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Parental involvement nets a discount on preschool

Parents in Federal Way have come up with a creative way to save money on preschool.

The Federal Way Co-Op Preschool allows parents to lower tuition costs by contributing time in the classroom.

Classes are for students ages 2 to 5 years. Parents are required to contribute about two and a half hours each week helping in the classroom and organizing fundraisers for the school.

“It’s like regular preschool, but the parents are more involved with it,” said Joyce Campos, a board member whose 4-year-old daughter attends the school.

“It is cheaper than other preschools that I’ve seen, which is one of the appeals that it had for me,” Campos said. “You’re spending less money, but spending more time.”

Tuition at the Federal Way Co-Op Preschool ranges from $55 to $77 each month.

Parents who have more time during the day are encouraged to contribute more than the minimum time in the classroom. All parents are required to provide snacks for the class once a week.

Parent time in the classroom is most often spent assisting the teacher with learning activities and helping to manage the sometimes rambunctious youngsters.

“It’s more like interacting with the kids, kind of leading by example and if there’s a child that seems to be a little over-excited that day, we just kind of help them and remind them, you know,” Campos said.

There are always three adults in the classroom along with the teacher.

They also help the children clean up after craft activities and supervise while they play outside.

“It’s more eyes on the kids to make sure that everyone is safe,” Campos said.

Parents in the Federal way Co-Op Preschool are also invited to participate in a variety of meetings with educators from Bates Technical College discussing childhood development and parenting skills.

At a recent meeting, parents learned about the differences between brain development in boys and girls.

“I find that so fascinating and it makes so much sense because I have a boy and a girl, and it explains a lot,” Campos said.

Meeting with other parents and participating in the educational meetings has helped ease some of Campos’s worries about whether her children are normal, she said. She also has developed a routine of parent involvement that carried on with her son as he entered kindergarten. Campos recently joined the PTA at her son’s school.

“I’m not as intimidated by that as I might have been,” she said. “It kind of trains the parent, I think, to become more involved with their child’s education.”

Contact Margo Hoffman: mhoffman@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

The Federal Way Co-op Preschool will host an open house from 4 to 6 p.m. April 28 at Federal Way United Methodist Church, 29645 51st Ave. S. in Auburn. Children are welcome to attend. For more information, call Teacher Cari at (253) 988-3284 or e-mail teachercari@aol.com.

t Extra interaction enriches the classroom

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