About Us

What is a Co-op?

Parents are the primary educators of young children. A Co-op allows parents the unique opportunity to share in their children's early school experiences and to take an active role in their education. It also enables each child to develop independence, while maintaining a sense of security. The Co-op values a close relationship with our parents, the community and area school systems. We acknowledge that active parent participation helps broaden the developmental process of young children.

Our Philosophy

Our program, based on research and developmentally appropriate practices, is designed to meet the learning and developmental needs of preschool children. We believe that children do best when families seek out quality early learning opportunities and experiences for them and play an active role in their education.

We recognize parents and families as the first and most important teacher in a child’s life and value the individuality of each family. Children’s learning is continuous and occurs in all settings and the experiences children bring from home are valued and built upon in our school setting. Families, schools, and communities all have significant roles to play in terms of what opportunities are available to children and how well a child is able to take advantage of those opportunities. The establishment and maintenance of positive reciprocal relationships among these settings for the purpose of coordination and continuity of services serves to benefit children.

At the Aurora Co-op Preschool, expectations for children are guided by our staff’s knowledge of the processes and sequences of young children’s learning and development and the optimal conditions under which children develop to their fullest potential. Early childhood education is largely child-centered education. Children are born ready to learn. The preservation of children’s natural curiosity and motivation to learn are enhanced and enriched through sensory-rich experiences, play, exploration, and language rich environments. Play is a very important and special part of childhood. Hands-on activities create natural, authentic contexts for learning that allow children to feel a sense of mastery as they develop a more complex understanding of their world. This philosophy follows with Piaget's ideals that children should be actively engaged in their world and various environments.

The preschool years are a time of significant growth, but young children learn in ways and at rates different from older children. Young children’s development and learning is rapid, uneven, and episodic. The wide range of skills, competencies and achievements children exhibit are the result of the complex mix of the ability to learn and past learning opportunities and experiences. The domains of children’s development are highly interrelated and learning within any one domain of development affects learning in the other domains.

Young children develop in an environment of influential relationships. They flourish when adult interactions provide security, nurturance, guidance and positive encouragement. Student learning - individually, within a small group, and during a whole class activity - is supported by caring professional teachers in our classrooms. A natural and joyful concentration is the result when students are truly engaged in a wide variety of challenging and interesting activities that are appealing, appropriate, and can be adapted for individual developmental patterns.

Development and learning are inextricably tied to the health and well being of children. At the Aurora Co-op Preschool, we strive to ensure that children are provided healthy and safe physical and interpersonal environments that support positive outcomes.

School Leadership
 Our school is run by an Executive Board of volunteer parents that work closely with the director to ensure all areas of general operations are attended to.  
Michelle Kalista 
Position: Director
Years at the Co-op: Alumni since 2008, 2.5 years as Executive Board Treasurer, 1 year as Director
Degree: Bachelor of Arts and Science, Masters in Public Administration 
Experience: Lobbied for public education for 10 years at the Cleveland Metropolitan School district, Consultant for the Teaching Institute for Excellence in STEM for 8 years.
 2016/2017 Executive Board Members
                Holly Bank                      Beth Wolf                                Rob Slade                        Jennifer Tate
                   President                    Vice president                            Treasurer                          Secretary

Our program is a Step Up to Quality 5-Star rated program. Step Up to Quality is a voluntary Five-Star Quality Rating System that recognizes and promotes early care and education programs that meet quality benchmarks over and above minimum health and safety licensing standards. The steps are based on national research identifying the key benchmarks that lead to improved outcomes for children. These benchmarks include low child to staff ratios, group size, accreditation, staff education, and specialized training.