The Co-op Experience

I_0501Erin Mills Co-op operates on the premise of parent involvement to share and partake in the responsibility of the preschool program. The goal of the co-op experience is to provide a wonderful parent education, with increased understanding of childhood development while developing relationships with other families, teachers and children within the community. The co-op experience, truly unique for both parent and child, provides a setting in which you can observe and help your child grow and interact with others, and develop a natural love of learning. We provide a safe environment for your child to begin to spend time apart from his or her primary caregiver(s); this will build independence in your preschool child and ensure a gentle transition from the home to the school environment, where children are given a chance to interact with other children and adults and to establish trusting relationships.

Parent Involvement

The co-operative aspect of our school is stressed in everything that we do. Without parents, the school would not exist. The only staff we pay are our teachers; everything else is run by parent volunteers. This helps keep our costs low and parents involved with their child’s educational experiences in a positive way.

Farm_0097You will serve on one committee throughout the school year. Families with two children enrolled in the school, will serve on two committees. Committee choices vary from Kitchen Management to a position on the Executive Committee, such as school Treasurer or President. We work with you to find a position that suits you best.

As a participating family, you will work a duty day in your child’s class once every 2-3 weeks, as per the duty schedule. On these days you will help the teachers facilitate the scheduled program, including activities such as crafts, creative play, cognitive learning areas, and more. You will also supply either the snack or the juice for the children on your duty day. Non-participating families are not responsible for duty days. There are a limited number of non-participating spaces per class; if you are interested in this option please discuss it with our registrar.

Your attendance at our three general membership meetings is mandatory. We use these meeting to discuss happenings within the school, create our yearly executive committee, have parents sign up for the volunteer committees, etc. They take place in the evenings at South Common Community Centre in May, June, and September.

Hallo_0029Fundraising is an essential aspect of our non-profit school, and is lots of fun! Our largest annual event is our September Trike-a-thon, during which families from throughout Mississauga come out for a day of fun. It is a wonderful event in which Erin Mills Co-op students ride their bicycles to raise pledges for the school. This popular annual event also includes a bouncy castle, fire truck from our local fire station, professional face painting, a barbeque, great silent auction, bake sale, crafts, a dunk tank and more! We have other great activities throughout the year, as well, which encourage the kids to get together and have fun while raising money for the school. These might include our annual Santa’s Workshop, bowling at Streetsville Bowl, or sales of Scholastic Books and MacMillan’s baking products.

While the amount of participation required may initially seem daunting, please don’t let this deter you! By being an active fully-participating member of our co-op, both you and your child will reap the benefits of this unique and valuable experience.