Please join us in welcoming our new Director and Teacher: Michelle Semrad Barrera!!
Her bio is located below under our Meet The Teachers section and you can also check out her latest blog post: https://cottagecoop.org/cottage-parenting/2021/5/15/a-day-in-the-life-of-a-child-directed-play-based-program “I wrote this day in the life in my daily letter to the class which is typically a single story from the day and only a paragraph.
Woodland Parent Nursery School (WPNS) is a Non-Profit parent participation preschool, established in 1956.
Parents and caregivers participate in our children’s school experience and learn alongside them. As co-op parents, we are responsible for managing the school, maintaining the building and grounds, and co-teaching our children.
Parents work in the classroom 1 day per month, for every 1 day per week our child attends. In the classroom, we facilitate art, cooking, and imaginative play activities as well as set-up and take-down each day.
WPNS is a Woodland treasure and we encourage you to visit us and see why. For more information, or to schedule a visit, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
- To encourage and develop in parents a deeper understanding of the principles of child welfare and parent-child relationships.
- To establish a school program under the supervision of a trained teacher, which will provide recreational and educational activities for pre-school children designed to encourage their best growth and development.
- To engage in such activities as may contribute to maintaining the strength and membership of the association so as to enable it to serve the foregoing purposes.
About Our School
Woodland Parent Nursery School (WPNS) is part of a large network of parent cooperative nursery schools. We are also a part of Woodland Joint Unified’s Adult Education Program.
WPNS offers a preschool program (3-5 years) and a Parents and Tots class (18-36 months). The weekly Parents and Tots class provides families with an opportunity to determine if WPNS is right for them and can help ease a child’s transition into the preschool later on. In both programs, parents actively participate in their children’s early education by engaging in art, cooking, and a variety of indoor and outdoor activities, including sensory and imaginative play. Parents also facilitate snack and story-time tables and are encouraged to participate in the preparations for each school day. For additional details about the structure of each program, please go to our Programs page.
WPNS gives parents the opportunity to participate in their children’s education and enhance their own parenting skills by attending parent education classes. Parent participation is also key to enabling WPNS to offer its current tuition levels.
Our classes are small and we maintain a 5-to-1 ratio of children to adults. We emphasize a whole child, play-based approach to pre-school education. We encourage the learning of social skills — cooperating, sharing, taking turns, and problem solving. We promote self-confidence, awareness of others, and the positive expression of emotions and needs. We introduce children to colors, shapes, letters, sounds, measuring, counting, patterns, and rhythm.
A co-op gives parents an opportunity to participate in their child’s learning experiences, brainstorm solutions for current parenting issues, and learn about children’s developmental stages. For children, it is an opportunity to choose daily activities such as art, cooking projects, music, science, and story times. Children may also go on field trips, experiment with and explore materials and equipment, share responsibilities and experiences as a group, and work with adults other than their own family members.
Meet Our Teachers
WPNS Preschool Director: Michelle Semrad Barrera
Michelle Semrad Barrera brings a passion for play and parent education and support to Woodland Parent Nursery School, WPNS. She is the proud parent of a neurodivergent child, now in their twenties, and is a champion of empathy, listening, connection and inclusivity.
Michelle comes to WPNS from the Los Angeles area and Cottage Cooperative Nursery School, founded by Pacific Oaks parents in the 70s. Michelle found her calling at this play-based cooperative with its emergent and anti-bias curriculum.
She has a master’s in education from the University of California Los Angeles and a master’s of fine arts from the California Institute of the Arts. She is a former K12 teacher, early literacy and writing coach, and school consultant. After years of championing a student-directed approach as opposed to a rewards and punishment, teacher-directed and one-size-fits-all system of education, she discovered the true meaning and wonder of teaching and learning through play, the work of childhood, and in teaching and learning side by side with families.
She loves the messiness of play and the constant discovery. She loves the tears and the laughter, not just of the grownups grappling with goodbyes or some other developmental milestone, but of the children too. Michelle is eager to bring that love and her vision to WPNS. She embraces the challenges, especially the learning and growth that happens for the whole family and community as a result.
For Michelle, this is the core of the work: supporting all types of families with all types of children in healthy social-emotional development, while trusting children to know the work they need to do.
During the 2020-21 school year, Michelle had the opportunity to shape remote learning for families that prioritized community, connection and family support. Her school community and the California Council of Parent Participation Nursery Schools recognized these efforts by presenting her with the Community Leadership Award. She is a California credentialed teacher with a Multiple Subject Teaching Credential, Single Subject Teaching Credential in English, and Child Development Site Supervisor Permit.
Lead Teacher: Briana Mason
Briana was raised here in Yolo County, has a BA in Psychology with an emphasis on child development and is earning an MA in Early Childhood Education. She has worked with children in Yolo and Solano counties for 14 years from babysitting to tutoring to teaching in various capacities. Most recently, she taught preschool for three years and loves seeing kid’s progress, winning moments, and occasions of pure joy. In her time at WPNS Briana focuses on connecting with children and their families to understand their needs and unique passions.
Parents and Tots Director: Kim Hammons
What Is a Cooperative?
COOPERATIVE means working together. We work with one another to provide a great nursery school experience for our children, a learning experience for ourselves, and service to our director and the community.
The parent nursery school is a place where the whole family learns together. This is a family-centered school rather than a child-centered school. A varied program for both parents and children is possible because:
- Many individuals participate in the planning.
- Every adult and child has a unique and valuable contribution to make.
- Fresh approaches are possible.
- Each person may contribute what he/she feels most comfortable and competent in doing.
- Each member of the school has a responsibility for working in and administering the school.
Parent Cooperative Preschools
A parent cooperative preschool is organized by a group of families with similar philosophies who hire a trained teacher to provide their children with a quality preschool experience. The preschool is administered and maintained by the parents. The parents assist the professional teachers in the classroom on a rotating basis and participate in the educational program of all the children. Each family shares in the business operation of the school (usually a nonprofit venture), thus making it truly a cooperative venture. Parents, preschool children and their teachers all go to school together and learn together.
Benefits for Parents
Parents gain insight into child behavior by observing other children. They observe how other parents and professional teachers handle various situations and gain greater understanding and enjoyment of their own children through active participation in their education. They have the opportunity to share their experiences and expertise with others while working together in a cooperative setting. Through serving on the Board, parents learn about administration, running meetings and other skills useful to them in other areas and states of their lives. They also learn useful ideas for helping their children at home and in the world around them.
Benefits for Children
Children participate in a supervised play and learning experience with children of their own age. Equipment, materials and physical facilities are scaled to child size. An opportunity is provided to interact with adults other than their own parents. The children are able to find security and a feeling of belonging in a world which is non-threatening and interested in them. Learning to respect and accept the rights and differences of others is emphasized. Children have hands-on experiences in creative arts, music, science, literature, and language geared to their needs and developmental level.
Benefits for the Community
Parents and children develop an extended family with friendships they carry through their lives. Parents gain a strong sense of responsibility and develop positive self-worth which carries over into every aspect of community life. The cooperative organization provides preschool experiences within the financial means of most families.
There are many benefits to attending our parent-cooperative preschool. This was taken directly from the Parent Cooperative Preschools International (PCPI) website: www.preschools.coop/.
Excerpted from: Parent Cooperative Preschools International web site