, Sportset Cheerleading & All Sports enrichment classes.  These extend the regular day to 2 pm for the students.  We also offer a 5th day Friday Fours Program.  These are fun and exciting opportunities for our students! Extended Day Programs


Q: What is the educational philosophy of the school?


We are a play-based, developmentally appropriate school.  Play-based means we focus on PLAY as the heart and soul of the academic experience.  Developmentally appropriate means our students are exposed to activities and environments that meet their developmental age and brain function.  Numerous studies have proven that play provides learning opportunities to develop cognitive, physical, social and emotional experiences that lead to a child’s academic success and self esteem.

Q: Does St. Mark’s Nursery School have a religious affiliation?


We welcome families and children of all religious backgrounds.   Our school was started in 1968 and our name is the original one taken by our cooperative when it began in the basement of our original building at 200 Hempstead Avenue almost 50 years ago. We moved to our current location at 100 Hempstead Avenue in June 2015.  We love to introduce our little ones to all different kinds of religious and cultural celebrations throughout the year!


Q: How does the school handle food allergies?


We are a peanut/tree nut free school. Each year we distribute an Approved Snack List to each member of our Cooperative.  On special days, only items from this list can be brought into school.  The items on the list are checked on an ongoing basis to determine if they are safe for students who have peanut or tree nut allergy.  We have also worked with families that have had gluten, egg, and other allergies to ensure that our school environment is safe for their little ones.  If your child has a specific allergy other than peanuts, the classroom teacher and current VP of Health and Safety will work with you to create a specific list for your classroom.  Our VP of Health and Safety is alerted to any recalls and periodically updates the list to ensure the safety and well being of all our students.


Q: What is committee work?  Do I have to make curtains and scrub toilets?


Since we are a cooperative preschool, we ask each 3s and 4s family to make an annual commitment of volunteering their time to a specific committee (our 2s families are not required to do committee work). Our committees include Fundraising, planning a Ladies Night Out event, Hospitality, Classroom Cleaning, Enrichment and Purchasing.  The VP of Committees works diligently during the summer to find a committee that fits family lifestyles and interests.  You can expect the commitment to equal around 8-10 hours of time throughout the year.  There is also a $400 opt-out fee if you feel your family cannot commit to committee work at this time.

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