Our School History

CW Parent Co-op Preschool

The Camas-Washougal Parent Co-op Preschool (C-W Co-op Preschool) was formed by Mrs. Jerry Clary in 1940. This first nursery school in the Camas-Washougal area was a project of the American Association of University Women (AAUW). For the first few years, the members’ children met in private homes. As the school continued to grow, they began to meet at the Camas Methodist Church.

Enrollment gradually was broadened to include children of non-AAUW women and the school became a community preschool with the AAUW relinquishing control to a board of parents. In October 1986, the school moved to Helen Baller Early Childhood Education Center.

After three years, it moved to St. Thomas Aquinas Religious Education Center where it remained a secular public preschool.

In 1999, the school moved to its present location at St. John’s Presbyterian Church.

The Camas-Washougal Parent Co-op is run by an Executive Board, consisting of Co-op parents, and by a Parent Board, which is made up of all Co-op parents. The entire administration and maintenance of the school is all done by parents, including such responsibilities as hiring teachers, making classroom purchases, recruiting new students, paying bills, filing taxes, fundraising, planning field trips, and cleaning and repairing facilities and equipment. The teachers are the only paid employees.

Because of this, we are able to keep tuition and registration fees low while maintaining the highest teaching standards. For our children to attend school here is a privilege made possible in some part by the tuition we pay, but to a much greater degree by the hard work contributed by the parents. The efforts of our four fantastic educators and the parts played by each family in the preschool come together to maintain our excellent and long-standing reputation in the community.

Our goal is to provide a positive introductory learning experience for two-, three-, and four-year-old children as a preparatory to elementary education. This is accomplished through a cooperative effort between teachers and parents. We offer a flexible program which includes free time for classroom exploration, music activities, story time and small group work, cooking projects, nature observation and exploration, crafts and open-ended art, as well as field trip experiences.

We help prepare children for school socially, emotionally and academically. We help them learn the importance of being a good listener, how to interact positively with peers and adults, how to be self-organized, and to discover the joy of learning. We teach developmentally appropriate curriculums to the two and three-year old students, providing them with lots of hands-on experiences. We teach a pre-kindergarten curriculum to classes for four-year-olds. It is theme-based and developmentally appropriate, providing students with a solid foundation in letter/sound recognition, numbers/patterns/math games, fine motor skills (cutting, gluing, name writing), and beginning science concepts. The CW Parent Co-op Preschool is a caring community for young children and parents.

4s Class

The 4s class prepares children socially and academically for Kindergarten. Through literature, social studies, music and science they learn about life and people in our world. They will use their fine-motor skills learning to write, cut and use the mouse on the computer for educational games. They learn their numbers and will do basic adding by the end of the school year. They will learn a new consonant weekly and will write it, learn its sound, and do a project about each letter. They will have circle time twice a day and learn to listen and take turns talking and sharing. Each child will have a turn to be the class super-star during the school year. The class has special plays and performances throughout the school year for our parents. The Camas School District rents the preschool their buses for field trips, so the children can experience riding the school bus, as well as going somewhere fun with a group of children who will become lifelong friends.

3s Class

The Co-op offers a wonderful opportunity for three-year-old children to obtain their first school experience. Three-year-olds have grown more independent than toddlers and are ready to explore the world around them. They are making developmental strides and learn by experiencing and doing. They want to touch, taste, hear, smell, and test things for themselves. Children at this age are beginning to learn to share, enjoy interacting with other children, and possess active imaginations.

Our program at the Co-op Preschool provides children with a variety of age-appropriate activities that address the developmental needs of growing preschoolers. This comprises children’s social/emotional, physical, and intellectual development. Students are introduced to a classroom routine that gives them opportunities for free exploration, circle time, music, small group work, and active play. The curriculum is presented to children thematically and is based on the seasonal changes that children can recognize in the world around them. It includes introduction to letter recognition and sounds, number concepts, and science concepts. Since every child develops at her/his own pace, instruction is adapted for each child’s level. Students advance their fine motor skills through manipulative play, cutting, coloring, painting, working with play dough, cooking, drawing, and other creative pursuits.

Children become part of a nurturing environment that promotes community and individual responsibility. Classroom discipline is handled by re-direction, making choices, and natural consequences.

2s Class

The curriculum for the two-year-old classroom has been carefully designed to allow young children the opportunity to learn through play and recognition/enhancement of individual talents and interests. We believe we’ve created a safe and loving environment which will allow children to grow socially, emotionally, intellectually and physically as well as encourage self-confidence and self-expression. We accomplish this by using a theme-based curriculum which follows the seasons. Classroom materials, songs, games, stories and activities revolve around the particular theme of the day. Since two- and three-year-olds are full of energy and curiosity, we will follow a consistent daily schedule which will allow them to learn important skills such as following directions, cleaning up after themselves, and keeping themselves safe and healthy.

Children in this class will be exposed to many opportunities to foster creativity, language development, color and shape recognition, science and number concepts, fine and gross motor development and music appreciation. We will set gentle limits that lead to self-discipline and self-acceptance. Children will potty train at their own pace and will be praised and encouraged consistently.

In addition to tuition, school fundraisers keep our preschool going strong. While fundraising only accounts for a small percentage of the preschool’s overall budget, it is vital to C-W’s financial health.

Families participate in fundraising in the following ways:

Payback Book Sales

These books are similar to Entertainment Books, but they strive to support local businesses. The selling price is $20 per book, and the school keeps $10 from every book sold. Families who prefer to not sell books are encouraged to participate in our Payback Book Buyout.

Pies Sale

This is a great fundraiser for the fall season! During the fall, families will have the opportunity to sell pies, cobblers, and fruits. These orders go out in the early fall and are delivered in time for the Thanksgiving holiday season.

Ongoing Usborne Book Sale

Another way to help out the school is by using our special CW Co-op Usborne book sale link: https://v3015.myubam.com/183536. Usborne sells a variety of high quality fiction and non-fiction for all ages. Book orders will be shipped directly to the customer. Every book order will accrue credit for the preschool to purchase new books for the classrooms!

The preschool also participates in these ongoing fundraising programs:

Amazon Affiliate Link – A quick and easy way to raise money for the school is to do your Amazon shopping via our link or search box. Visit smile.amazon.com/ch/91-0701772 for more information.

Fred Meyer Community Rewards – Simply login to the Fred Meyer Rewards page to link your Fred Meyer Rewards Card to the Camas-Washougal Parent Co-op Preschool Community Rewards Program, and Fred Meyer will donate money to the preschool every time you shop and swipe your Rewards Card.

Questions? Please contact Katy Daane at fundraising@cwcoop.org or 503-750-6274. Based on the preschool’s needs, additional fundraisers may be held during the school year.