Please find below a list of the most frequently asked questions regarding the school.
What curriculum does MCNS follow?
MCNS is a school founded on the philosophy that play is a child’s vehicle for learning. We view learning as a natural and ongoing process, which occurs as we interact with our environment. We see each child as an individual who develops in his or her own way. Building meaningful relationships between teacher and child, and among the children, is central to the work we do.
Our programs are based on The Creative Curriculum, which rests firmly on a foundation of early childhood education research. Our curriculum is designed to address academic content while keeping a purposeful play philosophy. A central goal is to help each child acquire the social-emotional competence and skills he or she needs to succeed as a learner. We strive to create a peaceful classroom community where each child can explore, create and experiment freely.
Our curriculum includes regular schedules and routines, and reflects state learning standards as it supports teaching content in a developmentally appropriate way. Below are a few examples.
What children are learning when they play at or with:
Sensory Table/Play Dough: (sand, rice, water, etc.)—pouring, hand-eye coordination (writing skills); counting, measuring, balance (math); sharing (social skills); imagination, role playing (creative thinking & social skills)
Puzzles & Manipulative Toys: observation, motor planning, hand-eye coordination (reading & writing skills); shape recognition, spatial awareness, matching, classification (math, science, & critical thinking skills).
Imaginary Play Area: fact, fiction, role playing, imagination (creative thinking, social and emotional skills); awareness of community – workers, helpers, diversity (social studies).
Indoor/Outdoor Play: cooperative groups, turn-taking (social skills); gross and fine motor development.
Circle Time: learning songs and rhymes (vocabulary/language skills); listening to peer’s talk (listening and speaking skills); participating in story-telling activities (language skills, creative and critical thinking skills)
How is a co-op preschool such as MCNS different than a “traditional” preschool?
As a co-op, MCNS creates a sense of community with the students, parents and teachers. MCNS is also overseen by a Board of Directors made up of parent volunteers. The MCNS Board organizes social events for parents and families throughout the year. Additionally, as a co-op, parents have the option of participating in the classroom once a month. MCNS also relies on its parent volunteers to:
Serve as class parents for the year (coordinating teacher gifts or classroom social events),
Assist at school-wide fundraising or social events,
Host parent get-togethers,
Coordinate classroom play dates, and
Participate as guest readers in the classrooms.
What does participating vs. non-participating mean?
Parents of children in the 3’s/4’s/5's Programs have the option of participating on a regular basis in the classroom. These participating or “Helping Parents” have the unique opportunity to:
Observe their own child in a structured group setting,
Support the social-emotional development of their child by forming special relationships with their child’s peers and teachers, and
Experience the school's educational philosophy that is centered around “learning through play."
Parents are scheduled to be in the classroom an average of one half day a month and bring a simple snack for that day. Parents, grandparents, and caregivers are welcome to participate. Non-participating families pay a supplemental tuition to cover the cost of a snack and teacher substitutes.
How long have the teachers been at MCNS?
Many of MCNS’s teachers have been at the school for more than 10 years. In fact, many of our teachers are former MCNS parents and some are even former MCNS students. More information about our teachers can be found here.
What programs are offered at MCNS and what are the age requirements?
MCNS offers programs for toddlers and preschoolers.
To be eligible for the Toddler Program (2’s), children must turn 20 months by December 31st of the school year.
To be eligible for The Preschool Program (3 , 4 and 5 year olds) children must turn 3 by December 31st of the school year.
Morning, afternoon and full day options are available depending on the age of the child. A description of the programs offered at each school can be found here.
What are the school hours?
The morning session goes from 8:45 to 11:45 AM and the afternoon is from 12:15 to 2:45 PM. Our full day program runs from 8:45 AM to 2:45 PM. We also offer an extended option in the morning from 8:00 to 8:45 AM.
If I need my child to come early, would that be possible?
