The Castro Valley Parent Nursery School was founded in 1949 with 30 families. It was first located in two small rooms rented from the Castro Valley Methodist Church. Parents donated nearly all the materials and help. This pattern of direct participation has endured over the years and is the hallmark of the cooperative nursery school. The school had nine different locations in seven years before its present location at 3657 Christensen Lane in Castro Valley. There have been 15 different directors between 1949 and the present year. The preschool has an annual enrollment of approximately 53 families and it is frequently necessary to create a waiting list.
Every year, we have a parent or two in the community that attended this same preschool when they were children, reminding us all what a special place this truly is for all.
The Parent Nursery School received a generous donation of the current property, a house in a residential neighborhood, in 1963. Owning the property means tuition savings for our families since we pay no rent.
The school provides an open atmosphere where creativity, learning, free play and the development of social skills are fostered.
The school year includes many fun and special events. Some of the most memorable include; the Halloween party (the school becomes a carnival with games and prizes and the children judge the parents costumes for scariest, funniest, etc); pajama day, Saint Patrick's Day (the children try to find and catch Mr. O'Shawnasee, the leprechaun as he leaves trails of green footprints, pennies and sour apple candies); Cowboy Day (the children dress up in their most authentic cowboy clothes and have a "trail drive" and ride horses); and the Circus… the grand finale to the school year. Every child is in an act and parents transform the school into a circus arena including cotton candy, carnival games, and pony rides. Throughout the year the preschool takes field trips as well. Happy Hollow in San Jose, the Fortune Cookie Factory, Oakland's Museum of Children's Art, and attendance at local children's theater productions are examples of such excursions.
Children graduate ready and anxious to start kindergarten with many wonderful memories of the previous two years. Parents create a special scrapbook and photo album, a "Me Book," for their children. The book contains photos, art, mementos and various projects created during the preschool years to present to the child upon graduation from the program.
The Co-op is all about parents working together to make their child's first school experience a better one. Ultimately, the children and the parents leave the program enriched beyond measure.