Our Philosophy

Garden Preschool Cooperative Philosophy

The Garden Preschool Cooperative (GPC) is a parent-run nonprofit preschool that seeks to provide high-quality progressive early childhood education in a nurturing atmosphere. Founded in 1995, the school was envisioned as an alternative to parents who sought an enhanced level of involvement in the education of their young children and who believed a cooperative community would provide an ideal setting for early childhood education.

The program at GPC is based on the well-researched and well-proven educational philosophy of developmentally-appropriate practice. GPC faculty employ the developmental-interactive approach to teaching students as pioneered by the Bank Street Graduate School of Education in New York.

Intrinsic to the philosophy of developmentally-appropriate practice is the recognition that a child's natural curiosity about themselves and the world around them is the motivating force for their learning and their ability to create meaning. It stresses the child's desire and need to engage actively with the environment — to make sense of experience through hands-on participation with open-ended materials and through interaction with peers and adults — as a necessary aspect of human growth. It also stresses children's play as an important vehicle for maturation and development particularly in these early years.

According to our nation's leading educators, a key indicator of quality is the significance of play in a program's philosophy. Young children learn best by play — by actively thinking, experimenting, exploring and manipulating their environment — to make sense of their world, to understand and negotiate relationships, to develop creative thinking and to build a positive sense of themselves and their significance to a community. Play provides the important foundations for academic learning in the later years and is central to all aspects of a child's social, emotional, intellectual and physical growth. Through art, cooking, singing, building, gardening and engaging in pretend play, children — with teacher guidance — build on their knowledge of emergent literacy, math and science concepts. Child-directed, teacher-facilitated play is central to all aspects of the GPC curriculum.

Parents play a central role in the education of our students. They help enrich the curriculum, offer guidance to our teachers, assist in the classroom once monthly, and staff all leadership roles on our Board of Directors. Our curriculum is theme-based and changes year-to-year.

Our goal is to guide children towards becoming well- rounded individuals who are self-reliant, confident, kind and cooperative. We aim to develop intellectual skills such as problem-solving, perseverance and creative thinking. We promote good habits and attitudes so that our children continue to develop healthy relationships to others and, most importantly, develop valued senses of themselves.

Early Childhood Education Literature

The Building Blocks of a Good Pre-K (NYT Op-Ed)

Foundation Being Built for Academic Skills in Developmentally Appropriate Preschool

"Importance of Friendship Skills" by Lillian Katz

Songs & Fingerplays For Young Children

Value of Asking Open-Ended Questions

"Playing to Get Smart" by Elizabeth Jones