Yes, there is an option to have an extended day from 8:00 am to 8:45 AM. Extended day care is available for any combination of mornings. There are no minimum or maximum requirements. Extended day care may also be added throughout the school year on a regular or ad-hoc basis, space permitting.
Is there a difference between the AM and PM classes?
The only difference between the morning and afternoon classes is the time the children are at school. The morning classes meet for 3 hours, while the afternoon classes meet for 2-1/2 hours.
The curriculum, teachers, activities and programs are the same in the morning and afternoon. However, the activities are varied throughout the week so that children enrolled for full day sessions have activities that vary throughout the day.
What are the class sizes? How many teachers are in each class?
The number of children and teachers in each classroom is as follows:
Bumblebees (2's program): There are 7 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
Butterflies (2's program): There are 7 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
Ladybugs (AM & PM 2's program): There are 8 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
Fireflies (PM 2's program): There are 7 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
Green Room (3’s Program): There are 13 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
Red Room (3’s Program): There are 15 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
Yellow Room (4’s Program): There are 18 children in the classroom with 3 teachers
Blue Room (4’s Program): There are 18 children in the classroom with 3 teachers
Rainbow Room (K-Bridge Program): There are 8 children in the classroom with 2 teachers
How does the school determine which class my child will be in?
When assigning your child to a class, the Directors take into consideration your child's birthday, along with teacher input and the developmental and social characteristics of your child and the make-up of the class overall. For returning students, every effort is made to place students with at least one peer or former classmate.
What enrichment programs are offered?
The Preschoolers have yoga, music, Artistree, as well as science and nature enrichment programs. Our toddlers enjoy music and yoga (Ladybugs).
Do you play outside every day?
We get outside everyday, as long as the weather allows. We do go outside when it is snowing and when there is snow on the ground. We stay inside however if the weather is too severe, such as when it rains, when it is very cold and when it is icy or extremely windy.
What is your separation policy?
We take our cues from you and your child. The teachers will help you to develop a separation routine that works for you and your child.
Does my child need to be toilet trained prior to attending MCNS?
No. We have diaper changing capability. Also, when the time comes, we will also assist your child in toilet training.
How do I know how my child is progressing throughout the year?
The teachers keep records of how your child is progressing. Twice a year, we hold parent/teacher conferences where you have a chance to speak with your child’s teacher about his or her progress. You will also receive a short, written evaluation which tracks your child progress.
Additionally, every week you will receive an email with the “Peek of the Week” which lets you know what your child has been doing at school, including what enrichment activity they participated in, any art project the class has been working on, what subjects they have been learning about and what books are being read. You can see a sample “Peek of the Week” here.
What kind of snacks do you serve?
Everyday there are always a few different choices for snack. There is typically a choice of fruits or vegetables, cheese or yogurt and a whole grain carbohydrate. We serve water only to drink. MCNS is a nut free facility. For specific allergy concerns please contact our Director.
What is the tuition payment schedule?
For families who enroll in our Toddler Program a $500 deposit is required when you submit the signed contract in January. For families that apply at the Preschool, a tuition deposit of $750 is required when the application is submitted.
For both the Toddler Program and Preschool, the remainder of the tuition must be paid in three equal payments due March 1st, June 1st and September 1st. To simplify collection of revenue, MCNS greatly appreciates the payment of tuition in full from those families who would like to consolidate their tuition payments into one option. If you require a different payment structure, please contact the school to make arrangements.
Do you offer any tuition or financial assistance?
There is a 10% tuition reduction for a second and third child from the same family enrolled during the same school year. All reductions are on the lowest tuition and on the last payment. If your family needs an alternate tuition payment structure, please contact the school.
Need-based financial assistance is also available, please reach out to the program directors to discuss this option.
How do I apply to the Preschool and Toddler Program?
All applications must be submitted online. Registration materials will be available on the website and will also be emailed to currently enrolled families and anyone else who has contacted the school to inquire about enrolling at MCNS.