One of the most amazing thing about Triangle Cooperative Preschool is the community that supports it. The school was founded in 1951 and has been going strong ever since. Many current parents were students at Triangle themselves. The population of the school is quite diverse, but families are united in their commitment to forming community and helping and improving Triangle to make it a special place.
Triangle Cooperative Preschool is located in an open, sunny space within the First Presbyterian Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan. While the school has no religious affiliation with the church, Triangle is "full of gratitude" for the supportive relationship with First Presbyterian in the way of reasonable cost of renting the space, the beautiful facility, and the dedicated outdoor play space.
Classes and Teachers
Triangle offers separate classes for 3's (two mornings a week) and 4s (three mornings a week). Each class has 18 students paired with one teacher and three parent helpers.
Triangle has two teachers, one for each of their classes. Christine Law, who has been with the school for 8 years and teaches the 4s, has been involved in early childhood education for her 30+ year career. Before coming to Triangle, she taught at a Waldorf school. Christine is very grateful to be involved in a co-op because she has always enjoyed working with the full family unit. She has tried to "bring some of the beautiful elements from Waldorf" to the families at Triangle.
In 2018, one of Triangle's long-term teachers retired, leaving an opening for someone new. Renée Pesheck, the parent of two Triangle graduates, was excited to step-in to the role. Renée earned her Masters and Teaching Certification at the University of Michigan, and has worked with young children in a variety of settings.
The teachers work collaboratively on some projects, but for the most part each class follows a unique, play-based curriculum that changes based on the interests of the children. As the children grow, they are encouraged to become more independent.
When asked about challenges the school is facing, Christine noted one that is a common concern of many co-ops: federal regulations for fingerprinting and security. While everyone can agree that children should be kept safe, some of the new requirements are burdensome for parents and don't make sense in a cooperative environment. Christine feels strongly that we all need to do our part to make legislators aware of the impact of new regulations on co-ops, and to advise them about what makes sense.
Looking Toward The Future
Allowing children time to play outside and experience nature daily has become increasingly important in early childhood education as more and more studies confirm the benefits outdoor play has on the health and well-being of children. At Triangle, the policy is that children will play outside no-matter the weather. However the weather in Michigan can be brutal in the winter.
The teachers and parents at Triangle are working to find ways to keep outside time fun and comfortable for students. They have refined their outdoor play policy to accommodate extreme temperatures. Parents receive guidance on appropriate dress for students for outdoor play in different weather conditions. The school is considering ways to fund a collection of outdoor gear, including boots and rain suites, for children to use while at school.