The Cooperative Family

Back in the fall of 2010, my oldest son started a Parent Morning Out program at Family Preschool. That program was Family Preschool’s very first Duckling class! Now, seven years later, my youngest son is finishing up his last weeks at Family Preschool.

It’s hard to believe that it’s time for him to head off to kindergarten. I've had seven years of fun learning in the classroom as a helping parent, meeting new friends (both those my own age and some pretty special little ones), and building a community. I have to say that when my oldest was “graduating,” I wasn’t super nostalgic, but now that it’s my youngest, I am feeling all the feels and wondering how our time here has come to an end so quickly.

I will miss the morning playground chats and exploring the world through the kids' eyes. Family Preschool has been a truly special place for our whole family. The cooperative model really gave my children a great lesson in what it is like to pull together as a community and create a place where the sum is so much greater than its parts.

I offer much gratitude to all the teachers at Family Preschool for giving my kids a gentle place to learn, play, and grow. As we move on to the next phase of life, I am comforted to know that many friendships will carry forward, so some of this community will always be with us.

With love and thanks,


Board President


Planting Little Seeds in the Community

This weekend, some Family Preschool members went to downtown Durham to join the farmers' market crowd. The outing was both a chance for current families to gather with alumni friends and for the greater Durham community to get to know about our school. We chatted, blew bubbles, and we shared a basil planting activity with any child who wanted to join us.

Planting basil seeds echoed some of the play-based spring time learning we are doing in the classroom. Back at Family Preschool, you will find bean plants sprouting on the windowsills. Soon the kids will be able to take them home to plant in a bigger pot and watch them continue to grow and produce beans that they can eat. We have also been planting herbs and flowers to brighten our playground and provide another space for learning while watching things grow.

We hope our community outreach from this weekend will inspire even more children to plant seeds, watch them grow, and learn.

If you missed us on Saturday, keep an eye out at the Durham Farmer's Market in Downtown Durham. We plan to host some more play dates at the market in the future.

Happy Spring everyone!


- Board President

Project 2: Exploring Boxes

The second project that our 4- and 5-day friends are exploring this year at Family Preschool is "Boxes." I love how project-based learning can take such a simple idea like boxes and inspire so much creativity in the teachers, kids and parents! We've seen the kids make such fun discoveries in the classroom through their different activities, and they have embraced the box play enthusiastically.

So far, our children have:

  • Shared their own special boxes from home. We've seen treasure boxes, jewelry boxes, and music boxes to name a few so far.
  • Played with cardboard boxes of all shapes and sizes and made them into new things. This week, the children turned recycled boxes into a giant birthday cake to celebrate the 47th birthday of Family Preschool.
  • Discovered food that can be made from a box, like brownies and pudding. (And what a delicious exercise that was!)
  • Painted mailboxes and sent letters to themselves in the mail.
  • Packed eggs in boxes to see whether they would survive a fall.
  • Gone on a field trip to the FedEx store to learn about packing fragile things in boxes.
  • Gone on a field trip to I Must Garden to learn about the shipping process and to participate in a scavenger hunt for the right shipping box.

We have also enjoyed a great number of parent "guest experts" in the classroom. Our experts have visited the class to do special presentations on:

  • Sewing boxes
  • Electrical boxes
  • Tool boxes
  • Produce boxes
  • Box collections
  • Guitars made form boxes
  • Putting together pieces to make wooden boxes
  • Dog crates

At Family Preschool, we believe that children learn best through experiences that are meaningful to them. As we explore our projects, the teachers work on integrating math and literacy activities in to kids' investigations as a great way to enhance and develop emergent skills in these developmental domains in a natural way.

I can't wait to see what the box project has to offer next, and I can't wait to see what our next and final project of the year will be!

Happy learning,


FPS Board President