By Linda Lane
Incorporating a school-like atmosphere, the Schoolcraft Co-op Preschool offers a licensed preschool program that focuses on a positive environment and encourages responsibility for three and four year-old kids, and young fives as well.
“We’re different from a traditional day-care environment. The co-op component allows parents and relatives to play an active role in their children’s preschool learning environment,” Emily Glerum, president of the preschool board explained. “We’re not open 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. like a day care and we’re not really competing with the other local preschools. We don’t have to remain within the state’s guidelines for school funded programs. We try to make our curriculum more rigorous and more like a day at kindergarten for the kids,” she said.
Under the direction of Angela VanHorn, a licensed director, the Co-op Preschool implements the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) program also used in school systems.
“We have a really great balance between academic and play,” VanHorn commented. Recent science studies included such diverse topics as planting seeds in a jar to see them germinating, watching yeast feed on sugar to fill a balloon with air, and creating a cloud in a jar.
“The squeals of delight from the kids when they watched the cloud escape from the jar into the room was fantastic,” VanHorn exclaimed. “They wanted to know if it was going to rain inside!”
Operating at 224 E Cass Street, across the street from the former Schoolcraft Lower Elementary School, the Co-op Preschool is not affiliated with the First Presbyterian Church although they rent its facilities. Families do not need to be Schoolcraft residents, nor a member of the First Presbyterian Church to participate with the Co-op Preschool.
A requirement of the program is that parents or a child’s relative (grandparent, guardian, or other relative) must volunteer at least once every month in the Co-op center. The Co-op Preschool Board of Directors is comprised of parents who are also among the many volunteers that help.
The Co-op Preschool is usually filled to capacity with children; it has room for 12 three year-olds and 16 four year-olds for their Kindergarten Readiness program. Parents can chose either a half day or a full school day for their kids. The four-year-old program incorporates a Kindergarten Readiness Program. The Co-op operates the same calendar as Schoolcraft Community Schools, September through mid-May. The day care expenses are tax deductible.
The Schoolcraft Co-op Preschool has some openings for the fall program. An application can be obtained by calling 269-679-3012 or emailing email@example.com.