Los Altos Parent Preschool, a parent participation program under Mountain View-Los Altos Adult Education, is scheduled to celebrate 60 years of educating children with a series of events this year, culminating in a communitywide gathering May 31.
A group of mothers who wanted a different approach to education, one that integrated parents into every aspect of the classroom and could meet the unique needs of families, founded the preschool in 1954.
“From increased enrollment to a new facility in 2011, it’s exciting to see the support of LAPP grow year after year,” said Lara Sandora, board president. “By involving the family, we are able to focus on the whole child, no matter where they are in their developmental phase.”
Parents who participate in the program assist a credentialed teacher approximately once a week and contribute to and share in running the school, from planning the curriculum to fundraising and maintenance.
“Co-op develops a common language between parents and children,” said parent Hera Hong-Lee. “LAPP is more than a preschool – it’s a community of special families.”
The founding parents aimed to form a cooperative preschool to serve the growing community. They wanted to share responsibility for administration, maintenance and the school’s program. They formed Los Altos Parent Preschool as a nonprofit corporation to furnish housing, equipment, supplies and a portion of teachers’ and directors’ salaries.
The Mountain View Los Altos Union High School District agreed to supervise the program and share payment for staff salaries. As part of the district’s Adult Education Department, the preschool became the laboratory for a parent education class. Los Altos United Methodist Church granted the use of its facilities.
In 1998, the high school district leased land to the preschool at the west end of Los Altos High School. Through fundraising and community and member donations, the preschool purchased a portable classroom module and furnished the play yard.
In the summer of 2011, the membership and alumni of the preschool moved the program to its new home on the Covington School campus and began a partnership with the Los Altos School District.
Los Altos Parent Preschool remains part of the high school district’s Adult Education Program. California Adult Education standards and the cooperative preschool philosophy require the preschool’s parents to serve as members and staff assistants.
An open house for prospective families is scheduled 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday at the school, 201 Covington Road. Teachers and parents will be present to discuss the program and answer questions. No RSVP is required, and children are welcome. Los Altos Parent Preschool has a 1:3 ratio with three programs for ages ranging from 2.5 to 5. The school year runs from early fall to late spring.
For more information, visit lapp.coop or facebook.com/lappcoop.