FAQ Page

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How often will I need to co-op in the classroom?
On average, there is 1-2 co-ops per month for the 2-day Pandas. 3-Day Monkeys and 3-Day tigers have about 2-3 co-ops per month. 4-day monkeys and tigers will co-op 3-4 times per month depending on the number of students enrolled.

2. What is the adult/child ratio in the classroom?
With a full class, there are always 3 adults – one teacher and two co-opers in a class. The ratio is 1 adult to 3 children in the Panda (2 year old) class and 1 adult to 5 children in the Monkeys and Tigers classes (3 and 4 year olds).

3. My preschool-aged child has a younger sibling.  What can I do for child-care on my co-op days?
Aspen Hill Cooperative Nursery School offers a nursery which is staffed by other parents who use the nursery. If you use the nursery while you co-op, you will be assigned another day to cover the nursery for another parent who is co-oping in their older child’s class.

4. What does a typical day look like?
When the children first arrive, they are given the opportunity for free play in the classroom with activities such as play dough, books, blocks, cars, house corner/dress-up, puzzles, and other games and toys.  The teacher will supervise a guided project at one table that all students must participate in sometime during the morning.  Everyone helps with clean-up and then goes to circle time.  Snacks are provided at the tables and the day ends with outdoor play (weather permitting).

5. Do I supply my own child’s snacks?
No.  Each family will sign up to bring snacks for the entire class on a rotating basis during the school year.

6. What are my duties as a co-oper?
Your job is to help the teacher with tasks as requested.  This may include preparation and clean-up of art projects, escorting children to the bathroom, assembling snacks, replenishing classroom supplies, and interacting with the students.  The teachers prefer to manage discipline themselves as necessary as it provides consistency in behavior expectations.  You will also need to assist with daily cleaning in the bathrooms and classrooms.

7. Do you have extended hours?
Not as part of our regular curriculum.  Children attend school from 9:30-12:30 (beginning in 2024-25) on the days for which they are registered.  Three- and four-year-olds have the opportunity to stay at school for Lunch Bunch from 12:30-1:30 for an additional charge.  Children bring their own lunches and remain in the school for an additional hour.  Themes may include cooking, science, art, and literature. The fee for Lunch Bunch is $12 per session with a discount to $10/session if you sign up for at least 6 sessions in a month.

8. Can I opt out of co-oping or have someone else co-op for me?
Every child in every class must have a co-oping adult.  You are welcome to have someone else close to your child co-op for you as long as it is someone who can do it consistently.  We have moms, dads, aunts, grandmas, and nannies who co-op.  So while you cannot opt out of co-oping, you may find another person to co-op for you if you work or are unavailable during school hours.

9. What if I can’t come on my scheduled co-oping day?
Co-oping schedules are put in family mailboxes and posted on class bulletin boards at least one month in advance.  This gives you time to adjust your schedule if you are not available on a day that was assigned to you.  You may request days for co-oping in advance.  Co-opers are responsible for asking another person to swap days or to find a substitute.  You can also pay a substitute co-oper $40 to cover your day if you are unable to switch with someone.  The school maintains a short list of people who are paid substitutes, available in our school directory.  There is a $80 fine if you do not show up to co-op on your scheduled day.

10. Does my child have to be toilet-trained?
Children are not required to be toilet-trained.  You may request that your child be taken to the bathroom at a given time to assist with toilet training.  Children not fully trained must wear disposable diapers or training pants.

11. What supplies does my child need to bring?
The only items your child needs is a water bottle and an extra change of clothing to be left in the classroom for the appropriate season.  Hats, gloves, coats, boots, etc. should be worn if necessary for the weather.  Our students go outside everyday (weather permitting), so they need to be prepared for the weather conditions.  All school supplies are provided by the school and included in your tuition and the enrichment fee paid at the beginning of the year.  Some children enjoy bringing a backpack, but it is not required.

12. What is play-based learning?
Play-based learning is a way to describe how children make sense of their world.  Play encourages young children to be creative problem-solvers and to develop their own ideas, understanding, and language.  Using play-based learning, children also develop a deeper understanding of the social and physical conditions that define their world and the language and symbols that are used to describe it.

13. Do I have to co-op in other classrooms?
No.  You will only co-op in your child’s classroom.  If you have more than one child in our school, you will co-op in both classrooms the same number of times as the other parents.  This means if you have multiple students in the school, you will find that your name is on the schedule a lot!

14. What is the School’s Snow Cancellation Policy?
AHCNS follows MCPS snow cancellation policy.  Should MCPS cancel school due to inclement weather, AHCNS will also be closed.  Should MCPS declare a 2-hour delayed opening, then AHCNS will open 1 hour late.  Each class is allowed to miss 1 week of class before any days are made up.  Should more than 1 week of class be cancelled, each class is responsible for making up 1 week of class (2-day classes, 2 days; 3-day classes, 3 days).  Should AHCNS be closed for more than 6 total days, then the delayed opening policy will be reevaluated and the classes will be notified; however, in all cases, it is the parent’s responsibility to determine when the streets and highways are safe for travel.