7171 N Pennsylvania St, Indianapolis, IN 46240

A Cooperative Preschool Established in 1960

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The child has one intuitive aim: self development

Finches using tools at Meridian Hills Co-op

Experiencing Co-op: A New Family’s Perspective

My name is Kristen, and I am a very proud mama of two wonderful, sweet, yet insanely energetic girls (#girlmom🙌🏻). Our youngest daughter, Maxine, just turned one in November and our oldest daughter Parker will be three in January. Parker is a member of Mrs. Cook’s Finch class and to say that she (and we!) has loved her experience so far at MHCNSK would be the understatement of the century.

As my husband Jake and I learned the parenting ropes and experienced all those precious firsts following Parker’s arrival into the world, inevitably the topic of preschool came to fruition at some point in the first year of her life. Jake, a proud preschool attendee himself, was adamant about our children attending preschool for various, very valid reasons. Social interaction with other children, time with different adults outside of mom, dad, grandma, and grandpa, new experiences away of home, learning foundational information before kindergarten, etc. I, on the other hand, wasn’t so keen on the idea of sending our tiny toddler off to school multiple days a week, all day long. I totally understood and agreed with his stance and the importance of learning her ABC’s, 123’s and colors in these prime, formative toddler years. But still, I had my weary doubts if traditional preschool was the right thing for our girls.

Children will spend the majority of their adolescence and young adult life in school. And then after graduating? Typically, followed by even more school and/or off two work for the rest of their lives with the hope of retirement at the ripe age of 65. Questioning the need to send them off earlier than absolutely necessary was always my go-to argument. Can’t they stay at home and enjoy the unstructured life of learning on their own terms through play? “Let them be little!” I would always say in my defense against preschool. Admittedly, my mama heart selfishly wanted as much time with my babies to myself before they were off flying from the nest.  After all, I didn’t attend preschool as a toddler and I’d like to think I turned out on the right side of things.

Before we knew it, Parker turned two and we couldn’t push off the decision on preschool any longer. Jake and I came to the agreement to check things out and see what was out there for our tiny tot. After some online research and asking other parents, we discovered the wonderful place that is Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School & Kindergarten.

After learning about all that is MHCNSK, I had no doubts this was one special place and the perfect environment for our girls to ease into the transition from home with me to school with teachers and classmates. A child-centered learning environment that focused on self-discovery with different materials, emotional wellbeing and guidance, and centered around nature and outdoor play. Two days a week for a few hours was the ideal scenario for my kiddo. Needless to say, my mama heart was bursting with excitement and gratefulness that such a place existed. A bonus on top of all that? It was a great fit for this mama to ease into sending her baby off to school too. Co-oping gives Parker and I the opportunity to comfortably experience time apart at a pace that is gentle on both of us. Sometimes mama stays and plays, sometimes mama leaves and runs errands with Maxine. On days I leave there’s still a few tears, but Parker knows Mrs. Cook is right there to guide her through her feelings and lead her to fun activities to experience for the day. Our car rides home are filled with excitement as Parker can barely get the words out fast enough while explaining what she did that day. Her toddler talk about playing dump trucks and dinosaurs in the big sandbox, painting with foam with her friend Penny, snack time with their visiting turkey friend, and drilling holes into a pumpkin with a power drill (with Mrs. Cook’s help of course) makes me smile every time. As soon as we get home, my seemingly always energetic toddler crashes out hard for a well deserved nap.

In a time full of weirdness, uncertainty, and the stress of a global pandemic, I’m even more grateful that Parker has a special place to experience new things with kids her age, build relationships with gentle adults, and most importantly an environment to be her sweet, rambunctious self.

So, how does this once skeptical anti-preschooler feel now? Thankful, grateful and yes, pro-preschool. Thankful because of the wonderful teachers that make MHCNSK what it is. Grateful because as soon as Parker wakes up from her post preschool snooze, she immediately asks me in her sleepy, raspy voice if she can go back to preschool tomorrow. 2020 hasn’t been so terrible after all because it brought us to preschool at Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School & Kindergarten. Turns out my husband was indeed right this whole time, but we won’t tell him that! 😉

If you would like to learn more about enrollment or schedule a tour of Meridian Hills Cooperative Nursery School and Kindergarten, please contact membership.mhcns@gmail.com 

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